Live Stream: ARC 504 Final Review, In the Age of Covid-19, "Emerging Urban Technologies: The Posthuman City"




Emerging Urban Technologies: The Posthuman City

Alejandro Zaera-Polo with Joon Ma

05/07/20 [10:00am - 6:45pm]

Join the Live Stream:


A discussion with:

Michelle Addington, Jeffrey Anderson, Daniel Barber, David Benjamin, Elie Bou-Zeid, Benjamin Bratton, Mario Carpo, Cristina Diaz & Efren Garcia-Grinda, Anna Dyson, Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Juan Herreros, Nahyun Hwang, Andres Jaque, Jeffrey Kipnis, Tom Leader, Jesse LeCavalier, Maider Llaguno, Greg Lynn, Daniel Lopez-Perez, Clare Lyster, Mitch McEwen, Forrest Meggers, Stephan Petermann, Mahadev Rahman, Meredith Tenhoor, Thomas Weaver, Liam Young 


Program Schedule


Environments 10:00


10.00  Syphoning the Basin. Urban Air Filtering in L.A.

Art Uribe


10:45 Quenching Goat Canyon. A Wastewater Remediation Park System in the Tijuana River.

Juan Pablo Ponce de Leon


11:30 Industrial Parkland in Portland. Heat Urban Mitigation and the New Green Industry Deal

Jane Ilyasova


Materials 12:15


12.15 Home-Grown Industry. Industrial Hemp and Land Regeneration in the Roebling Site, New Jersey.

Cole Cataneo


1:00 Plastic Currents. Recycling Water-born Plastics in Ballona Creek, L.A.

Yidian Liu


Metabolisms 2:15


2:15 Waste to Taste. Nearly-Expired Food Reuse and Recycling Hub for Costco

Victor Rivas Valencia


3:00 Camden Food Hub. Towards a New Normal

Kaitlin Faherty


3:45 Assemble Here! Urban Manufacturing as Neighborhood Hub in Brooklyn.

Jonah Coe-Scharff


Logistics 4:30


4:30 Automatic Fulfillment. The Robotic-Prophylactic Takeover of Amazon

Minglu Wei and Zaid Kashef Alghata


5:30 Way to Go. Suburban Intermodal Transport Hub in West Trenton

Piao Liu


6:15 Safe Grounds. Anonymous Health Services

Simon Lesina-Debiasi


“Postmodernism, the school of “thought” that proclaimed “There are no truths, only interpretations” has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities dis- abled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for “conversa- tions” in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.” (Daniel C. Dennet, Wieseltier v. Pinker in The New Republic (, September 10, 2013)

"Technology means constant social revolution" Marshall Mc Luhan, The Mechanical Bride


Beyond becoming a global catastrophe, COVID-19 has been a major confirmation of the hypothesis on which ARC504 has been working now for several years. It has demonstrated the radical effects of non-human populations (viruses in this case) in the design of cities, and the brutal relevance of scientific determinations on architecture and urbanism: social distancing, (the return of proxemics!) confinement and ruthless biopolitics, the physics of air-borne VOC’s... are nothing but an extreme verification of our suspicions: that architectural and urban “cultures” are an irrelevant efflorescence of the true forces of urban and architectural evolution.


In the face of the futile attempts to a disciplinary revival, the byzantine discussions about style and language and the demagogic pretence of social constructivists and other politically correct, human-driven activisms in architecture, (of class, gender, race etc) which we have seen flourish in recent years, COVID-19 has brutally returned us to much more fundamental questions. It has confirmed the polemical hypothesis which lies at the core of the studio: that the most relevant questions for the design of buildings and cities, now and in the near future, are not related to humans, but to non-human agents (such as carbon emissions, environmental pollution, pervasive computation and artificial sensing) and that architects have to immediately return to technical exper- tise and scientific evidence as the very basis of our practice, in defiance to the stagger- ing dilettantism that the disciplinary discourse has promoted in recent years (in blatant resonance with the mistrust of facts and evidence that fuels the ideologies of climate change deniers, intelligent design promoters, patriots and other post-truth thugs). COVID-19 signals the return of “truth” and expertise after the catastrophic failures of “interpretation” and “conversationalism.”


Within the favorable environment and intellectual excitement that COVID-19 has provid- ed to us this year, ARC504 members have continued the development of this particular form of architectural knowledge across a variety of fields that ranged from urban heat island and air and soil pollution to food security, recycling and privacy, aiming to con- struct the “design space” for their practices rather than mere designs. While not neces- sarily working directly with the urban casuistics of COVID-19, participants have devel- oped a range of possibilities for urban and architectural projects which revolve around the idea of urban resilience in the face of crisis, urban, environmental, political or other- wise.


