Smart cities? This spring, Madrid is keeping a close watch on Big Data

Through exhibitions, lectures, workshops, debates, datatones and guided tours many different topics will be discussed, such as information visualization, data mining, collective mapping and collaborative data collection, the policies of information access and reuse, the practices of institutional and government transparency, data security and online privacy.


Pertes de l’armée française dans la Campagne de Russie,  Charles Joseph Minard. 1869

Pertes de l’armée française dans la Campagne de Russie, Charles Joseph Minard. 1869


This spring Madrid becomes the city of Big Data, bringing together different organizations and initiatives in a program of activities that explores the creative, social and political practices related to data. The centre of Madrid will host two exhibitions, among other activities related to Big Data: BIG BANG DATA , housed in the Espacio Fundación Telefónica, and OJO al DATA, a series of events and activities related to the exhibition to be held simultaneously in Medialab Prado.


One building, how many lives? Exhibition in Paris: transformation as an act of creation

The exhibition focuses on an inherent issue of urban development: to reuse, in order to open the way for an urban revival. The concept of recycling as a way to stimulate a new approach on building cities.


Le Frac Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Dunkerque, 2009-2013, Lacaton & Vassal architectes © Philippe Ruault

Le Frac Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Dunkerque, 2009-2013, Lacaton & Vassal architectes © Philippe Ruault


Cité de l’rchitecture & du patrimoine in Paris is hosting an exhibition on an interesting discussion over architectural heritage and the concept of reuse and recylcing in urban terms. From the 17th of December 2014 to the 28th of September 2015, the Galerie d’architecture moderne will be showing a selection of 72 projects in France and abroad in order to set some examples of heritage-conscious urban renewal addressed from very different point of views.


“The intangible tangible” RCR Arquitectes exhibition at České Budějovice

RCR Arquitectes’ first exhibition in Eastern Europe is not presented by means of a portfolio presentation but, as they have expressed it by themselves, “By means of photographs you can experience different atmospheres in architectonic spaces, like in architectonic compounds … and make the intangible tangible“.


Els Cols Restaurant (2005)  ©  Jaume Prat

Els Cols Restaurant (2005) © Jaume Prat


RCR Arquitectes rank among highly respected contemporary studios of architecture not only in their native Spain. The group was established in 1988 by Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Their constructions dialogue very sensitively with their surroundings, avoid superfluous or rhetoric forms, while blending care and force. RCR Arquitectes is based in the town of Olot, Gerona Province. The countryside around this little town, in which this team of architects established itself in 1988, has exerted a fundamental influence on their work.



Designing Archeology: Bernard Tschumi, Piranesi Award 2015

Under the theme “Designing Archeology. Architecture for the Development of Archeological Heritage”, the Accademia Adriane di Architettura e Archeologia has given this years’ prize to the french-swiss architect, renowned for his research in the fields of architectural theory.


© Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects

© Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects


The Piranesi Award, which celebrates its thirteenth edition this year, is an award that aims to give recognition to the excellence in the fields of architecture and archeology. This award is given by the Accademia Adrianea di Architettura e Archeologia in partnership with Rome’s Ordine di Architetti and the Casa dell’Architettura di Roma.


“Vertical Urban Factory” at Archizoom Lausanne, factory buildings in the early 20th century and today

It surveys more than 30 projects, including canonic examples of Modernism and new or recycled industrial architecture. The installation features over 200 photographs, diagrams, and drawings. Nine architectural models created for the exhibit using state-of the-art computer fabrication highlight a progressive design and construction.


Buckminster Fuller, unbuilt automatic cotton mill, 1952 | Courtesy of North Carolina State University

Buckminster Fuller, unbuilt automatic cotton mill, 1952 | Courtesy of North Carolina State University


Vertical Urban Factory, curated by New York-based architectural historian and critic Nina Rappaport, features the innovative architectural design, structural engineering, and processing methods of significant factory buildings in the early 20th century and today. A timely response to the ailing economies of post-industrial nations, the exhibit poses the question, can factories once again present sustainable solutions for future self-sufficient cities and how can we develop a city to include new factories now that production is clean and smaller scale? The exhibition began in New York City and has traveled to Detroit’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Toronto’s Design Exchange and then in a condensed form to London’s Architecture Museum in King’s Cross.

Factories, once a catalyst for the development of company towns and industrial cities of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, are now associated with pollution and brownfields and have been largely ignored as an urban concept. The vertical urban factories featured in this exhibit, however, have pushed the boundaries of innovative design. A glance to the not-so-distant past recalls Ford’s Highland Park, which pioneered the 60-second Model T, and the Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam, a stunning complex of Modern architecture, as well as the Toni Molkerai in Zurich. These and other Modern factories around the world were once significant as agents of innovation and change. Though factories today may not be as celebrated, factory owners and their architects around the world are re-approaching factory design with growing interest.


“MateraMending 2015” workshop by Alberto Campo Baeza

Following the cultural relevant moment thanks to the election of Matera as European City of Culture 2019 the workshop “MateraMending” will take place in the city between March 22 to March 28.


Matera abandoned unfinished train station.

MateraMending site. Matera abandoned unfinished train station.


