Gowanus by Design: WATER_WORKS Competition Winners

With this weeks focus being water – opportune because our borehole pump is broken and I am having to stand and water the garden with hose – even though it’s pretty water-wize it still needs some water in mid-Summer  in our Winter rainfall Western Cape. From bustler

Detail of the winning project in the category Community Programming:

Detail of the winning project in the category Community Programming: “Flood Courts Gowanus” by Josip Zaninović, Krešimir Renić, Ana Ranogajec, Tamara Marić, and Branko Palić from Zagreb, Croatia

The competition jury comprised Richard Plunz, Pofessor, Columbia University GSAPP & Director, Urban Design Lab; David J. Lewis, Founding Partner, LTL Architects; Robert M Rogers, Founding Partner, Rogers Marvel Architects; Andrew Simons, Chairman, Gowanus Canal Conservancy; and Joel Towers, Dean, Parsons The New School For Design.

While reviewing the over 150 submissions, the jurors agreed that no single entry fully addressed the multitude of challenges presented by the competition brief and therefore decided to award winners in three categories instead: Urban Ecology, Architectural Design, and Community Programming.

Category: Urban Ecology

1st Place: Water_Works<br /><br />
Studio TJOA: Audrey Worden, Alex Worden; Brooklyn, New York


1st Place: Water_Works Studio TJOA: Audrey Worden, Alex Worden; Brooklyn, New York

1st Place: Water_Works
Studio TJOA: Audrey Worden, Alex Worden; Brooklyn, New York

Honorable Mention: Modular Floodplain and Community Center<br /><br />
Pilot Projects: Scott Francisco, James Wilson, Drew Powers; New York, New York

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Going With the Flow

With Climate Change and sea level rise a motivated topic of concern (or yawns- depending who you talk to!)  I found this article on the Netherlands approach to Sea level rise edifying. From the New York TImes via Archinect By 

Dick Sellenraad/Aeroview, the Netherlands..

Overdiepse Polder, an infrastructure project in the southeastern province of Brabant south of Amsterdam, will have eight elevated farms.  More Photos »

OVERDIEPSE POLDER, WASPIK, THE NETHERLANDS — When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York proposed the other day to spend up to $400 million to buy and raze homes in the floodplains damaged by Hurricane Sandy, I thought of Nol Hooijmaijers.

Some dozen years ago the Dutch government ordered Mr. Hooijmaijers to vacate the farmland that he and his family shared with 16 other farmers so it could be turned into a river spillway for occasional floods. I visited Mr. Hooijmaijers recently. He and his wife, Wil, served coffee in their new farmhouse and showed off the new stall for their cows.

How they and their neighbors responded to that government order, and how in turn the government dealt with their response, is a story that might now interest Mr. Cuomo and other New Yorkers.

It has been to the Netherlands, not surprisingly, that some American officials, planners, engineers, architects and others have been looking lately. New York is not Rotterdam (or Venice or New Orleans, for that matter); it’s not mostly below or barely above sea level. But it’s not adapted to what seems likely to be increasingly frequent extreme storm surges, either, and the Netherlands has successfully held back the sea for centuries and thrived. After the North Sea flooded in 1953, devastating the southwest of this country and killing 1,835 people in a single night, Dutch officials devised an ingenious network of dams, sluices and barriers called the Deltaworks.

Water management here depends on hard science and meticulous study. Americans throw around phrases like once-in-a-century storm. The Dutch, with a knowledge of water, tides and floods honed by painful experience, can calculate to the centimeter — and the Dutch government legislates accordingly — exactly how high or low to position hundreds of dikes along rivers and other waterways to anticipate storms they estimate will occur once every 25 years, or every 1,000 years, or every 10,000.

And now the evidence is leading them to undertake what may seem, at first blush, a counterintuitive approach, a kind of about-face: The Dutch are starting to let the water in. They are contriving to live with nature, rather than fight (what will inevitably be, they have come to realize) a losing battle.

Why? The reality of rising seas and rivers leaves no choice. Sea barriers sufficed half a century ago; but they’re disruptive to the ecology and are built only so high, while the waters keep rising. American officials who now tout sea gates as the one-stop-shopping solution to protect Lower Manhattan should take notice. In lieu of flood control the new philosophy in the Netherlands is controlled flooding.

