Extreme Cities Laboratory Launch at Studio-X NYC, 10 May 6.30

Please join us for the public launch of GSAPP's Extreme Cities Laboratory at Studio-X NYC (180 Varick St, 16th floor) on Friday, May 10th at 6:30pm.

Our initial event will focus on "Building Megalopolis," an interactive architectural timeline that has been installed at Studio-X looking at the last fifty years of thinking in architecture, planning, and cities in the BOSWASH megalopolis and a research tool for rethinking the relationship between architecture, planning, history, and the megalopolitan scale.
There will be a panel discussion with Jeffrey Inaba, David King, Kazys Varnelis, Benedict Clouette, Leigha Dennis, Neil Donnelly, and James Graham, and a celebration of the student and faculty research over the past two semesters that has set the agenda for the continued work of the Extreme Cities Project.

The Extreme Cities project starts from our observation that the “future” has often been focused on the near term. As data sets get bigger and analytical tools more sophisticated, temporal horizons for analysis and planning seem to be getting narrower. As investors make profits in trades measured in milliseconds and politicians react to micro-adjustments in opinions of constituents, long-term thinking gives way to increasingly short term fluctuations. The future collapses into the present. Too many of our disciplines and industries have lost the ability to think beyond the current cycle, or even beyond the latest phase of a cycle. But the key questions facing us, the shared questions, require us to go beyond contemporary paradigms.

Instead of seeking to maximize advantage in the present-tense environment of our own lives, we intend to think instead about our legacy: the future of our grandchildren, inscribed in the forms and processes of urbanity. Extreme Cities suggests a new leadership model in which we set out to investigate the cities of a half-century from now instead of simply projecting the concerns of our current timeframe into the future. We identify the key urban strengths of cities to imagine what they could be in fifty years. Rather than reactive, ours is a proactive model, seeking to maximize these assets. The Extreme Cities project engages with thought leaders in industry, business, university, government, and culture to identify these key drivers and to explore the consequences of maximizing them in the future.

In the first year of the Columbia Extreme Cities Project, we have initially identified five key strengths of cities to investigate and take to the extreme. We treat these as principles of urban aggregation, the catalysts through which cities originate and evolve, and together they help illustrate what makes the city such a remarkable human creation. These urban drivers of evolution in thought, culture, economy, and technology can be found throughout the history of cities but the forms they will take in the coming fifty years will be far more radical than the simple amplification of the present trends in urbanization. 

Peepers, Flashers, and Other Law Breakers

The Netlab explores architecture, networks, privacy, voyeurism, and exposure on Monday, February 11, 2013 6:30pm in Columbia University's Wood Auditorium.

Since the Enlightenment, both architecture and the law have provided parallel and often complimentary definitions of the public and private. Under network culture, however, walls have a new permeability and laws have a new instability. Amidst all this, our own perception of what constitutes private life is changing with our use of online social networks.
Leaders in architecture, digital media, and the law take on this rapidly changing landscape in a wide-ranging conversation on privacy, self-exposure, and space.
Beatriz Colomina,  Princeton University SOA
Eric Höweler, Höweler + Yoon Architecture
Helen Nissenbaum, NYU Information Law Institute
Mark Shepard, University of Buffalo
Kazys Varnelis, Columbia University GSAPP
Organized by the Network Architecture Lab.

Pedro Gadanho Discusses Politics November 8 2012 at STudio-X


Netlab Director Kazys Varnelis will be discussing architecture and politics with Pedro Gadanho, curator of contemporary architecture at New York's Museum of Modern Art on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at Studio-X. 

Just after Hurricane Sandy, the U. S. presidential election and in the wake of Gadanho's first show at MoMA, "9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design," the discussion will address the discipline's recent over-identification with dominant political regimes, the possibilities for new movements in politics (for example, Occupy NY) and architecture (such as architecture fiction) and the impact of extreme weather on politics and architecture. 

Coming to MoMA from Lisbon, architect, curator and writer Pedro Gadanho holds a masters in Architecture from the University of Oporto, a masters in Art and Architecture from Kent Institute of Design in the UK, and a Ph.D. in Architecture and Mass Media from the University of Oporto, where he has was also a professor of Architecture.

He is the editor-in-chief of Beyond, Short Stories of the Post-Contemporary and was the curator of international shows such as Space Invaders, for the British Council, London, and Pancho Guedes, An Alternative Modernist, for the Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel. He is the author of Arquitectura em Pœblico (Dafne, 2011), and the co-organizer of the 1st International Conference on Architecture and Fiction: Once Upon a Place. He maintains a blog at Shrapnel Contemporary.

Studio-X is located at suite 1610, 180 Varick St, New York, NY.

The event begins at 6.30.

Situated Technologies: Beneath and Beyond Big Data

Celebrate the publication of the final pamphlet in the Situated Technologies Pamphlets Series, “Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects,” by Helen Nissenbaum and Netlab Director Kazys Varnelis on April 28 with "Beneath and Beyond Big Data." 

