Bracket 2 invites the submission of critical articles and unpublished design projects that investigate physical and virtual soft systems, as they pertain to infrastructure, ecologies, landscapes, environments, and networks. In an era of declared crises—economic, ecological and climatic amongst others– the notion of soft systems has gained increasing traction as a counterpoint to permanent, static and hard systems.
The notion of ‘soft’ systems had considerable impact on the design disciplines in the 1960s and 70s. In management, ‘Soft Systems Methodology’ was developed to address complex situations with divergent readings and stakeholders. The ability to deal with imprecision and uncertainty, with the aim of achieving more malleable, robust solutions is at the core of ‘Soft Computing’. Bridging disciplines, Nicholas Negroponte, in Soft Architecture Machines (1970), proposed a responsive built environment, wherein the computer acts as a tool for creativity and design, repositioning the role of the architect. While designers such as Cedric Price, Yona Friedman, Archigram, and Buckminster Fuller embraced the early soft project, envisioning alternate models of urbanization, mobility, and infrastructural networks, this project has remained dormant for the past decades, only to reemerge with increased urgency today. Acknowledging fluid and indeterminate situations with complex feedback loops that allow for reaction and adaption, the possibility of soft systems has re-entered the domain of design, necessitating a repositioned role of the designer. The present era, characterized by crisis, provides a new platform to revisit the soft project in the 21st century.
Bracket 2 seeks to critically position and define soft systems, in order to expand the scope and potential for new spatial networks, and new formats of architecture, urbanization and nature. From soft politics, soft power and soft spaces to fluid territories, software and soft programming, Bracket 2 questions the use and role of responsive, indeterminate, flexible, and immaterial systems in design. Bracket 2 invites designers, architects, theorists, ecologists, scientists, and landscape architects to position and leverage the role of soft systems and recuperate the development of the soft project.
The editorial board and jury for Bracket 2 includes Benjamin Bratton, Julia Czerniak, Jeffrey Inaba, Geoff Manaugh, Philippe Rahm, Charles Renfro, as well as co-editors Lola Sheppard and Neeraj Bhatia.
- Submissions should be project-based, or article-based.
- Article-based submissions should range in length from 2500 to 3500 words and be formatted in the Chicago Manual of Style with all sources clearly documented.
- Project-based submission should have accompanying text no longer than 500 words with 6-8 jpeg images no larger than 1mg each.
- Authors and designers should ensure, that if selected, high resolution, publication quality, images are available.
All authors and designers must have rights for all images submitted for publication, though this is not required for this first round.
Please visit www.brkt.org for further info and to submit.
Bracket 2 Call for Submissions Launch: September 10, 2010
Submission Deadline: December 10, 2010
Jury Review and and Selection: February 2011
Publication Submission of Selected Projects; March 2011
Publication date: Fall 2011
Neeraj Bhatia received his Masters of Architecture + Urban Design from MIT. He has worked for Eisenman Architects, Coop Himmelblau, Bruce Mau Design, OMA, ORG and Lateral Office. He has taught at the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto and was awarded the Wortham Teaching Fellowship at Rice University (2010-2011). His research has been published in Volume/Archis, Thresholds, Footprint, and Yale Perspecta. He is co-editor of Arium: Weather + Architecture (with Jürgen Mayer H., Hatje Cantz Publishing, 2009), which examines the relationship of building and weather. Neeraj is a co-director of InfraNet Lab, a non-profit research collective probing the spatial byproducts of contemporary resource logistics. InfraNet Lab’s work will be published in Pamphlet Architecture 30 (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010). Neeraj is a partner of The Open Workshop, a design office examining the project of pluralism through the design of openness.
Benjamin H. Bratton is a sociological, media, and design theorist. He is Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego and Director of the Design Policy Program at the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology. Benjamin is the former Director of the Advanced Strategies Group at Yahoo!, and taught at UCLA and SCI_Arc for many years. His work sits at the intersections of contemporary social & political theory, computational media & infrastructure, and architectural and urban design problems & methodologies. Among his most recent writings, "The Logistics of Habitable Circulation," (Semiotext(e)/MIT Press); “Suspicious Images/ Latent Images” (with Natalie Jeremijenko); and "IPhone City" in the Digital Urbanism issue of AD: Architectural Design. Bratton has published widely, from AD and Volume to HCI: Interactions and Theory, Culture and Society, and has been a visiting lecturer and critic at Columbia, Pratt, Yale, Architectural Association of London, among many others.
