Open call for International Workshop, July 9-19 2013, New York City
coordination: Kris W. B. Scheerlinck, Ph.D.,
@Pratt Institute, New York City: linked to the Gowanus Summer Institute for Recovery and Resiliency
organisation: Streetscape Territories, Sint-Lucas School of Architecture, LUCA School of Arts, campus Brussels/Ghent

gowanus big(Brooklyn, New York, with the Gowanus Canal and Harbor area at the center and right bottom side of the picture)

Gowanus Canal and Harbor area, New York City

The Gowanus Canal and Harbor area has been an active center of industrial and shipping activity since the 1860s in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is zoned for manufacturing and surrounded by various residential neighborhoods and some commercial activities and cut into several parts by metro and expressway infrastructures. During the last decades, new projects emerged, as a result of individual as well as collective initiatives, related to social or creative projects, next to the original activities in the neighborhood. This happened at a rather small scale, contrasting with big scale infrastructures and related activities. Recently, residential developers have been hindered by the industrial zoning and the problems of the sewage overflow through the canal water, but there have been rumors of rezoning by the New York City Department of City Planning.
A few months ago, superstorm Sandy destroyed or flooded many buildings, streets and public spaces, presenting a new challenge for this neighborhood in full transformation. This unfortunate event however might present an opportunity for the area, the borough and the city, to reorient its future in a (real) sustainable way: to explore alternative scenarios for possible hard-core (corporate) waterfront promotions, for too predictable “domestication by cappucino” (Zukin, 1995) policies or waterproof please-all development scenarios that might only guarantee flat and meaningless environments for people to appropriate. A scenario that maintains the area  as a whole “productive” might be a way out…
One could wonder: instead of only representing the real thing, could these neighborhoods be (or stay) the real thing?
This area is the selected site for an architectural or urban mapping and intervention, that deal with this existing environment as a given, taking in account social, cultural, morphological, economic, climatological and technological conditions. Local inhabitants and representatives of local organizations or institutions, as well as a series of local professors of the Pratt Institute will engage in the consult and final development of this workshop that will be related to the Summer Institute for Recovery and Resiliency (Pratt Institute).

gowanus canal(Brooklyn, New York, Gowanus Canal area)

Workshop theme

This particular workshop focuses on models of proximity in the Gowanus Canal area, and more specifically on the part of the Gowanus Harbor: how are the surrounding streetscapes related to the canal? Which are the “sets of relative distances” (De Solà-Morales, 1997) between different buildings, between buildings and infrastructure, between residential areas and manufacturing or warehouse areas? What could be the “critical distance” (Hall, 1966) between big scale infrastructures and housing or industry and housing? How does the planning regulation deal with setbacks and how is this related to social control or economic productivity? Can we detect spaces of territorial integration in this area or do more scenarios of “sequential gaps” (Scheerlinck, 2010) occur? How can the mapping of territorial boundaries as part of the collective space help to “reconfigure depth” (Scheerlinck, 2010) at a bigger scale? How can neighbors or property owners be actively involved in the “collective structure” of the neighborhood? Can a system of collective spaces guarantee a productive and active neighborhood?

800px-Gowanus_Canal_turn_jeh(Brooklyn, New York, Gowanus Harbor area)

(all activities in groups of 3-4 students, totally 25 students)
a studio space @ Pratt Institute will be exclusively used for this international workshop

on site, day one: meeting and introduction, input sessions, site mapping
on site, day two: interviews, site mapping
on site, day three: interviews, site mapping

@Pratt: day four: presentation of group work and start proposal of new model of proximity
@Pratt: day five: development of proposal of new model of proximity
@Pratt: day six: development of proposal of new model of proximity
@Pratt: day seven: desk crit, development of proposal of new model of proximity
@Pratt: day eight: development of proposal of new model of proximity
@Pratt: day nine: development and preparation presentation

@Pratt: day ten: final presentations and conclusions


– call for participation: January 28, 2013
– deadline for submitting motivation letter*: February 20, 2013
– notification of acceptance: March 1, 2013

– eligible for participation are all (International) Master students in Programs of Architecture, Urban Design or Urban Planning, as well as recently graduated Architects, Urban Designers or Urban Planners (graduated in between 2011 and 2013)

– participation of students enrolled in Programs at Sint-Lucas School of Architecture is without charge, a selection will be made of max 25 students, based on motivation letter*
(final acceptance of participation will be given after sending paid travel plans before April 15, 2013)

– participation of students not enrolled in Programs at Sint-Lucas School of Architecture is at charge of 160.00EUR, to be paid via international bank transfer on the school’s account before April 15, 2013 (details will be given after acceptance)
(the maximum amount of non-Sint-Lucas students is 10 participants)

– *submission of a motivation letter, max.500 words, in English, included max. 3 images 150 dpi, adding short cv of max.200 words, all  in one pdf file to be sent to kris.scheerlinck@luca-arts.be

– if wanted, cheap accommodation can be available for participants (dorms), to be paid by participants: 10 nights room (double occupancy): 227EUR (310.00$) per person for 10 days, plus optional linen packet @ $15 per person per week, please let us know if you are interested in this accommodation, availability is limited

– all participants book and pay the needed travel and accommodation costs and agree to be present on July 9, 2013 on the previously communicated meeting point (late arrivals or early leave will not be accepted)

– all participants are personally responsible to obtain all legal documents and permits to travel and stay in USA, Sint-Lucas School of Architecture does not have responsibility in this matter

– all participants arrange travel modes and insurances individually for the whole stay, Sint-Lucas School of Architecture does not have responsibility in this matter

– after completion, all participants will receive an official  certificate of participation at the International Workshop, no study credits can be granted for participation

for more information: email to kris.scheerlinck@luca-arts.be

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