Sentient City Charrette, Open Call
SENTIENT CITY CHARRETTE
An open call for architects, engineers, urban designers, and related design professionals to participate in a one-week design charrette
Design problem announced: October 14
Pin-up and crit: October 21
The Architectural League’s current exhibition, Toward the Sentient City, curated by Mark Shepard and on view at the Urban Center in New York through November 7, critically explores the evolving relationship between ubiquitous computing, architecture, and urban space.
Over the past several decades, computer scientists and engineers have been researching and implementing ways of embedding computational intelligence into the built environment. Looking beyond the paradigm of personal computing, which placed the computer in the foreground of our attention–most familiarly in the shape of the desktop computer–ubiquitous computing posits a world where computers have disappeared into the background, embedded into the floors, walls, streets, and physical world around us. Enabled by tiny, inexpensive microprocessors and low-power wireless networks, information processing has become ambient, imbuing buildings and cities with the capacity to sense, record, process, transmit, and respond to information taking place within and around them. The implications for the built environment are enormous and inevitable.
The Sentient City Charrette invites architects, engineers, urban designers, and related design professionals to speculate on the form and functionality of this “sentient” city evolving around us. Participants will have one week to propose solutions to the design challenge, after which there will be a pin-up and crit on the evening of October 21 (more information below). The charrette is open to all (although pre-registration is required) and is intended as a purely speculative and collegial exercise.
First proposed in 1929, the Second Avenue Subway system will stretch along Manhattan’s East Side from Harlem to the Financial District, alleviating extreme overcrowding on the 4/5/6 lines and making the East Side generally more accessible by public transit.
How can the Second Avenue Subway integrate digital intelligence to make the system more efficient, more environmentally sensitive, and more comfortable for riders and workers? How will embedded computational processing reinvent the function and/or form of entries, stairs, elevators, booths, turnstiles, newsstands, and the system itself? How will a “smart” subway station–one that has the capacity to track nearly infinite kinds of data, that responds to and interacts with riders, that is networked into the infrastructure of the city–look different than other stations currently in operation in New York City?
The problem is open-ended and participants are invited to consider any and all parts of the Second Avenue Subway as sites for potential action. The League is particularly interested in speculations on how these various technologies might influence architectural form, as well as how architects and related designers can reimagine to what ends and in what form ubiquitous technologies might be better integrated into the built environment.
To register and submit see here.