Governor Cuomo’s plan would turn properties in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island into parks, bird sanctuaries and dunes that could act as buffer zones for inland development. The idea is to give homeowners an incentive (perhaps up to $300,000) to move voluntarily out of areas where, in hindsight, single-family houses shouldn’t have been built in the first place. The Dutch have pursued a more aggressive and complex relocation strategy.

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The Emergence of Container Urbanism

A timely essay by  MITCHELL SCHWARZER in Places  on the history of container architecture and urbanism – In South Africa various uses have been made using the ubiquitous shipping container – emblem of the consumer society to shape something different – however they still cost more the what eh local populations of the South can afford so shack-land is unlikely to give way to container-land – but heir use as Spaza shops etc is common in South African shanty towns


Top: Envelope A+D, Proxy, San Francisco. [Photo by Envelope A+D] Bottom four: Proxy tenants facing Linden Alley. [Photo by Trevor Dykstra] Smitten Ice Cream. [Photo by Christopher Bowns] Ritual Coffee. [Photo by Trevor Dykstra] “Off the Grid” food carts. [Photo by Niall Kennedy]
In San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood, the traffic on Octavia Boulevard almost smacks into a small park before being routed west onto Fell Street. In 2005, the tree-lined, four-block-long boulevard opened as a replacement for the double-decker Central Freeway, mortally wounded by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake; the freeway was a remnant of the San Francisco Trafficways Plan (1948, 1951, 1955), a proposal by transportation planners to ram numerous limited-access highways through the dense 49-square-mile city. Although a citizen-led protest — the Freeway Revolt, begun in 1959 — halted most of the offending expressways, the Central Freeway had just blasted its way a mile or so through this section of the city, in the Western Addition neighborhood, leading to the mass demolition of older buildings. [1] But nowadays, instead of gusting above the neighborhood, vehicles inch along the surface, and contend with narrowed lanes, traffic lights and forced turns. And, since 2010, they may spy a curious new development. On two short blocks north of Fell Street, land where the freeway once ran, an architectural counterpart to the boulevard’s recalibration of transportation infrastructure has risen.
Proxy, designed and developed by Douglas Burnham’s firm, Envelope A+D, repurposes about a dozen shipping containers to house a smaller number of outdoor businesses. With openings selectively punched into their sides, canopies sprouting from the furrows and ridges of their corrugated steel surfaces, and ornaments organically growing as handles, latches and locking bars, the eight-by-twenty-foot containers host a clothing boutique, beer garden, espresso café, ice-cream parlor and bicycle rental business, as well as cooking, cleaning and storage facilities and set of restrooms. Facing each other or juxtaposed at right angles, the boxes carve intimate outdoor spaces that appear as handcrafted as the products sold by Proxy’s businesses. Painted battleship gray, they also evoke the warships that once followed the sea-lanes of the Pacific from their harbor in San Francisco. That’s ironic, because the very idea of container urbanism would seem to be counterposed against monuments of any sort, whether military-industrial or architectural. In Burnham’s words, Proxy has aimed at a “volumetric ghosting of what a real building would be.” [2]

Along with the park and its revolving art exhibits (many from the Burning Man Festival), along with the gentrified storefronts and renovated and surrogate Victorians, Proxy seems at first glance guided by the pastiche urbanism associated with postmodernity. More than elsewhere in the city, the area around it feels layered with time. The mix of locals and tourists, the foreign languages wafting across the playground and beer garden, reinforce this cosmopolitan dimension. More to the point, a thick sense of urbanity emerges fromProxy’s staging of activities in liminal zones: amid transport boxes initially manufactured to move goods and now reworked to sell them; astride the intimacy of a residential neighborhood and the circuitry of metropolitan transportation. At Proxy, people swill beer and munch pretzels and pickles atop cracked macadam only steps from an anxious stream of cars and trucks. Akin to the parts of old-world cities rebuilt over pre-modern walls or modern bombing campaigns, Proxy builds atop San Francisco’s former traumas; a row of pollarded fruit trees grows up the blank side walls of an apartment exposed half a century ago by the elevated freeway; the shipping containers themselves both recall the city’s illustrious history as a port and alert us to the innovation that led to the cargo port’s demise.

