Mobility Immobility

Architecture
in the
Information
Age

The information age is increasingly the focus of the¬†architectural scene throughout Europe at symposia such as ‘Media Space’ in Stuttgart (Oct. 2001) or at other conferences whose titles seem to reduce the tendencies to the lowest common denominator. Thus, the a2b conference seemed to owe its subtle simplicity to this simple simplicity: Architecture to Business, Art to Business, in any case in association with B2B, Business to Business, pointing to the direct path from a to b.

article
Francesca Ferguson

@ entourage
January 2002

As the first event of a series of 5 planned architectural symposia under the a2b umbrella, the ‘Mobility-Immobility’ opened the door to a wide field. The conference is an initiative of architect Jacques Herzog. This year’s exhibition “We are building the future for you” was presented by the prominent lecturers as designers of the future.

International luminaries of architecture in real space like Toyo Ito were placed alongside pioneers of virtual architecture: Marcos Novak, Peter Anders or Hani Rashid. A large part of the conference dealt with the conceptual definition of the future. Thus, Elizabeth Sikiaridi explained the term ‘idensity’, which has already been protected by her, which describes the density of media and urban networks and the fusion of virtual and real spaces.

In this context, slogans such as ‘hybrid spaces’ and ‘soft urbanism’ also fell. Certainly, in a time of decentralized communication and the disappearance of concrete places of exchange, there is a need to understand this new reality linguistically.

According to the futurological statements by William J. Mitchell, Cyberspace theorists at MIT, bank branches and libraries, as places of concrete exchange, will increasingly shape our urban spaces. As a result, more experimental architects and urbanists are increasingly concerned with invisible urbanism. Peter Trummer has investigated the communication and transportation systems of the Australian hinterland, and the Flying Doctors as a part of the network structure of the Outback as an urban phenomenon.

To make the invisible visible, this seems to be one of the decisive tendencies of architects in an era of ‘network cities’. However, Hani Rashid of Asymptote Architecture pointed out the psychological consequences of real events. September 11 and the WTC’s debris make it increasingly difficult to perceive the complex forms of virtual architectures. The visualizations of complex processes and experiments by Marcos Novak, the author of the term ‘transarchitecture’, had such a strong resemblance to the burned, traumatizing remnants of the two WTC Tower that a disassociation from the viewer seemed hardly possible.

Clearly, the way Toyo Ito walks in the real space was much clearer. A library in Japan designed by this pioneer of lightness proves the possibility of a harmonious connection between technology and nature. The glass enclosure lets you look over completely open floors; The props of the building conceal technology, elevators and ventilation shafts, and were designed as waving grasses.

Lightweight, elegantly frozen mobility.