Volume 20: Storytelling

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Storytelling This past year numerous dramas have competed for our attention: sub-prime mortgages, banking meltdown, bailout, stimulus, pandemic, bankruptcy. The all-consuming effort to follow these events seldom leaves a moment to contemplate the explanations themselves. What is the stated dilemma, context or motive for any one of these problems? And most importantly, how does a problem’s formulation determine its proposed solution? Volume 20 is dedicated to the art of storytelling. It presents the storylines of current events and architecture to show that while the truth is important, so is the ability of fiction to elevate fact. Perhaps the best way to understand our era is through narratives that distort, pervert and animate reality?

Table of Contents Storytelling Jeffrey Inaba Make Believe C-Lab Sleeping Beauty: The Rewrite Character Development All’s Fair in Love and War Hush Little Baby, Don’t You Cry Volume Asks PS 123 What They Read This Summer Tokyo Asleep Neil Denari Crises of Complexity Joseph Tainter Crisis in Crisis: Biosphere 2’s Contested Ecologies

2 4 8 12 14 18 21 22 26

Janette Kim / Erik Carver The Endless Vacation Deane Simpson Symbolic Remainder Tom McCarthy Design for the Apocalypse John McMorrough There’s No Place to Roam C-Lab The Promised Land Robert McLeman Imaginario Constructivo Smiljan Radic (Arch)/ Gonzalo Puga (Photo) Foreclosed Homes Geoff Manaugh

29 34 38 40 43 54

Warren Special Report Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Nato Thompson If You Go There Will Be Trouble, An’ If You Stay There Will Be Double Andrew Oswald Yes Stories Roger Dean

56 58 65 81 82 85

Age of Reason Catherine Hardwicke Facing the Crisis C-Lab Staremaster Dave McKean The Technostrich / The Technology Narrative C-Lab Liquid Pro Quo Christopher A. Scott Waterkeepers Stephanie von Stein China’s Sustainability: Asynchronous Revolutions

92 95 96 100 110 112

Jiang Jun

114 118 120 125 126 133 145 148 150 160 160

Wish Upon a Star C-Lab Welfairy Tales Bjarke Ingels Waves of Mermaid Mutilation C-Lab International Style Heritage Lucia Allais Alibi: Isle de San Cristobal de Groüt C-Lab News Report Nicholas Lemann Fact and Friction Jay Rosen Letters From the Editor Lewis H. Lapham Colophon Corrections/Additions

Cover: photo Rachel Harmon


Storytellin Storytelling Storytelling communicates facts, but it also builds upon real-life accounts to enrich Storyte public expectations and elevate beliefs. To these ends, it is worthwhile to get Althou regarded as a vehicle to escape reacquainted with the children’s story. Although reality, the children’s story, and in particular the fairy tale, could again help to eluciger social and political storylines. This issue of o Volume responds to the date larger c isis, continuing contin in a series of inquiries started in Volume 9, Urban China 31, global crisis, Urban China Bootleggg ed byy C-Lab and Volume 19. Here, we present storytelling understandin our time and constructing a narrative of response. as a means of understanding Crisis creates confusion. conf It is a situation in which all avenues of recourse tan fail. Actions taken to remedy catastrophe have little tangible consequence. There is no discernable correlation between cause and effect, and as a result disorientation arises. In some cases the environment ma may continue to look the same, yet because its behavior can’t be grasped there is a perplexing disconnect. A crisis is when sspace can’t be explained. After the immediate shockwaves, when the un unpredictable events ebb and the climate re regulates, there is much that is left to be explained. Gathering information and formin escriptio s is the h first step towards re forming it into descriptions regaining bearings. Narratives explain space. Stories are important im to architects because they form the foundation of architectural proposals. It is through throu these episodes that a project’s general challenges and strate and formal outcome are deconstraints are outlined and an architectural strategy J urnalism experts termined. For this reason, we need to know how tales are told. Journalism helpin hand by discussing the particular Nicholas Lemann and Jay Rosen lend a helping len of writing stories about our precarious times. Lemann notes the inherchallenges ent contradiction involved in analyzing analyzin facts and constructing a coherent narrative, while i Rosen describes data collection resources and our social obligation to explain. wit indulgence and scrutiny. sc utiny. They offer Both encourage us to engage stories with p practical suggestions for crafting timely stories while remaining skeptical of received repor i g and conscious of o actions an account may provoke from its readers. reporting Storyte Storytelling could involve writing a new public script about space. In addition c to the classic narrative elements that Gustav Freytag observes on page four – inc including the statement of a problem, an exposition of its context and a proposal reso of resolution – such a script could make probable complications known through