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MIT launches new research center on advanced urbanism

A great deal of effort is being put into research that could lead to new urbanists – of interest here is the emphasis on the role of projects rather than utopian design ideals and a seeming leaning towards Transdisciplinarity – this involves greater level of involvement with end users – rather than purely Interdisciplinary and multi disciplinary approaches that are the typical state of academia and praxis present:

From Archinect

Interdisciplinary teams will focus on the planning, design, construction and retrofitting of urban environments for the 21st century. — cau.mit.edu

Already, the world is becoming predominantly urban. However, the dominant form of urban living will be very similar to our older suburban regions in the U.S. This places substantial pressure on American suburban models, the dominant model of urban development copied worldwide, to set a better example of sustainability. This is even more critical as economic development grows robust middle classes in developing countries who expect more from their living environments.

To address the urgent need for better models of urban growth, the MIT School of Architecture + Planning is launching a major new research center focused on the planning, design, construction and retrofitting of urban environments for the 21st century.

Under the leadership of center director Alexander D’Hooghe and research director Alan Berger – professors of architecture and of urban design and landscape architecture, respectively – the Center for Advanced Urbanism will coordinate collaborations among existing efforts in the School and with other MIT groups, as well as undertaking new projects at the Institute and with sponsors in practice.

For the first two years, the center’s research program will focus on the particular challenges of infrastructure. Traditionally, infrastructure design has been based on a single function – a bridge for auto use, for instance, a lake and dam for electricity, a coastal barrier for storm surge protection.  But two new trends will soon alter that model – the increasing intensity of development in our suburban regions, putting capacity pressures on existing infrastructures; and the need for a broader systemic view of infrastructure’s multiple roles.

“We need to continue studying and modeling new scenarios for suburban forms and infrastructures, with special attention to the design performance and programmatic adaptability,” says Berger.

Fundamental to the center’s approach is the notion that research will be most effective when it is focused on specific projects as elements of the larger system, with a constant eye toward how that project can provide extra services beyond its primary function. By limiting intervention to individual projects, rather than trying to rewire entire regional systems all at once, infrastructure investment should, over several growth cycles, result in a reconfigured and durable new urban order.

As part of its commitment to building a new collaborative approach to the challenges of urbanization, CAU will offer subjects to general student populations in all the School’s degree programs and will contribute to a new, one-year integrated studio experience in which students will work on a complex urban problem from the combined perspectives of architecture, ecology, energy, housing, landscape, policy, real estate and technology.

With its distinguished history in urbanism, reaching all the way back to the work of pioneering urbanist Kevin Lynch, the MIT School of Architecture + Planning is well positioned to lead this effort, drawing faculty from both the department of architecture and of urban studies and planning.

The School’s participating labs include City Science, the Civic Data Design Lab, the Housing and Community Lab, Locus-Lab, the Mobility Systems Lab, the New Century Cities Lab, the P-REX Lab, the Platform for Permanent Modernity, the Resilient Cities Housing Initiative, the Sustainable Design Lab and the Urban Risk Lab.

Arup Proposes Radical Building of the Near Future

Do we need this future here? From Archinect  – ARUPs “vision” can be downloaded from the post – is this a vision for future  humans or androids – you decide:

The global engineering firm envisions a “smart” building that will plug into “smart” urban infrastructure and cater to an increasingly dense and technology-savvy urban population. — planetizen.com

Download Arup’s January 2013 issue of Foresight [PDF]

Results of tur(i)ntogreen International Student Design Competition

From Archinect

Detail of the competition-winning proposal CLIP UP by Enrico Pintabona, Irene Sapienza, and Gabriele Motta

Detail of the competition-winning proposal CLIP UP by Enrico Pintabona, Irene Sapienza, and Gabriele Motta

The winners of the tur(i)ntogreen international design competition were recently announced in Turin, Italy. Organized by the Research and Documentation Center in Technology, Architecture and City in Developing Countries at the Politecnico di Torino, the competition had invited university students […] to develop new multidisciplinary solutions for a sustainable and inclusive city reflecting on new forms of urban management and regeneration through agro – housing and urban – farming models. — bustler.net

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Landscape of professionalism

From Winnipeg Free PressBy: Brent Bellamy

Scatliff + Miller + Murray A design sketch for a commercial streetscape. Landscape architects work as part of a design team to ensure buildings appropriately engage the public realm

There is nothing more frustrating than flying into a new city while sitting in the middle seat of an airplane. You stretch to see over the person beside you who’s pressed up against the small round window. You strain to catch a glimpse of the city passing below you, trying to formulate that first impression of the place you are about to experience.