For the purpose of its public discussion we have classified the projects into four cate- gories/sessions: Environments, Materials, Metabolisms and Logistics with expert jurors catering for each category. The review will take place online on May 7th, starting at 10.00 a.m. till 6:45pm and will be streamed live:


Michelle Addington is dean of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, where she holds the Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture. Formerly, she served as Gerald Hines Chair in Sustainable Architectural Design at the Yale University School of Architecture and was jointly appointed as a Professor at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Prior to teaching at Yale, she taught at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Technical University of Munich, Temple University and Philadelphia University.


Jeffrey Anderson is a design technologist and architectural designer specializing in custom AR/VR experiences and interactive technologies. He currently teaches in the Graduate Architecture and Urban Design program at Pratt Insti- tute and runs the Design Lab at Mancini Duffy in New York. He holds a Master of Architecture II from Princeton Univer- sity, and both a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Knowlton School of Archi- tecture at Ohio State University.


Dan Barber is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Graduate Group in Architecture (PhD Program) at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. His research and teaching are organized around two major trajectories: the first involves an archivally-rich revisionist history of architectural modernism, demonstrat- ing the significance of environmental concerns to historical developments in the field. The second involves providing a theoretical framework for architects and others to engage the climate crisis.


David Benjamin is the Founding Principal of The Living and Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP. He also directs the GSAPP Incubator. Benjamin’s work combines research and practice, and it involves exploring new ideas through prototyping. Focusing on the intersection of biology, computation, and design, Benjamin has articulated three frame- works for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-processing, bio-sensing, and bio-manufacturing.


Elie Bou Zeid is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University. He specializes in Environ- mental flows and turbulence, energy models for cities and buildings, boundary-layer meteorology, surface-atmo- sphere interactions; hydrometeorology; large-eddy simulation; sensor networks.


Benjamin H. Bratton is a design theorist and author, Programme Director of the Strelka Institute, Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego.His current research project, “Theory and Design in the Age of Machine Intelligence,” is on the unexpected and uncomfortable design challenges posed by A.I in various guises: from machine vision to synthetic cognition and sensation, and the macroeconomics of robotics to everyday geoengineering.


Mario Carpo is Reyner Banham Professor of Architectural History and Theory, the Bartlett, University College London. He is the author of Architecture in the Age of Printing: Orality, Writing, Typography, and Printed Images in the History of Architectural Theory and The Alphabet and the Algorithm (both published by the MIT Press) and other books.


Cristina Diaz and Efren Garcia Grinda founded the Madrid-based office amid.cero9 in 1997 and are Professors at the Institute of Architecture at the Angewandte, Vienna, Visiting Lecturers at SoA, Princeton Universtity (2017-), Design Critics in Architecture and co-directors of an Option Studio at the GSD, Harvard University (2015-2017), Diploma Unit Masters at the Architectural Association (2009-18), Visiting Professors at the Institut für Kunst und Architektur at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna (2013-14, 2018-19), and Visiting Professors and Unit co-directors in the SAC Städlschule Architectural Class, Frankfürt (2016-2017). Previously they taught together in Madrid from 1998 until 2013 at ETSAM and ESAYA UEM.


Anna Dyson is the Hines Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture and Professor of Forestry & Environ- mental Studies at Yale. Dyson is also the founding Director of the Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture (CEA) within Rudolph Hall connecting to other interdisciplinary labs on campus to collaborate on the vigorous research, de- velopment and deployment of novel architectural systems that are focused on reinventing the DNA of the built fabric in order to take on the challenge of metabolizing energy, water and materials within architecture in radically new ways.


Guillermo Fernández-Abascal is an architect, academic, co-director of GFA2, and lecturer at UTS Sydney. Based in Sydney, Australia and Santander, Spain, his recent work destabilises the dichotomy of research vs. buildings and in- cludes diagrams, stories, exhibitions, films, prototypes, housing, and public buildings across the globe.


Juan Herreros is Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia GSAPP. Juan Herreros founded Abalos&Herreros in 1984, the LMI (Liga Multimedia Internacional) in 1999, Herreros Arquitectos in 2006 and estudio Herreros in 2014.The work of Juan Herreros has been featured in several publications and exhibitions, and he has received a range of awards and distinctions including International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA); AD Architect of the Year 2010; Medal of Arts from the city of San Lorenzo de El Escorial; Architect of the World by the Architects’ As- sociation of the city of Lima; and adoptive son of the city of Cochabamba.


Nahyun Hwang is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Architecture at Columbia GSAPP, where her advanced studios have been investigating the topics of knowledge institutions, new notions of environment, and emergent typologies of habitation at the intersection of architecture and urbanism. Nahyun Hwang is a licensed architect and a founding partner of N H D M, an NYC-based collaborative practice for design and research in architecture and urbanism.


Andrés Jaque, Phd Architect (ETSAM), is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia GSAPP, where he directs the Master of Science program in Advanced Architectural Design. Jaque is the founder of the Office for Political Innovation, an ar- chitectural practice based in New York and Madrid, Spain, and has been teaching advanced design studios at Columbia GSAPP since 2013.