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Jeffrey Inaba I a

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disclosure and qualification. As interest in new infrastructure disc in grows and as cases for its realization take shape, now is a good time to create a planning narrative that borrows lessons from earlier, problematic propositions made in the name vancement and n urbanization. With the help of Christopher of technological advancement Jian Jun, C-Lab breaks down general claims A. Scott, Stephanie von Stein and Jiang lar made for the implementation of large-scale technology. In professional contexts there is little incentive to disclose a pro project’s cons alon with the pros. Instead, there is almost an expectation that a proposal makes along Technolo Narrative’, unqualified positive claims. In ‘The Technostrich’ and ‘The Technology t e potential problems of new we contend that it would not be so bad to make the technologies publicly known. It may behoove proponents to come clean and divul to build trust by divulging technology’s limitations. Moreover, it would be opportune to write a script that avoids grandiose promises and instead solicits alon the way. The disclosure experts to help solve problems that may arise along decision-makin of possible complications, conflicts and the particulars of the decision-making pro process may in fact contribute to a project’s realization rather than its demise. In the followin following pages, C-Lab shows the ability of the children’s story to make sense of hard-to-describe events, given that its format addresses emoethical-char tional-difficult, moral-complicated and ethical-charged issues with concision. tha such constructions onstru tio s are especially relevant relevan today since simple We argue that res public narratives set the tone for actions in response to the very events (like challeng our ability ab lit to distinguish di t n crisis) which challenge fact from fiction. fantas The While truthfulness has it value, the same can be said for fantasy. resi children’s story is well suited to counteract the resignation and incapacitation accompa ies trauma, since si ce its fantastical f ntastical plots aim to summon the that often accompanies imaginative potential of the reader’s captive mental state. Rather than try to La discern reality from fantasy, contributors like Lewis H. Lapham, Neil Denari, Smil Radic, Lucia Catherine Hardwicke, Dave McKean, Tom McCarthy, Smiljan Ro Dean would encourage us to cycle between conscious and Allais and Roger unconscious states, work-life and dream-time, desire and disappointment, disa material reality and history because to do so is essential to an enhanced experience of the physical environment. For good reason, people say a story isn’t worth telling if it can’t be told to a child. A simple, distilled story that clarifies the an that aids the formulation of policies to better understand and animate crisis, and enviro ment, iss definitely worth telling. the physical environment,


Photo: Alex Davies

Tokyo Asleep Neil Denari

not dead

Photo: Hiromy

Photo: Jjsan

When asleep, Tokyoites invent a kind of or urban contortionism. The classic head-back, mouth-open pose: the easiest to perform.

Tokyo Asleep documents the e x p l o i t a t i o n o f p u b l i c s p a c e in Tokyo as a safe zone, and as a zone of literally unconscious expression. Here, the Harley cap and the spread legs demonstrate American tendencies, an imported sleeping style.

new yoga

The most elegant resting position, a slight angle of the neck. An image seemingly from a b y g o n e e r a of sleeping styles.

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Photo: Santa Spillberger

A typical sight in Tokyo: sleeping on the subway, with the uncanny ability to w a k e u p a t y o u r s t o p . This is the most common form of sleeping in the city.

Photo: Kristen Leep

This man is . He is s l e e p i n g . He may be extremely e x h a u s t e d from overwork. He may be drunk. He may be bored by too much information. One thing is for sure, however, he’s safe.

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Photo: Gaijan Seb

Photo: Rueben Stanton

One of a variety of ‘sunrise’ poses as he surely will be there when the S u n r i s e s .