We often seem to rate the urban quality of North American cities in this way, as if we are 1,000 feet in the air. The size of its freeways or the height of its skyline resonate as symbols of civic affluence and vibrancy.

The true health of a city, however, must be judged from its sidewalks. Its urban quality can’t be measured from the height of its towers. It can only be found in the spaces between those buildings. The human experience is not defined by how buildings engage the sky, but how they engage the ground, how they define public space, how they facilitate a social connection between the people in and around them.

The quality of these spaces is what makes a city livable and prosperous. Active parks, sidewalks, plazas and courtyards work together as an integrated network of open space that can attract people to live, work and invest in a city. When done well, they can be a catalyst for growth and development. When done poorly, they can enable crime and promote urban decay.

As cities look to increase density and become more sustainable, the need for quality public space has become vitally important. With this pressure, the voice of the landscape architect has become recognized as a key contributor in the design of healthy cities.

During Winnipeg’s recent growth spurt, headlines have generally focused on the construction of shiny new buildings. Less celebrated has been the role landscape architecture is playing in improving our city’s health and quality of life through interventions at all scales of development.

At the largest scale, landscape design is transforming Winnipeg through a complete renaissance of our neglected regional park system. The most significant project is occurring at Assiniboine Park, which is in the midst of a $200-million redevelopment that has already revolutionized the city’s premier green space. Under construction is the zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit that will become a global centre for northern wildlife education, research and conservation.

At a civic level, landscape design in Winnipeg has recently been implemented as a successful catalyst for growth and neighbourhood rejuvenation. The construction of Waterfront Drive along the Red River converted an abandoned rail line into a network of parks, plazas and pathways that provided the spark for hundreds of new residential units, stimulating the economic rehabilitation of the entire Exchange District. Further west, the redevelopment of Central Park has taken a once crime-filled, derelict urban space and transformed it into a proud neighbourhood focal point and public gathering place that has uplifted an entire community.

Landscape architects work as part of a design team to ensure buildings appropriately engage the public realm, strengthening their connection to the human scale. A successful example of this is the urban plaza that creates a transition from the stark glass walls of Manitoba Hydro Place to a sun-drenched public gathering place along Graham Avenue. Similarly, an integrated landscape design will be essential to ensure the introduction of the towering Canadian Museum for Human Rights does not diminish the pedestrian scale of The Forks site. New landscapes can also redefine existing buildings, exemplified by the City Hall Plaza and Steinkopf Gardens redevelopment at the Manitoba Centennial Centre that reconnect austere modernist designs with their urban fabric.

Landscape architecture influences every part of our city, right down to our neighbourhood playgrounds, schoolyards, skate parks, wetlands and retention ponds. As their profile and public responsibility grows, it is becoming important the profession of landscape architecture regulates the skills and qualifications of those who practise in their field. For this reason, the Manitoba Association of Landscape Architects is currently working with the provincial government to secure “name-act legislation.” This legislation would restrict the use of the title landscape architect to those with the education, training and qualifications defined by the association, similar to that of other design professions such as architects, engineers and planners.

Three provinces currently have similar legislation and others are progressing toward it. Professional regulation would help to ensure industry competence and ethical practice by establishing comprehensive standards that work to protect public health, well-being and quality of life, while promoting design expertise that enhances our natural environment and cultural heritage.

The design palette of a landscape architect is composed of living things; things that change each year, things that grow and die and transform through the seasons. The spaces they create redefine themselves over time. They bring us together, encourage social interaction and enhance our connection to the environment. The ability to compose these spaces with a knowledge of how they will live, grow and evolve through the years is the magic landscape architects as professional designers bring to our cities and to our lives.

 

Brent Bellamy is senior design architect for Number Ten Architectural Group.

bbellamy@numberten.com

Biomimicry guiding design principle for Lavasa Township

From Land Reader BY DAMIAN HOLMES

HOK worked closely with biologists from Biomimicry 3.8, in undertaking an extensive study of the local ecosystem to develop design strategies that work in harmony with local biome as well as climatology. Lavasa is a private, planned city being built near Pune and expected to have a total population of 200,000. HOK has developed an overall masterplan for the town and including a landscape master plan to minimize deforestation.