Jeffrey Kipnis is a professor of architecture at the Knowlton School where he teaches courses on architectural design and theory. For more than two decades, Kipnis’ work has shaped the thinking, imagination and creative work of architects and critics. From seminal studies of the work of such key practitioner, Kipnis has brought a restless, generous and provocative originality to bear on the issues that have defined contemporary architecture.


Tom Leader is founder and principal of TLS Landscape Architecture in Berkeley, CA. For nearly 35 years, Tom has grounded his practice in an authentic understanding and appreciation of culture, ecology, craftsmanship and design.


Jesse LeCavalier (LECAVALIER R+D) uses research, writing, and design to explore the architectural and urban implications of contemporary logistics. His book The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), examines the activities of the international retailer to tell a larger story about the ways the logistics industry has developed at different scales and through the emergence of particular technologies.


V. Mitch McEwen joined the Princeton School of Architecture faculty in fall 2017 from the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning. She is founding director of Black Box, a research group at Princeton’s Embodied Computation Lab, and co-founder of A(n) Office, an architecture collaborative of studios in Detroit and New York. McEwen's design work has been awarded grants from the Graham Foundation, Knight Foundation, and New York State Council on the Arts.


Maider Llaguno-Munitxa is a partner at AZPML. In 2016 Maider Llaguno-Munitxa completed her PhD from the Institute of Technol- ogy in Architecture at the ETH in Zurich focusing on the study of the interaction of architecture, urban microclimate and its dynam- ics of flow and transport. Maider is currently a scientific researcher at the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University as well as adjunct faculty at Columbia University. Her fields of knowledge include urban physics; building physics, environmental modelling, analysis and visualization and computational design.


Greg Lynn is owner of the Greg Lynn FORM office, an o. Univ. Professor of architecture at University of Applied Arts Vienna and a studio professor at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. He was the winner of the Golden Lion at the 2008 Venice Biennale of Architecture.


Daniel López-Pérez (b. Madrid, 1973) is an Associate Professor of Architecture and a founding faculty member of the Architecture Program at the University of San Diego. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University, a Masters of Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University with honors, and an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association.He recently published Pattern Think- ing - R. Buckminster Fuller with Lars Muller publications.


Clare Lyster is an Irish architect, educator, and writer based in Chicago, Illinois. Lyster is associate professor at the University of Illi- nois at Chicago School of Architecture. She is principal of CLUAA, a research-based design office in Chicago operating at the inter- section of architecture, landscape, and planning. In addition to her design practice, Lyster writes about architecture and urbanism from the perspective of contemporary theories in landscape, infrastructure, and globalization.


Forrest Meggers is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University. His fields of knowledge include building systems design and integration; sustainable systems; renewable energy; optimization of energy systems; exergy analysis; geothermal; seasonal energy storage; low temp hybrid solar; building materials; thermodynamics and heat transfer; and heat pumps.


Stephan Petermann is the founder of a creative agency, MANN. He worked for architecture magazine VOLUME in 2005 and joined OMA in 2006 assisting OMA’s founder Rem Koolhaas with lectures, texts and research. His work on the future of the Chinese countryside in collaboration with Harvard Graduate School of Design and the CAFA Visual Arts Innovation Center was featured in the Countryside exhibition at the Guggenheim. 


Mahadev Raman was the Director of Arup Group Limited, the Chairman of Arup Americas and an Arup Fellow. He is a mechanical engineer by profession and has been in practice for 35 years, providing engineering design leadership for multi-disciplinary teams on a wide variety of projects globally. He has particular expertise in the design of sustainable, high-performance and energy effi- cient buildings and has pioneered the use of sophisticated analytical techniques to improve the performance of low-energy de- signs.


Meredith TenHoor is an architectural and urban historian, and the coordinator of undergraduate architectural history and theory at Pratt. Her research examines how architecture, urbanism and landscape design participate in the distribution of resources, and how these design practices have produced understandings of the limits and capacities of our bodies. She has written extensively about the relationships between agriculture, architecture, and cultural and territorial change in twentieth-century France, and about the intellectual history of 20th century architectural theory.


Thomas Weaver is a senior acquisitions editor at the MIT Press. Prior to MIT, Weaver served for more than ten years at the the Ar- chitectural Association School of Architecture in London, further establishing his international standing as an editor and publisher. At the AA, he managed the school’s publishing studio, with whom he helped launch the successful Architectural Words series, and commissioned and published more than 100 other titles on architectural practice, history and criticism.


Liam Young is an Australian born architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is founder of the think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group whose work explores the possibilities of fantastic, speculative and imaginary urban- isms. He has taught internationally including the Architectural Association and Princeton University and now runs an MA in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc.



Poster image caption: Coronavirus outbreak: workers take details from people suspected of having Covid-19 at a temporary medical centre in Daegu, South Korea. Photograph: Kim Hyun-tae/AP