the-expanded-field – mammoth // building nothing out of something

Category Archives: the-expanded-field

Excavations, Shockwaves, and Limits

At the end of September, I spoke at an event organized by The Architectural League and co-sponsored by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design, “The Five Thousand Pound Life: Land”. The Architectural League has recently posted video from the event, so you can now watch the many presentations and discussions; I particularly recommend Jesse […]

on landscape science

Places Journal (newly independent of Design Observer) recently published an argument by Brian Davis and Thomas Oles that landscape architecture should be renamed landscape science: “Slowly — fitfully — landscape architecture is remaking itself. Its adherents are venturing from the confines of garden, park, and plaza into strange and difficult territory, where they face challenges […]

dredgefest louisiana

Things have been terribly quiet here at mammoth this fall. (Assuming that by “here” we mean “here, on the blog”; they’ve been quite busy if by “here” we mean “here in Ohio and Virginia”, which is where I’ve physically been. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to recap those adventures soon — there’s been quite a […]

the geopolitics of subtraction

[Map of the IIRSA’s Amazonian axis, connecting the Pacific to the Atlantic across the Andes; from IIRSA document “8 Ejes de Integración de la Infraestructura de América del Sur”] Keller Easterling, speculating about “a new counterintuitive economic model” of “infrastructural subtraction” in Domus last November: “What are the points of leverage, trip distances or economies […]

changing industrial landscapes and the city that never was

Quickly, a pair of events (well, an event and an event series) that I am a bit late to mentioning. [photograph by Ricardo Espinosa] The first is “The City That Never Was”, a symposium “organized by Christopher Marcinkoski and Javier Arpa, in cooperation with the Architectural League of New York; speakers include Iñaki Abalos, Dominique Alba, Enric Batlle, William Braham, Rania Ghosn, Llàtzer Moix, Robin […]

the commonwealth approach

[The following is the text and (a slightly condensed set of) slides from the presentation that Laurel McSherry and I gave at the Drylands Design Conference in late March. The presentation walks through our highly speculative proposal for the reconfiguration of the political geography of the United States to better conform to the spatial distribution […]

the new modulated world of invisible fields

[A portion of Nicolas Rapp’s map of the internet for Fortune magazine.] Writing for Quaderns, Kazys Varnelis argues for an infrastructural urbanism that not only embraces and seeks to design (or design with) infrastructure, but also imagines new infrastructures “more appropriate to network culture”: But we have not gone far enough yet. The Deleuzian modulations […]

landscape ontology

[A landscape in the process of becoming a different landscape: In late 2010, the waste reservoir of a Hungarian aluminum oxide plant burst, releasing millions and millions of gallons of caustic red sludge. The meter-high toxic mudslide quickly moved downhill through two nearby villages, burying buildings, poisoning fields and killing 10 people. The image above […]

designing novel ecosystems

[Wildfires in the southern Rockies from space, June 23; via NASA Earth Observatory.] A recent post on the current wildfires in the southern Rockies at the New York Times‘ Green blog reminded me that I had intended to excerpt an earlier editorial, also at the New York Times, which defended the notion of the Anthropocene […]

zones and extrastatecraft

[A zone: Ebene Cybercity in Mauritius. As a bonus, Ebene is also an excellent example of the capacity of the Tubes to direct urban futures, as one of its prime selling points is that it sits at a landing point for the “the SAT3/WASC/SAFE sub-marine cable which links Southern Europe, Western and Southern Africa and […]

“brute force architecture”

We highly recommend checking out Bryan Boyer’s latest post, “Brute Force Architecture and its Discontents”, which is a fascinating take on OMA and its uinque impact on the operational models of other architecture firms around the globe: OMA is famous for two things: its astounding output, and the extent to which its operations chew through […]

dredge research collaborative: live interview @ studio-x

[The Dredge Research Collaborative — Stephen, Tim Maly, and myself, with fourth member Brett Milligan present in spirit but not body — in live conversation back in January at Studio-X NYC about the dredge cycle, artificial islands, geotubes, sensate geotextiles coating aqueous terrain, the scale of human influence over sediment, the New York Bight’s “Mud […]

urbnfutr interview with liam young

In an interview with URBNFUTR, Liam Young describes how he sees the relationship between his training as an architect and his current work as the head of “urban futures think tank” Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today: As architects we span the gulf between the cultural and the technological, we are in a unique position to synthesize complex […]

dry commonwealths

[The eighty-six proposed “commonwealths” of the lower forty-eight states, from “The Commonwealth Approach”.] 1 I can’t take too much credit for our win — we borrowed the main idea from a pair of earlier competition entries Laurel produced. I’m excited that “The Commonwealth Approach”, an entry to the Arid Lands Institute’s Drylands Design Competition that […]

signs for naturalized areas

[“Signs for Naturalized Areas”, from Windsor, Ontario’s Broken City Lab; the signs were installed in the summer of 2009, after a city workers’ strike left various vacant lots unmowed and teeming with accidental plant communities.  The emergent flora were apparently commonly viewed negatively, as a symbol of the political conflict surrounding the workers’ strike; the […]

hypothethical signs

[An image from Mehmet Ali Gökçeoğlu’s mayoral campaign.] This past summer on Places, Rob Walker, one of the artists behind the “Hypothetical Development Organization”, penned a brief history of architecture fiction and discussed the even-briefer history of that organization.  (The Hypothetical Development Organization was, if you are unfamiliar with it, a brief initiative which produced […]

the network as industry

[“Interior components of the cooling system” at a Facebook data center in Palo Alto; image via Alexis Madrigal’s report for Domus on Facebook’s Open Computer Project, which “describes in detail how to construct an energy-efficient data centre”.] “Secret Servers”, an article by James Bridle originally published in issue 099 of Icon magazine, looks at the […]

low roads and architecture

[Building 20 at MIT, a “250,000-square foot wood building [that] hosted the development of many important research disciplines from Chomskyan linguistics to the new style of computing promoted by early hackers”.] 1. Alexis Madrigal writes about “Low Road” buildings: …startup lore says that many companies were founded in garages, attics, and warehouses. Once word got […]

quilian riano interviews chris reed

Quilian Riano interviews Chris Reed (Stoss Landscape Urbanism) for Places; the interview touches on a broad range of topics, including Stoss’s recent work, the importance of an expanded field for landscape architecture, and possibilities for inventing flexible alliances between design teams and collaborators in “related fields such as engineering, ecology, economics, etc.”: “Within this expanded […]


We recently wrote a brief piece, “Appeal”, for the excellent architecture journal Quaderns in response to their most recent issue, “Parainfrastructures”. We used this response as an opportunity to consider why we are so drawn to infrastructural landscapes like Blue Plains — not just as sites of logistical and technological operations, but aesthetically as well: […]