Photo: Jjsan

If you are out in Tokyo, at 12:15 am, a decision must be made: catch the l a s t t r a i n or keep going. (To keep going is to essentially put many more bad choices into play.) For this man, the mind is willing but the flesh is weak.

Police in Tokyo watch over sleeping Tokyoites, providing .

There is n o p u b l i c s c o r n for sleeping in Tokyo. People just step around you.

The clock says 11:36 pm, in time for the last train. At times, these images seem exactly like those captured at a homicide scene in other cities.

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Photo: Osaka Steve

Photo: Kappuru

safety

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Photo: Persimonous

Photo: Anjeverena Photo: Jjsan

Photo: Kaoru Miki

Photo: Jjsan

Photo: Jjsan

Like a Weegee photo, in these images the flash exposes all of the grittiness of u r b a n s l u m b e r .

This is the ‘it’s time for bed’ pose. Shoes off, hat off, glasses off, legs and feet together, cell with .

Volume 20

Photo: Jjsan

alarm on

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When he wakes up, will this man be angrier at having had too much to drink, or at his wardrobe choice the previous day?

Photo: Tanakawho

Sleeping on a clean floor will allow this man to go to work in the morning without changing clothes. Note the SUICA card is ready to go.

In the over-lit Ballardscape of Tokyo, in glare of urban infrastructure, when after a long night and the money has run out and not even a capsule hotel is a possibility, being asleep in Tokyo is a normal thing. Anywhere else, you’re probably in p r e t t y b a d s h a p e . First presented at the A/Cute Tokyo symposium held at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles / 05.04.09


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S CIAL REPORT — SPECIAL 1

W AR RE N SP EC IA L RE PO RT FR O M CR IS IS TO PR O JE CT

JACKSON: ‘IT’S NOT OT THE T E BIG IG THREE. IT’S 4 MILLION JOBS’ J ... 2

EIGHT-YEAR POPULATION EXODUS STAGGERS STATE STAT 3

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METRO AREA HOME VALUES V SINK DROPS FORECLOSURE GLUT FUELS DOUBLE-DIGIT D UBLE-DI IN MACOMB, OAKLAND 5

FORECLOSURES FO CL URES UP U BY 81% IN U.S.

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Seeking bold visions for how the metrop olitan suburb can herald a new rendition of the American dream and utilizingg the current crisis as inspiration, p , this special p report p seeks to imagine g how suburban cities throughout g America could evolve in the comingg decades. Struggling gg g real estate and financial markets,, surging g g foreclosures,, risingg unemployment p y and the looming fallout from the failure of the auto industr y all come together g to pproduce a crisis of extreme pproportion p in the metropolitan p Detroit region. g Once the fastest ggrowingg cityy in the United States,, Detroit’s largest g suburb,, Warren,, staked its future on the continued might g of its manufacturingg industryy and appeal pp of its single g familyy homes. It is here,, amid the tremendous challenges g of this now humbled suburban landscape, p , that we find motivation for action and vision. $ x   2 ƒ ƒ

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IN DETROIT, ARTISTS LOOK FOR RENEWAL IN FORECLOSURES 8

A MODEL FOR OTHERS?

9

PROJECT GATHERING AIMS TO LOOK FORWARD, AWAY FROM HOUSING CRISIS

7

WIND TURBINES GENERATE MICHIGAN JOB HOPES 10

FARMING TAKES ROOT IN DETROIT WHAT CAN FLINT’S NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE TEACH OTHER CITIES?