Although the above is a short summary of World Architecture News blog post, it doesn’t include how biomimicry was used in the design process. Biomimicry has recently increased in prominence in the design profession including architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. So I thought it best to give a definition and a video that povides more of an idea of what biomimicry is.

The Green Team Part 9: Going Vertical

From Metropolis By Terrie Brightman

Our introductory Green Team blog addressed a common misconception: There is no space left for new landscapes in New York City, the dense urban expanse that is our home turf. In fact, there are available spaces, but they’re likely to come with some complex problems. Finding ourselves wrestling with small, challenging, and limited spaces, we sometimes take an unexpected approach. We look up!

Our initial site analysis for New York projects—and others—entails, in part, identifying ALL available space than can be improved. Crisp, white walls may be de rigueur for the interior artist, but they are far too banal for a vibrant, metropolitan landscape. By using a site’s vertical surfaces, we can expand the benefits of a project to include increased planting areas, aesthetically appealing live or inanimate screens, thoughtfully designed edge conditions, improved views, reduced cooling requirements for adjacent buildings, and the mitigation of urban heat island effect (UHI), thus furthering the definition of “the space.”

The design of exterior vertical surfaces can take on many forms and configurations including green screens, green walls, cable trellis systems, wall-mounted planters, trellises, and planters housingfastigiate (columnar) species, to name a few. The selection of the proper treatment for these surfaces is based on sun/shade conditions, design intent, the structural capacity of the surface to receive the enhancement, available soil volume for plants, and so on. If we propose a woven wire or cable trellis system, we must consider the method of its attachment to the building’s surface as well as whether the receiving wall or support structure can sustain its weight load in addition to the living, twining plants that will grow over the plane. Some factors that influence plant selection, as well as the ultimate success of the installation, are planters, soil volume, irrigation, and solar orientation.

We work with a wide variety of systems and approaches on vertical landscapes throughout the city. At Spring Street Plaza, a 200-foot-long wall abutting the adjacent building was designed and installed to allow us to use a vertical screen system for vines. This wall provided the structural support for the vegetated system while ensuring that no portion of the work was attached to or interfered with the structure of the neighboring property (our post on property lines talks about the consequences of this). Once installed, the green screen, with its dense vine cover comprising six vine species, provided a sense of enclosure for the plaza, acting as a vegetated backdrop to the small “rooms” of the plaza design. The wire grid also provided structure for the installation of custom light tubes into the screen, creating a playful effect of illuminated planting at night. The 10-foot height of the new wall—a pedestrian scale intervention— also helps deemphasize the presence of the adjacent building.

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A view south across one of the seating “rooms” of the plaza showing the vine-covered green screen along the western edge of the site. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Felicella

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Light tubes inserted into pockets in the wire grid screen accent the vines and illuminate the site. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Felicella

 

A similar type of installation was completed at Ennead Architects’ new Staten Island Courthouse, where vines and custom screen panels span the four stories of a new parking structure on the building’s east and west facades. A mixture of five plant species was used to provide seasonal interest and texture to its surface.

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A wire mesh screen system and vines were used to enhance the facade of the Staten Island Courthouse on Central Avenue.  Photo courtesy Elizabeth Felicella

Wall mounted planters provide an alternative to mesh and cable systems that are typically enhanced by vine planting. The planters allow for a greater variety of plant species and types, but they come with their own constraints. At Time Warner Center, we installed a series of metal planters along the sidewalk and at the building entry. In addition to structural concerns, these planters required a complex irrigation system and lighting installation. Plant selection was determined based on limited soil volume (which restricts the growth potential of a plant), and the largely south-facing aspect of the planters (hot! hot! hot!). The planters required insulation to moderate heat from the sun and from the lighting elements integrated into the design. Due to irrigation and the small soil volume, effective drainage was also a concern. Through careful detailing and consultant coordination, this vertical landscape continues to thrive nine years later, enhancing the experience of the area for passersby.

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The wall mounted planters at Time Warner Center enhance the pedestrian level facade by incorporating landscaping on the vertical building surface. Photo courtesy Mathews Nielsen

Vertical landscape interventions are clearly advantageous in providing urban denizens with lush, living surroundings. Such applications proved beneficial to us when we were working on a series ofPrivately Owned Public Spaces (POPS). These are subject to approval by the New York City Department of City Planning, which works with private developers to provide them. The abundant amenities required by the NYCDCP’s regulations often require highly creative uses of available space; we will discuss this in our next post.

