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New Investigations in Collective Form


This book is available for pre-order, to pick up at our event on April 26th, or for shipment on April 27th. Orders must be placed before April 26th.

New Investigations in Collective Form presents a group of design experiments by the design-research office The Open Workshop, that test how architecture can empower the diverse voices that make up the public realm and the environments in which they exist. Today, society continues to face urban challenges—from economic inequality to a progressively fragile natural environment—that, in order to be addressed, require us to come together in a moment when what we collectively value is increasingly difficult to locate. Organized into five themes for producing collectivity—Frameworks, Articulated Surfaces, the Living Archive, Re-Wiring States, and Commoning—the projects straddle the fine line between the individual and collective, informal and formal, choice and control, impermanent and permanent.

The Open Workshop is an architectural urbanism practice that focuses on the relationship between form and territory. Specifically, the firm is interested in the agency of form to impact political, economic, and ecological systems. Using a transcalar approach to design research, the office straddles a complex line between permanence and ephemerality, control and choice, legibility and illegibility, the individual and the collective, determinacy and indeterminacy, the figure and the field. The office name, The Open Workshop, is a reference to Umberto Eco’s 1962 treatise The Open Work. The office is dedicated to evolving Eco’s concept into architecture by expanding the subject to include the pluralistic public realm and transforming environmental context. Select distinctions include an honorable mention for The Architect’s Newspaper Young Architects Award (2018), the Architectural League Young Architects Prize (2016), as well as the Emerging Leaders Award from Design Intelligence (2016).

Neeraj Bhatia is a licensed architect and urban designer from Toronto, and the founder of The Open Workshop. His work resides at the intersection of politics, infrastructure, and urbanism. He is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts, where he also codirects the urbanism research lab The Urban Works Agency. Bhatia has also held teaching positions at UC Berkeley, Cornell University, Rice University, and the University of Toronto. He is the coeditor of the books Bracket [Takes Action]The Petropolis of Tomorrow, Bracket [Goes Soft], and Arium: Weather + Architecture, and coauthor of Pamphlet Architecture 30: Coupling—Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism.

With Contributions of

Pier Vittorio Aureli
Neeraj Bhatia
Peggy Deamer
Clare Lyster
Keith Krumwiede
Jenny Odell
Albert Pope
Rafi Segal
Charles Waldheim

Book info: 

New Investigations in Collective Form

Neeraj Bhatia/ The Open Workshop

Actar Publishers & CCA Architecture Books

192 pages, hardcover

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