GREEN ACRES IN DETROIT? ... 13

THINK LOCAL, ACT REGIONAL

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C-Lab




Waves of Mermaid Mutilation C-Lab

Sometimes a fairy tale character takes on a life of its own. Though a fictional construction, the figure assumes such symbolic importance that it is regarded as a subject worthy of public commentary (e.g., former US Vice President Dan Quayle’s denunciation of the TV character Murphy Brown). The physical manifestation of a fictional character can even be the subject of real world violence. A case in point is the statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid in Copenhagen harbor. Her head has been sawed off twice, her arm removed, her hand accessorized with a dildo and she has been used as a prop for many a political statement. Not to be mistaken for little fairies, alternative-rock progenitors The Pixies apparently were aware of these mischievous deeds when writing the song, ‘Wave of Mutilation’. An unreleased version

Image: Ima Imag mag ma m ag a ge: e: flic iick ickr ckr u us user ser er m maggiejp aggi a ag agg gie ejp ej jjp p

recently discovered by C-Lab recounts the history of the violated sea creature.

Wave of Mutilation (Little Mermaid version)

Cease to resist, defacing the mermaid Tossed her head into the ocean You’ll think she’s dead, but she always stays On a wave of mutilation Wave of mutilation Wave of mutilation Wave Wave She’s fixed her gaze, draped in a burka Dildo in hand set to vibration Could find their way to the marina On a wave of mutilation Wave of mutilation Wave of mutilation Wave Wave Wave of mutilation Wave of mutilation Wave of mutilation Wave Wave


Alibi Fall 2009, Issue 3

Isle de San Cristobal de Großt Endemic Species Rare Habitats Underground Farming Seismic Activity’s: Pros and Cons Sink or Swim

A Great Afternoon is Worth the Lie


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Welcome to another edition of ALIBI, the travel guide that enhances your journeys with information about urbanization past and present. In this issue we take you to one of the world’s most remotely populated territories: the Isle de San Cristobal de Groüt. IdSCdG is an extreme example of island living. Although it is rare for a single island to possess nearly all the elements which have enabled island cultures around the world to survive, the practices of island urbanism are more commonplace than one might think. Island urbanism exists in every corner of the planet and collectively constitutes a large area of land. There are over 100,000 islands the largest 150 of which have a landmass equal to Europe. Islands are also home to a significant proportion of the earth’s inhabitants: one in ten humans today is an islander. Thus the story of IdSCdG and all the features that support its natural and built environment in effect provide a condensed overview of the day-to-day existence of island cultures. With climate change and the threat of rising sea levels, islands have become symbolic of a global condition, microcosms that will be the first to experience one possible outcome of our common situation. In November of 2008, Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives, announced his plan to relocate the entire population of the island to another country due to projections that rising sea levels will subsume it this century. His statement prompted a journalist for The New York Times to declare, ‘We are all Maldivians.’1 If islands as universal symbols and test sites have the ability to serve as particular cases of a general phenomenon, then the Isle de San Cristobal de Groüt crystallizes the paradoxes and challenges of every island. C-Lab takes you on a tour of this unusual example of survival against all odds – an island that incorporates every manner of technological and natural miracles. IdSCdG is a small dot of land in the middle of the Indian Ocean midway between Asia, Africa and Australia. No one knows its exact location because an electromagnetic field emanating from its volcanoes disables satellite navigation. But anyone can find it – it is the only piece of land for hundreds of kilometers and ocean currents converge on its shores, drawing ships to its harbor. IdSCdG isn’t really an island at all, but a group of atolls formed over thousands of years by coral sedimentation. The inhabitants have ingeniously pieced together these land outcroppings to form a continuous land mass.2 Even so, its peculiar make up (island made of numerous islands) has allowed the various zones of IdSCdG to evolve independently, preventing any catastrophe from obliterating it in its entirety and creating a series of miniature ecological systems in which cities can coexist with untouched nature. IdSCdG only emerged as a tourist destination when its airport was enlarged and modernized in the 1990s by the ISRO (Indian Space Research


Organization) as an emergency landing site for their space shuttle.3 Its terrestrial isolation made it all the more desirable as a spaceport for interplanetary travel and ISRO quickly expanded its operations. The Grand Duke of IdSCdG shrewdly negotiated for ISRO to finance additional facilities for commercial aircraft which along with its beautiful beaches and tropical forests has made the island an eco-tourism destination.

