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New Investigations in Collective Form

The Open Workshop

New Investigations in Collective Form presents a group of design experiments by the design-research office The Open Workshop, that test how architecture can empower the diverse voices that make up the public realm and the environments in which they exist. Today, society continues to face urban challenges—from economic inequality to a progressively fragile natural environment—that, in order to be addressed, require us to come together in a moment when what we collectively value is increasingly difficult to locate. Organized into five themes for producing collectivity—Frameworks, Articulated Surfaces, the Living Archive, Re-Wiring States, and Commoning—the projects straddle the fine line between the individual and collective, informal and formal, choice and control, impermanent and permanent.
Living Archives and Rewiring States are time-based approaches; Commoning is an organizational and programmatic technique; while Articulated Surfaces and Frameworks are form-based. Living Archives insert the contemporary subject into the making of the archive, redefining this space as an evolving cultural project that connects us to a longer lineage of what we have collectively inherited and will pass down. Rewiring States inserts architectural form in precise relationship to various ‘states’—time, temperature, materiality, form—of processes—logistical, industrial, and infrastructural—to rewire the these systems for new socio-political actors. Commoning examines the how to share and manage resources to enable user-managed governance. Articulated Surfaces leverage the flexibility of the generic surface and test how the time-based management of impermanent processes can more fully choreograph difference, expression, identity, and scale. Frameworks are legible geometric structures that are activated by transformations from indeterminate human and environmental factors. In each approach, design is not lost but rather re-centered on orchestrating the negotiation between indeterminate subjects and determined form. It is the richness of the dynamic subject evolving through time that is foregrounded but only understood through the collective framework of architecture.

New Investigations in Collective Form asks how we come together in a moment when we need to address global issues yet simultaneously what we collectively value is increasingly a challenge to locate. Within the context of the pandemic, this becomes even more important as we diffuse the population into the private domestic realm, isolated from the collective forms that bind us, and leaving our collective forums to be mediated through proprietary apps. Our post-pandemic globe has the opportunity to more equitably rebuild our economic and political systems to address large scale issues such as climate change. Whether we see this as an opportunity to reconsider our relationship to the environment and each other, or to regress and normalize our current crisis, rest largely on a collective vision for the world we want and the collective forms that support this. _Neeraj Bhatia (18/04/2020)


Authors & Editors:  Albert PopeCharles WaldheimClare LysterJenny OdellKeith KrumwiedeNeeraj BhatiaPeggy DeamerPier Vittorio AureliRafi Segal
Size: 20.3 x 20.3 cm / 8 x 8 in.
Pages: 192
Illustrations: Color
Cover: Hardcover
Publication date: April 2019
Published by: Actar Publishers / CCA Architecture Books
ISBN: English 9781948765169
Price: 32€ / $39.95 / £36

Additional information


Albert Pope, Charles Waldheim, Clare Lyster, Jenny Odell, Keith Krumwiede, Neeraj Bhatia and others


Experiments that test how architecture can empower the diverse voices that make up the public realm and the environments in which they exist.

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