12 Innovative Ways to Rethink Our Cities From the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale : TreeHugger

The Red Swing Project. From treehugger.com.

Jennifer Hattam brings us more DIY urbanism from the US pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Some of the things this post covers I have already discussed, such as community gardens, parklets and DIY bike lanes. Some new things from this post include the Red Swing Project, where a website tells people how to build this simple swing and mount it somewhere in the city; a seed bomb vending machine, which for 50 cents will give you a ball of compost, clay and seeds to toss into the derelict lot of your choice and grow flowers; and New York’s dumpster pools, where dumpsters are cleaned out and lined with a waterproof barrier to become temporary swimming pools. Other interventions find innovative ways to incorporate technology into the urban design process. There are a lot of good ideas on show at the Biennale, and I hope that this will lead to more innovation in the future.


The Most Intriguing New Global Architecture Ideas You’ve Never Heard Of – Design – The Atlantic Cities

The Serbian pavilion. From theatlanticcities.com.

This is a fun post by Henry Grabar about what sort of projects he is finding at the Venice Biennale. He says that the projects can largely be lumped into three categories:

  1. The Art Project (“A Plethora of Metaphors”)
  2. The Posterboard Info-Dump (If I Wanted to Read a Book, I Wouldn’t Have Come to Venice)
  3. The Hometown Boast (Common What?)

He then lists three bad projects, including the Serbian pavilion up there (an architectural thought dump about how blank walls and a table invite us to think of the possibilities), four honorable mentions, including the Canadian pavilion, which, with my affinity for wood, really appealed to me:

The Canadian pavilion. From theatlanticcities.com.

and three projects he thinks are exemplary, including Angola’s first ever appearance at the Biennale, where they demonstrate how sugarcane can be used to fill in vacant lots and turn them into air and water purifiers.

Open Source Urbanism: Venice Biennale Puts Spotlight On Renegade Redesigners – Cities – GOOD

Bike Lane brought to you by Anonymous. From good.is.

Gordon Douglas, who write this post for Good, is part of a group that put together an exhibit of “Spontaneous Interventions” at the Venice Architecture Biennale. He discusses the emergence (or re-emergence) of the field of DIY/guerrilla/tactical/pop-up urbanism, to the point where the movement may be going mainstream. There are websites and blogs devoted to it (which, despite the density of posts on the subject recently, mine is not expressly one of those blogs), and guides like Tactical Urbanism can be downloaded for free. It’s almost ironic that an “underground” movement like this is being featured in such a major event as the Biennale, even when many of the works have no one to be attributed to. It’s interesting to see cities like San Francisco and New York adopting and formalizing the idea of a pop-up park. Whether sanctioned or not, these measures are iteratively improving cities.

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