Cambridge: The Latest Architecture and News
A new Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) partnership with Northeastern University’s Myra Kraft Open Classroom, “Inspiring Design: Creating Beautiful, Just, and Resilient Places in America,” explores how people and places across the country are responding to this charge and creating equitable and inclusive places for all.
A public event at Harvard GSD examines the lower sky as a site of mobility
Increasing congestion and advances in autonomous technology are set to transform how we move around our cities. Many are now looking to the sky — the third dimension — as an expansive space for new kinds of mobility. Autonomous flying vehicles, such as cargo drones and flying taxis, have the capacity to disrupt how we move goods and passengers around urban space. Responding to these real-world changes, AERIAL FUTURES: The Third Dimension examines Urban Air Mobility (UAM), asking how scalable and on-demand UAM models could reduce road traffic, pollution, accidents and the strain on existing public transport networks. Within these opportunities are also challenges to overcome: noise, community acceptance, safety, cyber security and seamless integration with existing aircraft operations.
Borders shape and consolidate relations between states, people, jurisdictions, political entities, and territories. While some borders are stable, others are in a constant flow. The demarcation of borders is a body politic. It regulates economic relations and people’s access to places, resources, and rights. Borders are powerful instruments that determine the way our surroundings are organized, inhabited and controlled, and the ways communities relate to one another—while some break through borders to survive, others fence themselves off.
As a point of entry and exit, a threshold has a dual coding in society as both a physical and symbolic marker of separation and connection. Thresholds are often explicitly hard-edged or even brutal in their expression, demarcating rigid boundaries, as in the definitive lines of walls, barricades, and security checkpoints in buildings, around cities, or across larger territories. Too often, thresholds also divide human activity or communities according to social, ethnic, national, or economic characteristics. Architecture and planning can unwittingly contribute to these different forms of physical separation, especially in ways made visible through their practitioners’ interpretations of culture, religion, or legislation. As the academic disciplines that inform spatial practices, architecture and planning are themselves often similarly separated by disciplinary thresholds, inhibiting porosity between fields of research. By definition, an individual discipline necessarily is organized around a self-referential center of discursive production, but this often happens at the expense of the richness found at the intersection of multiple disciplinary perspectives. Is architecture, in its compulsive drive to create the autonomous object, inherently hardening the thresholds separating it from other disciplines and, by extension, reproducing those schisms within the built environment? Can architecture and planning intentionally construct soft thresholds―lines that are easily traversed, even temporarily erased―thereby allowing for multiple perspectives across different modes of research and practice and catalyzing disciplinary and social connections? What, then, is the physical expression of a soft threshold―a space that is visually and physically porous, plural in spirit, encompassing of its context, and yet rigorous in its expression?
Thresholds 46: SCATTER!
Editors: Anne Graziano and Eliyahu Keller
From treatises to TED talks; postcards to propaganda; etchings to drawings, films, and blogs, architecture moves in diverse and curious ways. It is these currencies, which give architecture its agency, its authority and life. And yet, despite the varied modes of its circulation, the majority of architecture’s discursive knowledge reaches only a familiar audience. While contemporary means of information production and dispersal continue to exponentially grow and quicken, the circle of professional and discursive associations remains confined. Circulation, distribution, and access to knowledge are not exclusive matters of the discipline. Rather they extend past architectural limits to catalyze inquiries into hidden geographies and infrastructure, restricted access, and equity.