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)

VOLUME 5/2020 - Issue 1

 Open Access

In This Issue [1/2020]

by: Maurizio Sabini VOLUME 5/2020 - Issue 1 , Pages: 5 - 7 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2020.05.01.13, published: 2020-06-24
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Architectural Portraits: ῾The MIES Project’

by: Arina Dähnick VOLUME 5/2020 - Issue 1 , Pages: 9 - 30 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2020.05.01.4, published: 2020-05-14

This article wants to offer a brief overview of my experience as an architectural photographer and of “The Mies Project” in particular, on which I have been working on for the past few years. My approach to photography, based on the latest digital technology but also on the Leica M-System, is briefly outlined. In the past, the question was how to obtain information. Nowadays, the proper structuring of information is what really matters. Architectural Portraits, a small selection of which from “The Mies Project” are here presented, are “intimate gazes,” prioritizing the relationship of the detail of a building with its surrounding, the interaction between construction details, lighting and weather conditions. In this sense, Mies’ works not only have sparked my interest in architectural photography, but have been also the perfect poetic partner for my research.

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Wellbeing in the Built Environment: Designing Discontinuities Between Function and Semantic

by: Nicoletta Brancaccio , Davide Giacomo Maria Gattoni , Federico Niola , Stefano Rozzi VOLUME 5/2020 - Issue 1 , Pages: 31 - 52 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2020.05.01.1, published: 2020-05-21

Space is relational. How many relationships can occupy a space? How do they work? These are both interesting questions that we would like to answer. We know that we interact with space and that its configuration affects us: we can be aggregative while experiencing it, rather than competitive. Space has considerable power in influencing our brain. Essentially, our actions are somehow manipulated by what we see and what we touch. How does our space (peripersonal space) interfere with another’s? The idea of interaction within space (or social space) and space of selfhood thus becomes an essential subject for architecture and cannot be simply parameterized in a geometric manner. Physical space must, therefore, allow solitary or cooperative movement without alienating the individual. We base our judgments on movement, culture, personal psychical characteristics, memory, and personal experience. Taking these elements as our base, we gave a new perspective for designers to draw from the semantic, which can be rhetorical and disconnected by the function.

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We are All Counterinsurgents Now

by: Britt Eversole VOLUME 5/2020 - Issue 1 , Pages: 53 - 70 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2020.05.01.12, published: 2020-06-24

The increasing production of robust, information-laden, parametric architectural and urban models has outpaced a critical evaluation of the ethics of contemporary modeling and visualization practices which, rather than reflecting reality, are transforming it. This essay exposes the logics of the expropriation of architectural and urban models in a decade-old RAND Corporation endeavor to envision a comprehensive digital counterinsurgency strategy. To encourage professional and cultural agents, as well as unwitting civilian agents, to populate databases with urban and environmental data, RAND proposed weaponizing open-source, big-data urban models and participatory platforms to create multicultural, user-friendly interfaces. Conceived to appear like an exercise in open-source digital democracy and participatory knowledge-sharing that would spark emotive responses such as pride and fear, RAND focused on the cognitive and affective side of digital participation and information sharing to wage a counterinsurgency in the minds of civilians and insurgents. When the models that architects build can be weaponized to ends other than realizing buildings and cities, when they become instruments for influencing behavior and facilitating warfare, there is an urgent need for an ethics of visualization. 

 Open Access

American Mirror: the Occupation of the ‘New World’ and the Rise of Architecture as We Know It

by: Fernando Luiz Lara VOLUME 5/2020 - Issue 1 , Pages: 71 - 88 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2020.05.01.5, published: 2020-05-18

This paper argues that the rise of architecture as a unique discipline and the conquest of the American continent are not just chronological coincidences but interdependent variables of the same process of modernization. Traditional scholarship in architecture has not entertained those parallel developments at all. The field of architectural history and theory still treats the spatial occupation of the Americas as a consequence of the Renaissance and European modernization, despite a few decades of scholarly literature in related disciplines questioning such assumptions. (Fanon 1961; Said 1978; Dussel 1980; Bhabha 1987;  Escobar 1994). Such scholarship demonstrates that the encounter of 1492 and the territorial occupation that followed played a central role in the development of Western culture in general, allowing the extrapolation of the same logic to the architectural discipline in particular. 

Featured Articles

 Open Access
Position Paper

Gender Matters. The Grand Architectural Revolution

by: Dörte Kuhlmann, Guest-Editor VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 2 [GENDER MATTERS], Pages: 273 - 279 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.02.12, published: 2020-02-07
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The Diversity of Women’s Engagement with Modern Architecture and Design: Three Case Studies

by: Kathleen James-Chakraborty VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 2 [GENDER MATTERS], Pages: 465 - 480 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.02.11, published: 2020-01-31

A range of often overlooked ways of engaging with architecture and design have historically offered women from around the world with the means of making a living and of advancing the careers of other women, as well as of encouraging the acceptance of artistic experimentation. These include journalism, retailing, and philanthropy. For instance, Ethel Power edited the influential American shelter magazine House Beautiful from 1923-34. Estrid Ericson founded and ran the Stockholm design shop Svensk Tenn for over half a century; she also designed many of its characteristic products. Gira Sarabhai was instrumental in the establishment of the Calico Museum and then the National Academy of Design, both located in her native Ahmedabad, India, and contributed to the design of the building in which the latter is housed. Writing such achievements back into the history of architecture and design helps provide the foundation for a more inclusive approach to those professions today.

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Office for A.T.E. Enterprises, Ahmedabad, India

by: Rahul Mehrotra VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , Pages: 17 - 30 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2019.04.01.6, published: 2019-06-06

The new office building of the A.T.E. Group – a cutting-edge engineering group based in the outskirts of Ahmedabad (India) along the Delhi-Ahmedabad highway – works as an extension to its adjacent existing factory. Diversifying from the ordinary existing factory shed scenery, the building uses technological innovation and landscape as key elements to serve both as an aesthetic surface and a performative office space. Through multiple layers of natural cooling techniques embedded in and wrapping around occupied spaces, the corporate office works in partnership with the seasonal and climatic flows. Indoor and outdoor spaces flow into each other as well as both the existing factory and the new office complex are fluidly embedded within the surrounding landscape. With low carbon footprint and minimal use of active energy, the building creates comfortable environmental conditions while countering the local conditions of extreme heat, dryness, and variations in temperature through the day and year.

 Open Access
Book Review

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

by: Kenneth Frampton VOLUME 4/2019 - Issue 1 , Pages: 223 - 226 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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Using Digital Data for Office Design. "The Case Study of the Agnelli Foundation"

by: Carlo Ratti , with Antonio Atripaldi , Melanie Erspamer , Daniele Belleri VOLUME 3/2018 - Issue 2 [THE SHARED PROJECT], Pages: 315 - 325 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2018.03.02.5, published: 2018-11-28

In the nineties, it was widely assumed that, because of the internet and widespread connectivity, the importance of physical space would be greatly reduced. Many prophecies at the time dealt with the “death” of distance, of cities and of offices, among others. While such predictions have not materialized so far, technology is nonetheless having an effect on how we use physical space. In particular, office spaces are undergoing a profound transformation. In this article, we review a recent project from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Senseable City Lab, which used the analysis of digital data to better understand the use of office space and scientific collaboration on the MIT campus. We then show how some of these preliminary findings can be used in the design of the co-working space at the Agnelli Foundation in Turin, Italy - and how digital data can then provide real-time monitoring of built spaces.