IdSCdG is home to immense biodiversity including hundreds of species not found elsewhere. Its natural wonders were first chronicled by Jean-Louis Lamarck, a distant relation of the better-known French naturalist and a contemporary of Darwin who advanced his own theory of natural selection based on his observations of IdSCdG’s Pink Swamp-hens.4 Unfortunately, Taiwanese pirates captured Lamarck’s ship on its return voyage and he was killed, leaving his life’s work unrecognized. But the animals he studied remain. Many of IdSCdG’s species are unique to the island, though not, strictly speaking, native. Rather, they were brought there on ships from other small islands, only to become extinct in their native ecosystems. All told, IdSCdG supports 8,000 plant and 600 vertebrate endemic species.5 Nevertheless IdSCdG’s isolation contributes to weaknesses in the gene pool. The impossibility of migration means that any threat to its environment is disastrous for animal populations. Because of this, the island has more extinct species than anywhere else in the world despite its diversity.6 Its civilizations have led an equally precarious existence. A succession of famines, diseases and internecine warfare from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century effectively wiped out the earlier island settlements. All that remains of the first inhabitants are a series of enormous coral monoliths vaguely shaped like ships.7 (Some believe that the monoliths were the remains of an extensive shipbuilding operation in preparation for a mass exodus.) The monoliths serve as a reminder of the fragility of human existence on the island and as such are a popular sight for tourists. The island’s history is thus a succession of discontinuous inhabitation punctuated by social collapse. The island’s modern cities were only established in the 1960s when the island was resettled following French nuclear tests.8 In exchange for use of part of the island, French officials agreed to relocate the IdSCdG’s population – who were then in the midst of a great famine – to Nice and compensate them with land and money. After the dissipation of radioactive fallout the island was resettled and rebuilt in its current form. Many animal species were made extinct by the tests, though some have speculated that the radioactivity might also account for the greater rates of mutation and the emergence of new species in subsequent decades.

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Colophon Volume 20 VOLUME Independent quarterly for architecture to go beyond itself Editor-in-chief Arjen Oosterman Contributing editors Ole Bouman, Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley Issue editor Jeffrey Inaba Managing editor Gavin Browning Editorial consultants Carlos Betancourth, Thomas Daniell, Bart Goldhoorn, Markus Miessen, Kai Vöckler VOLUME is a project by ARCHIS + AMO + C-Lab + … ARCHIS Lilet Breddels, Joos van den Dool, Christian Ernsten, Edwin Gardner, Rory Hyde, Amelia McPhee AMO Reinier de Graaf C-Lab Jeffrey Inaba, Juan Pablo Alcalde, Shumi Bose, Jenna Barclay, Gavin Browning (Studio–X), Benedict Clouette, Day Jimenez, Daniel Koppich, Kate Meagher, Talene Montgomery, Lukas Pauer, Johann Schweig Materialized by Irma Boom and Sonja Haller VOLUME’s protagonists are ARCHIS, magazine for Architecture, City and Visual Culture and its predecessors since 1929. Archis – Publishers, Tools, Interventions – is an experimental think tank devoted to the process of real-time spatial and cultural reflexivity. www.archis.org

AMO, a research and design studio that applies architectural thinking to disciplines beyond the borders of architecture and urbanism. AMO operates in tandem with its companion company the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. www.oma.nl C-Lab, The Columbia Laboratory for Architectural Broadcasting, is an experimental research unit devoted to the development of new forms of communication in architecture, set up as a semiautonomous think and action tank at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia Universit University. www.c-lab.c lumbia.edu www.c-lab.columbia.edu Netherlan s Volume is published by Stichting Archis, The Netherlands and printed by Die Keure, Belgium. English copy editing and translations David Lee, Wendy van Os-Thompson Administrative coordination Valérie Blom, Jessica Braun Editorial office PO Box 14702, 1001 LE Amsterdam, The Netherlands, T: +31 (0)20 320 3926, F: +31 (0)20 320 3927, E: info@archis.org, W : www.archis.org Subscriptions Bruil & Van de Staaij, Postbus 75, 7940 794 AB Meppel, The Netherlands, T: +31 (0)522 261 303, F: +31 (0)522 257 827, E: volume@bruil.info, W: www.bruil.info/volume Subscription rates 4 issues, Euro 75 Netherlands, Euro 91 World, Student subscriptions rates, Euro 60 Netherlands, Euro 73 World, Prices excl. VAT Cancellations policy Cancellation of subscription to be confirmed in writing one month before the end of the subscription period. Subscriptions not cancelled on time will be automatically extended extende for one year. Back issues Back issues of VOLUME and forerunner Archis (NL and E) are available through Bruil & van de Staaij Advertising marketing@archis.org. For rates and details see: www.volumeproject.org, under ‘info’ General distribution Idea Id a Books, Nieuwe Herengracht 11, 1011 HR Amsterdam, The Netherlands, T: +31 (0)20 622 6154, F: +31 (0)20 620 9299, idea@ideabooks.nl IPS Pressevertrieb GmbH, PO Box 1211, 53334 Meckenheim, Germany, T: +49 2225 22 5 8801 0, F: +49 2225 8801 199, E: lstulin@ips-pressevertrieb.de