In this workshop students of the Technical University of Madrid and University of Basilicata, together with their teachers and leading figures of European architecture in recent years will meet to study, discuss and design what could become the new gate for the city of Matera. Regeneration, green spaces, new infrastructures, will be some of the topics addressed during these days. Conferences, seminars and excursions through the city and the territory will be proposed to discover the architecture that characterizes this unique place.

Matera has suffered a problem of public civil infrastructure administration, resulting in a frustrated project to connect the city by train with the rest of the country. Right now the works are near to be accomplished and maybe the finantial aid of the European City of Culture will help in order to achieve these objectives. The workshop will reflect about what does public infrastructure mean and how can we reuse the existing one.

The teachers coming from Spain will be Alberto Campo Baeza, professor Alejandro Vírseda (author of Nave 16 refurbishment, among other projects), professor José Jaraíz and professor Jesús Donaire (secretary of the BigMat International Architecture Award).


“Esposizione Universale Roma”, looking back at the story behind EUR42, Rome’s main business area.

The exhibition in Museum of Ara Pacis in Rome attempts to look into the history of Eur -born as a symbol of fascist monumentality, finally become an expression of the 1960’s financial boom. “Esposizione Universale Roma. Una città nuova dal fascismo agli anni ‘60” will be open from March 12 to June 14, 2015.


Fabrizio Ferri, Untitled #2262, 1999

Fabrizio Ferri, Untitled #2262, 1999


In 1942 Rome was due to host EUR42, a Universal Exhibition dedicated to the celebration of fascism in its 20th anniversary. According to the original project, the Exhibition would have welcomed all the countries in the world, saving several permanent core buildings for Italy -the first buildings of a new neighbourhood to come. The impact of the Second World War stopped the works, and the district was abandoned. Only from the 1950’s on was EUR42 transformed into its present state -a modern business and residential area.

In occasion of Milan’s Expo 2015, the Museum of Ara Pacis is holding an exhibition  called “Esposizione Universale Roma. Una città nuova dal fascismo agli anni ‘60” (“Rome’s Universal Exhibition. A new city from fascism to the 60s”). Open from March 12, to June 14, 2015, the exhibition aims to trace the history of the EUR district through some basic steps that have marked its formation and transformation.



Relief(s), cycle of exhibitions and events at Les Turbulences – Frac Centre

A group show titled Reliefs – Architecturing the Horizon will create a dialogue between the FRAC Centre’s collection and contemporary art, emerging and recognized alike.


Yasuaki Onishi, reverse of volume RG, 2012 - Commission Rice University Art Gallery - Photographie  Nash Baker

Yasuaki Onishi, reverse of volume RG, 2012 – Commission Rice University Art Gallery – Photographie Nash Baker


In spring 2015, Les Turbulences – Frac Centre will be inaugurating a new cycle of exhibitions and events titled Relief(s). As a sign and as a mythical object, the mountain is a geographical category of the common sense which summons up a collective and universal imagination. For architecture, this “ultimate form of relief” represents a pure otherness, a form of resistance that is in a state of tension with its original programme of analysis and organization of the world.

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“Living/Working: How to live together” by Pier Vittorio Aureli

As part of “ESARQ Forums: A Matter of Things” Pier Vittorio Aureli, co-founder of DOGMA, gave a lecture on the relationship between architecture and the city.


Field of Walls, Dogma, 2012 © DOGMA

Field of Walls, Dogma, 2012 © DOGMA


Pier Vittorio Aureli, one of the most important European architects of the current scene, visited  ESARQ School of Architecture under ESARQ Forums last Monday, the 9th of March. An architect and theorist, Pier Vittorio Aureli is responsible for the PhD Program “City as a Project” at the Berlage Institute, where he also obtained a PhD in Architecture. His projects, researches, writings, and teaching focus on the relationship between architectural form, political theory, and urban history. He is the author of publications including “The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture” (2011) and “The Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture Within and Against Capitalism ” (2008) and “Less is Enough: On Architecture and Asceticism” (2013).


“The Netherlands builds in brick”. The archivist’s view on Dutch modernism

Het Nieuwe Instituut is presenting “The Netherlands builds in brick”, an exhibition made out of the Institute’s archive collection, showing how, during inter-war period, brick was a popular building material in both traditional and experimental projects.


Publieke Werken Amsterdam. HBS secondary school and School of Commerce in Amsterdam, 1923-1925 © Het Nieuwe Instituut

Publieke Werken Amsterdam. HBS secondary school and School of Commerce in Amsterdam, 1923-1925


Since January 24, Het Niewe Instituut has been host to the third instalment of Surprising finds from the collection, a series of exhibitions showcasing the richness and potential of the Institute’s archive. In this occasion, the main theme portrayed in the drawings, photographs, models and various objects selected by curator Alfred Marks is the popularity of brickwork as a building material in The Netherlands during the inter-war period. In contrast to the general idea that, with Nieuwe Bouwen, glass and concrete were the main building materials, The Netherlands builds in brick proves that, despite the Bauhaus’ influence on contemporary architecture, brick was still an important feature in Dutch architecture, both in traditional-style and experimental buildings, developing alongside modernism.