THE PLAN Journal (TPJ) intends to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking and relevant research, studies and criticism in architecture and urbanism. The criteria for selecting contributions will be innovation, clarity of purpose and method, and potential transformational impact on disciplinary fields or the broader socio-cultural context. The ultimate purpose of the TPJ is to enrich the dialog between research and professional fields, in order to encourage both applicable new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice. (Maurizio Sabini)


 Open Access
Book Review

"Modern and Site Specific: The Architecture of Gino Valle 1945-2003"

by: Kenneth Frampton VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.16, published: 2019-07-16




Modern and Site Specific:      

The Architecture of Gino Valle 1945-2003

By Pierre-Alain Croset and Luka Skansi

London: Lund Humphries, 2018

250 × 190 mm 

100 b/w and 150 color illustrations 

352 pages

£50.00 GBP (hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1848222779  


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Expanding (on) the Core. The QT8 Project in Milan

by: Stamatina Kousidi VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.15, published: 2019-08-02

The Quartiere Sperimentale della Ottava Triennale [Experimental Neighborhood of the Eighth Milan Triennale], located in the northwestern periphery of Milan, survives as a significant chapter in the history of modern house and town planning. It formed part of the fast-moving expansion of the city towards the outskirts during the postwar era and represented a rupture with the past. Encompassing the investigations of those days into the threefold standardization-prefabrication-industrialization, it addressed the cogent issue of housing, while expressing a deep interest in the creation of a new urban sense of spatiality and communality. Advocating the autonomy of the suburbs, as well as their integration into the city, QT8 offered a flexible interpretation of the symbiotic relationship between center and periphery. This paper aims to provide a deeper understanding of how QT8 comprehended the term “core” as able to suggest more than a mere location. In so doing, it discusses its intersections with the broader discussions on the development of the modern city formed in those days, its vision to establish an urban social space at its center, and its ability to inform contemporary debates on the core/periphery dichotomy.

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Building Collective Individualities: Residential Pavilions in the Italian Countryside

by: Lina Malfona VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.14, published: 2019-08-01

By bringing the long-neglected subject of the single-family dwelling back into today’s Italian architectural discourse, this text illustrates that the villa can be understood as both a private dwelling and a place where collective individuality is formed. Three residences designed by Malfona Peltrini Architects in the Roman countryside provide a reading of the suburban villa as a pavilion made up of a core surrounded by a shell. The concept of the pavilion emerged as a country house for pleasurable or health-related purposes, but it eventually lost its domestic dimension and was used to describe an isolated, dismantlable structure erected in a public space or a green environment. Aiming at reassessing the pavilion as a twofold architecture, the design featured here links the concept of a private house to that of a public building. By enveloping a central nucleus with a shell, or a portico, a residential pavilion broadens its domestic dimension to incorporate an institutional and collective status, similar to the Palladian villa where the portico was co-opted from sacred or public buildings and lent to the private residence.

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Housing the Multitude: Struggling with Impermanence and Singularities

by: Xavier Van Rooyen , Michaël Bianchi VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.13, published: 2019-08-01

This article seeks to trace a history of Team X’s experimentations on the issue of housing for the great number and more specifically around the theoretical background leading to the question of impermanence and indeterminacy in the architectural process. Through the writings of the Smithsons, Oskar Hansen, or John Voelcker, a theoretical framework will be defined and then put into perspective in a contemporary context. Two case studies will be discussed: Lacaton & Vassal, and Elemental. Connections will be made on the issue of indeterminacy and the concepts of “open structure” and “open aesthetics” will be promoted. These concepts presented here offer an alternative for some other possible formal developments around the question of indeterminacy. We will assess whether the pragmatism of these two contemporary architectural offices allow their proposals, beyond responding to specific situations, to claim the status of a reproducible model, such as one imagined during the 1960s.

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Expanding the Field: Virtual Fencing as Responsive Landscape Technology

by: Forbes Lipschitz VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.12, published: 2019-08-02

Livestock is the largest driver of landscape change in the world, depleting land and water resources, negatively impacting biodiversity and contributing significantly to climate change. Though the environmental impact of livestock farming has been well documented, the role of the fence in shaping the form and function of livestock production landscapes deserves more attention. The evolution of fencing technology from wooden post to barbed wire has transformed vast swaths of the American landscape, facilitating agricultural intensification at the cost of ecological fragmentation. Emerging technologies in virtual fencing offer the opportunity to subvert this paradigm by electronically corralling and moving livestock via GPS-enabled collars. This article places the application of virtual fencing technologies within design discourse and outlines untapped opportunities for design intervention. The first section comprises a survey of historical and contemporary fencing technologies, highlighting the economic drivers and ecological consequences of innovation. The second section explores the emergence of sustainable ranching systems and virtual fencing technology. Finally, a speculative design proposal considers the potential of responsive fencing technologies to reformat grazing landscapes for adaptation and ecological production.

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Digital Line: Architecture’s Expanding Thread

by: Johan Voordouw VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.11, published: 2019-06-27

This article studies the changing role of line in architecture. The paper argues that digital production has led to a subsequent shift of lines as trace, towards lines as “spatialized” thread. This thread is moving away from orthographic and perspective modes of representation through three embedded modes of conception: the digital model, diagram and notation. These new lines have a long and alternative lineage in architectural ideation. The paper explains each mode in turn, indicating the importance of the model as a line in space embedded since the very inception of western architectural discourse; the edifying role of the diagram as a line of operation clarifying architectural ideas; and the new material ground that links notation to fabrication, and continued actualization in the pursuit of new architectural ideas. By expanding the line in architecture, the digital line better connects emerging representational modes to established architectural thinking and opens new ground to further representational discourse. 

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Politicized Gentrification: The New Urban Renewal Movement in Beijing

by: Wei (Windy) Zhao VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.10, published: 2019-06-27

In April 2017, the Beijing municipal government enacted a new, three-year urban renewal policy that is aimed to restore and improve the built environment of the 2,435 alleyways located in the historic center of the city. The local implementation, however, has focused on the sealing of doors and windows that led to homes and small businesses for decades. As a result, thousands of businesses that had provided daily services to local residents have shut down, forcing many people to move to other cities. Drawing on archival research and interviews, this article argues that the Beijing municipal government is merely using urban renewal as camouflage for a politically-oriented gentrification project which not only eliminates non-permanent residents, but also deconstructs, as well as reconstructs, “place” at the local level as a means to control social activities and relationships. The result is the creation of a new image of the capital of China, which exhibits the ideas of regularity, singularity, segregation, and authoritarianism. 

 Open Access
Conference Report

"Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture" Symposium

by: Eric Mumford VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , Pages: 1 - 4 doi: doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.4, published: 2019-03-04

 Open Access

New Paradigms

by: Maurizio Sabini VOLUME 3/2018 - Issue 2 [THE SHARED PROJECT], Pages: 269 - 271 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2018.03.02.11, published: 2019-02-13