Contributors Lucia Allais is a Behrman-Cotsen Fellow at the Princeton University Society of Fellows. Erik Carver is an architect in New York. Roger Dean is an English artist and architect. Neil M. Denar is Principal of NMDA and a Professor in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA. Catherine Hardwicke directed the feature films Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown and Twilight. g Twilight g . Todd Hido is a photographer of landscapes and people. Bjarke Ingels is the Principal Architect of BIG. Jiang Jun is Editor of Urban China. Janette Kim is Director of the Urban Landscape Lab at Columbia University GSAPP. Lewis H. Lapham is Editor of Lapham’s Quarterly.. Nicholas Lemann is Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Tom McCarthy is author of Remainder and General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS). Geoff Manaugh is the writer of the architecture blog BLDGBLOG T and THE BLDGBLOG BOOK. Robert McLeman is Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Ottawa. Dave McKean is illustrator of Coraline and The Sandman series of books, among others. John McMorrough is Assistant Professor of Architecture at Ohio State University. Andrew Oswald is Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick. Gonzalo Puga is a designer and photographer in Santiago, Chile. Smiljan Radic is an architect in Santiago, Chile. Jay Rosen is Professor of Journalism at New York University. Christopher A. Scott is Assistant Research Professor of Water Resources Policy at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona. Deane Simpson is an Instructor in the Department of Architecture at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. Stephanie von Stein is the Asia Program Director of Waterkeeper Alliance. Joseph Tainter is Head of the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University. Nato Thompson is a curator and producer at Creative Time. Kazys Varnelis is Director of the Network Architecture Lab at Columbia University GSAPP. Make Believe Research and graphics by Talene Montgomery, Daniel Koppich, Kate Meagher and Day Jimenez. There’s No Place to Roam Research and graphics by Juan Pablo Alcalde and Talene Montgomery. Facing the Crisis Research and graphics by Day Jimenez. oppich. Wish Upon a Star Graphics by Daniel Koppich. The Technostrich/The Technology Narrative Research and graphics by Kate Meagher and Juan Pablo Alcalde. Wave of Mermaid Mutilations Research and graphics by Daniel Koppich. Alibi: Isle de San Cristobal de Groüt Research and graphics by Juan Pablo Alcalde, Day Jimenez, Benedict Clouette and Daniel Koppich. Ostrich Flipbook Research and Graphics by Johann Schweig Warren Special Report designer and contributors on p. 79. Corrections/Additions The colophon o of Volume 19 includes: Emanuela Bonini Lessing teaches and works as freelance in the field of strategic and communication design. She holds a Ph.D. in Design Sciences (Iuav University of Venice). Disclaimer The editors of Volume have been careful to contact all copyright holders of the images used. If you claim ownership of any of the images presented here and have not been properly identified, please contact Volu e and we will be happy to make a formal Volume acknowledgement in a future issue.

ISSN 1574-9401, ISBN 978-90-77966-20-4 Copyright 2009, Stichting Archis

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VOLUME has been made possible with the support of Mondrian Foundation Amsterdam

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