Terrie Brightman, RLA, ASLA is a practicing landscape architect at Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects in New York City with over eight years of professional experience. Since receiving her BLA from the Pennsylvania State University, she has worked on riverfronts in Pittsburgh, private residences in California and Florida, a sustainable community in Turkey, and multiple public parks, plaza and waterfronts throughout New York City.

“We can’t draft a new world and print it out”

The endless fascination with techno solutions subjected scrutiny from Dezeen

"We can't draft a new world and print it out"

Opinion: in this week’s column, Sam Jacob argues that instead of liberating us, 3D printing will merely “bind us even more closely to fewer and fewer corporations”.

If this is the year of anything, it’s the year of 3D-printing boosterism (even more than last year was). The overarching narrative surrounding 3D printing presents it as a liberating technology. It argues that the technology will free us from organised, centralised production of the industrial era. And it suggests that this radical break will in turn transform the political, economic and social structures that industrialisation precipitated.

There is a latent dream somewhere in this rhetoric, something like an electrified version of William Morris’ strange rural-futurist novel News From Nowhere. Morris’ protagonist goes to bed in the industrial 1890’s but mysteriously wakes into a post-revolutionary, proto-socialist nu-medievalist London.

It’s a London whose citizens craft themselves beautiful things in fulfilling equality. We imagine now, perhaps, our own sci-fi version of this utopia. A future where digital production technologies set us free. Where we are surrounded by sequentially layered self expression and customisation. Where we return, thanks to electronics and robotics, to an idealised folk-art state.

Yet of course, we’ve been on the cusp of techno-liberation before. Remember those wild, free years when the internet was young? Limitless fields of freedoms seemed to open up through the window of a squawking dialup modem. The information enclosures of Facebook, Google, Apple et al have long put paid to that sensation.

Let’s face it: 3D printing might give us a million new ways to make objects, but it is unlikely to undo our late capitalist relationship with objects. If the history of the internet is a lesson, then technology only accelerates us further towards the horizon of consumerism, deeper into the depths of digital modernity.

Think, for example, of the labour politics of 3D printing. There is something undeniably appealing (to designers) in the removal of the production process between the designer and their artifact, a shortening of the distance between their imagination and its physical product. But part of this appeal is that it shifts the value of the object toward the designer rather than the labour of production. It’s the total realisation of Ruskin’s critique of industrial capital’s division of labour, where ‘thought’ and ‘work’ are entirely estranged, where personality and invention are ringfenced by design rather than shared with production.

Inevitably it won’t be a democratic, distributed version of the technology that takes hold. It’ll be an iTuned, DRMified ecology that will bind us even more closely to fewer and fewer corporations. If we’re lucky enough to escape that fate, it will only be into the arms of a Pirate Bay of objects where we’ll find the 3D equivalents of screener films, dodgy 3D scans and partially ripped bootlegs.

Here’s another scenario, another possible version of a 3D-printed world. This one is a world that physically resembles the contents of your hard drive (if you are anything like me, that is). A world of half-completed files, a thousand drafts, weird duplicates, super high-res and hyper-compressed versions of the same file and lost aliases. A world made in the image of the detritus around the outlet of a photocopier. A world of copies with no originals. A world of undifferentiated, undetailed substance, endless landscapes of half-finished Sketchup models as though Google’s 3D warehouse had dumped itself back into the physical world. In other words, a super-proliferated Junkspace that would make even Junkspace blush.

Technology itself will not rescue us from our circumstance. We can’t draft a new world and print it out. In fact, the focus that digital design places on the object itself as an autonomous object, floating in its electronic amniotic sac, is itself a mirage of technology; a non-verbal argument about the nature of objects and society as much as a Fordist production line ever was.

If there is any hope of resurrecting Morris-esque resistance or Ruskinian ideology in a digital age, it is to recognise, as they did, that objects are not simply form but intrinsically politicised artifacts. And so are the technologies we use to produce them.

But 3D printing propels the idea of design-as-form to an extreme conclusion. It makes a persuasive argument for design as the production of autonomous techno-formalist objects. 3D printing might change how we make the world, but it won’t change the world itself.