Julia Czerniak is an Associate Professor of Architecture at Syracuse University and the inaugural Director of UPSTATE. She is also a registered landscape architect and founder of CLEAR, an interdisciplinary design practice. Czerniak’s design work focuses on urban landscapes in Rust-Belt cities, and it has been recognized with numerous awards. Most recently, her collaborations have won the Syracuse Connective Corridor competition, the artNET Public Art competition in Toledo, Ohio; and the Pittsburgh Charm Bracelet competition. Her work as designer is complemented by a body of writing. Czerniak is editor of two books, Large Parks (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007) and Case: Downsview Park Toronto (Prestel and Harvard Design School, 2001), that focus on contemporary design approaches to public parks and the relationship between landscape and cities. Other writings include essays in Landscape Alchemy: The Work of Hargreaves Associates (2009); Fertilizers: Olin Eisenman (2006); Landscape Urbanism (2006); and Assemblage 34 (1998).
Jeffrey Inaba is the Director of C-Lab, an architecture, policy and communications think tank at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and the Features Editor of Volume Magazine. Previously, Rem Koolhaas and he co-directed the Harvard Project on the City, a research program investigating contemporary urbanism and planning worldwide, and before starting INABA, he was a principal of AMO, the research consultancy founded by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. In addition to being a faculty member at Columbia, Inaba has taught at UCLA, Harvard and SCI-Arc. He serves on the Mayor’s Design Advisory Panel in Los Angeles and as an advisor to several private institutions. Inaba received Master of Architecture with Distinction and Master in Design Studies degrees from Harvard University. INABA has been published in The Financial Times, FRAME, Mark Magazine, Urban China, Domus, Art Review, Artforum, The New York Times, Archinect and BLDGBLOG.
Geoff Manaugh is the author of BLDGBLOG (http://bldgblog.blogspot.com) and The BLDGBLOG Book (Chronicle Books, 2009), former senior editor of Dwell magazine and a contributing editor at Wired UK. Along with Nicola Twilley, he organized and co-curated "Landscapes of Quarantine," a design studio and exhibition at New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2009/2010, and he is also solo curator of a 2011 exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art called "Landscape Futures." In addition to lecturing on a broad range of architectural topics—from cities in science fiction films to climate change—at schools and museums around the world, Manaugh has taught at Columbia University, USC, and the University of Technology, Sydney.Philippe Rahm
Born in 1967, Philippe Rahm studied at the Federal Polytechnic Schools of Lausanne and Zurich. In 2002, he was chosen to represent Switzerland at the 8th Architecture Biennale in Venice and is one of the 20 manifesto’s architects of the Aaron Betsky’s 2008 Architectural Venice Biennale. He is nominee in 2009 for the Ordos Prize in China and was in 2008 in the top ten ranking of the International Chernikov prize in Moscow. He has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide (Archilab 2000, SF-MoMA 2001, Centre Pompidou, Beaubourg 2003-2006 and 2007, Canadian Centre for Architecture 2007, Manifesta 7, 2008). He was Head-Master of Diploma Unit 13 at the AA School in London in 2005-2006, Visiting professor in Mendrisio Academy of Architecture in Switzerland in 2004 and 2005, at the ETH Lausanne in 2006 and 2007 and he is currently guest professor at the Royal School of Architecture of Copenhaguen. He is working on several private and public projects in France, Poland, England, Italy and Germany.
Charles Renfro is a practicing architect based in New York City. Renfro was an associate at Smith-Miller+Hawkinson Architects and Ralph Appelbaum Associates, and a founding partner of the Department of Design before joining Diller + Scofidio in 1997. He has served as Project Leader on Brasserie, Eyebeam, the BAM master plan (with OMA), Blur, and the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. Recently, Renfro has served as a Design Principal for the redesign and expansion of The Juilliard School, Alice Tully Hall, Public Spaces at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, High Line, and the Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janiero, among other projects. Prior to joining DS+R, his work has been exhibited in several galleries including the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. In 2009, Renfro joined the board for the Storefront. His writing has been published in Bomb and A+U magazine. He lectures frequently both in the United States and abroad. Renfro is a graduate of Rice University and holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s GSAPP. He has been on the faculty of Columbia since 2000 and was the Cullinan Visiting Professor at Rice University in 2006. Since 2009, Renfro has served as Visiting Scholar at the Friends Seminary and Visiting Professor at Parsons New School for Design.
Lola Sheppard is a partner at Lateral Office, a firm dedicated to the productive overlap of architecture, landscape, infrastructure and urbanism. Lateral was awarded the Canadian Prix de Rome in 2010 and the Young Architects Forum in 2005. Lola is also a co-director of InfraNet Lab, a research laboratory dedicated to probing the spatial byproducts of contemporary resource logistics. Lateral Office and InfraNet Lab were recently selected for Pamphlet Architecture 30, to be published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2010 and were finalist in the WPA 2.0 competition. She is editor of Twenty + Change, a biennale exhibition and catalogue of emerging designers in Canada. She has worked in the offices of Erick van Egeraat, Jean Nouvel and Allies and Morrison, and is currently Assistant Professor at University of Waterloo's School of Architecture.