A collaborative reading list

A new academic year is already under way and we are finalising details of this year’s Co.LAB engagement with the taught curriculum and extra-curricular activity at the school. The core live project activities continue with a new set of partners and outcomes. In addition to this, we are expanding our teaching into the MArch postgraduate programme for students who want to undertake a special-study as a unique piece of research contributing to their wider learning of the architectural discipline.
To support the special study module, students receive a presentation and reading list, both of which support many of the ideas and approaches that Co.LAB embrace. Defining our own reading list shows some clear distinctions between conventional architectural practice with the full extent of architectural design and research Co.LAB instigates.
Below is a full range of readers, including texts, articles and reports. They are grouped according to related topics that the Co.LAB initiative seeks to explore and contribute to.
Philip Ursprung’s Introduction: Exhibiting Herzog & de Meuron explores the intrinsic link between the two disciplines with a perennial dilemma on where exactly their work sits between them. Whilst they dabbled in art practice in their early years, they now see art as something to reflect their architecture against and are “in favour of the autonomy of different genres”. They refuse to discuss their work as artistic, rather that it is more a natural part of the architectural process.
Further reading on the architecture-art link:
  • Boomgaard, Jeroen. 5 Shots of Culture (chapter)  OASE #73, Gentrification. Nai Publishers
  • Ursprung, Phillip ed. (2005) Natural Histories Lars Muller Publishing: Zurich
  • Ikon Gallery. (2006) Out of Here: Collaborations, Beyond the Gallery Birmingham: Ikon Gallery 
Part of our initiative’s aim is to enhance a creative network of designers, thinkers and doers across the region. If we treat networks as a series of nodes and the relations between them, we consider these relations are interactions between disciplines, individuals and organisations. Networks are essential in achieving success in a complex reality. It can also bring innovation and creativity to a place. Bert Mulder, Information Advisor to the Dutch Parilament, defines a creative city as one with a heterarchical network; a network with distributed power, flexible structure and shared vision. One of our challenges is to understand how this type of network functions, and how we can contribute to it.
Further reading on networked cultures:
  • Verwijnen, Jan. The Creative City’s New Field Condition (chapter), ed. Verwijnen, Jan & Lehtovouri, Panu (1999) Creative Cities. UIAH Press, Helsinki
  • Mulder, Bert. The Creative City or Redesigning Society (chapter), ed. Verwijnen, Jan & Lehtovouri, Panu (1999) Creative Cities. UIAH Press, Helsinki
  • Downie, Marc. Shelley Eshkar & Kaiser, Paul. (2012) Creative Collaborations report, Helsinki Design Lab http://www.helsinkidesignlab.org/pages/creative-collaborations [last accessed 16 Sept 2014]
Whilst this heading may have overlaps with the previous sections, the distinguishing feature of ‘collaborative practice’ is the influential process where creativity and innovation in design is achieved through participation and exchange. These two qualities are intrinsic in achieving new work and new thinking – pushing disciplinary boundaries in both studio and academic settings.
Further reading on collaborative practice:
  • Coles, Alex. (2012) The Transdisciplinary Studio. Sternberg Press: Berlin 
  • Damiani, Roberto. Colin Rowe in the Design Studio (chapter). San Rocco: Collaborations. Issue 6, Spring 2013
  • Jones, Peter Blundell. Sixty-eight and After (chapter) , eds. Jones, Peter Blundell. & Petrescu, Doina & Till, Jeremy (2005) Architecture & Participation. Spon Press, New York
  • Klar, A. (2007) Surreal People: Surrealism and Collaboration. London: V&A 
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