Situated Technologies: Beneath and Beyond Big Data

A symposium with David Benjamin, Usman Haque, Natalie Jeremijenko, Omar Khan, Laura Kurgan, Helen Nissenbaum, Trebor Scholz, Mark Shepard, Anthony Townsend, and Kazys Varnelis

Saturday, April 28, 2012
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Rose Auditorium, The Cooper Union
41 Cooper Square
3 AIA and New York State CEUs

This symposium brings together contributors to the Situated Technologies Project throughout its first six years to address current issues surrounding situated technologies and the increasing entanglement of data, technology, and the built environment, and attempt to identify future trajectories for their evolution. 

The day will begin with a conversation between pamphlet authors Helen Nissenbaum and Kazys Varnelis, moderated by Trebor Scholz, addressing the redefinition of privacy in the age of big data and the networked, geo-spatial environment, and questioning the implications for the construction of contemporary subjectivity. Usman HaqueNatalie JeremijenkoMark Shepard, and Anthony Townsend will then present a series of case studies on open data and the process of making data public, focusing on distributed sensing initiatives and contrasting them with centralized programs managed by government agencies. Finally, David BenjaminOmar Khan, and Laura Kurgan will identify the challenges of developing data literacy among the next generation of architects, addressing these issues through an expanded architectural curriculum for the 21st century.

Tickets are free for League members and students with a current ID; $20 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: Non-members may purchase tickets here. Purchased tickets are available for pick-up at the venue check-in desk and are non-refundable.

AIA and New York State Continuing Education Credits will be available.

About the Situated Technologies Project

The Situated Technologies Project, co-organized by Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz, and Mark Shepard in partnership with the Architectural League, explores the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism: How is our experience of the city and the choices we make in it affected by mobile communications, pervasive media, ambient informatics, and other “situated” technologies? How will the ability to design increasingly responsive environments alter the way architects conceive of space? What do architects need to know about urban computing and what do technologists need to know about cities? The project began with a 3-day symposium in fall 2006 and continued with the publication of the Situated Technologies Pamphlets, a nine-part series of conversations between leading practitioners and researchers from architecture, art, technology, sociology, and related fields. In fall 2009, Toward the Sentient City, an exhibition curated by Mark Shepard and organized by the League, presented five newly commissioned installations and projects that explored the evolving relationship between ubiquitous computing, architecture, and the city. A book based on the exhibition is available from MIT Press.

Architecture and Situated Technologies Symposium–Podcasts

Situated Technologies Pamphlets

Toward the Sentient City

Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space

For more information, visit

About the Speakers
David Benjamin
 is an architect and a principal of The Living. He teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation where, with Soo-In Yang, he is co-director of the Living Architecture Lab. The Living received a New York Prize Fellowship from the Van Alen Institute and was a winner of the Architectural League’s Young Architects Forum. The Living’s project with Natalie Jeremijenko, “Amphibious Architecture,” was one of five commissioned projects for the Architectural League exhibition, Toward the Sentient City.

Usman Haque is the director of Haque Design + Research Ltd, which specializes in the design and research of interactive architecture systems. He is also founder of and CEO of Connected Environments Ltd. His project, “Natural Fuse,” was one of five commissioned for the Architectural League exhibition, Toward the Sentient City.

Natalie Jeremijenko directs the xdesign Environmental Health Clinic at New York University. Previously she was on the Visual Arts faculty at UCSD and the Faculty of Engineering at Yale. Her project with The Living, “Amphibious Architecture,” was one of five commissioned for the Architectural League exhibition, Toward the Sentient City.

Omar Khan is an architect and Chair of Architecture at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, where he is also Director of the Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies. Khan is a co-organizer of the Situated Technologies Project and co-author, with Philip Beesley, of “Situated Technologies Pamphlet 4: Responsive Architecture/Performing Instruments.”

Laura Kurgan is Associate Professor of Architecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, where she is Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Director of Visual Studies. Her recent research includes a multi-year SIDL project on “million-dollar blocks” and the urban costs of the American incarceration experiment, and a collaborative exhibition on global migration and climate change.

Helen Nissenbaum is Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, and Computer Science, at New York University, where she is also Senior Faculty Fellow of the Information Law Institute. Her book Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life accounts for privacy threats posed by IT and digital medial systems in terms of the theory of contextual integrity. She is co-author, with Kazys Varnelis, of Situated Technologies Pamphlet 9: Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects.

Trebor Scholz is a scholar, artist, organizer, and chair of the conference series The Politics of Digital Culture at The New School, where he also teaches in the Department of Culture and Media Studies. Scholz is co-organizer of the Situated Technologies Project and is co-author, with Laura Y. Liu, of Situated Technologies Pamphlet 7: From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City.

Mark Shepard is an artist, architect, and researcher whose post-disciplinary practice addresses new social spaces and signifying structures of contemporary network cultures. Shepard is co-organizer of the Situated Technologies Project and is co-author, with Adam Greenfield, of Situated Technologies Pamphlet 1: Urban Computing and Its Discontents. He was also curator of the exhibition Toward the Sentient City.

Anthony Townsend is Research Director at the Institute for the Future, where his research focus is on the impact of new technology on cities and public institutions, and the role of technology in economic development. Anthony was named one of Planetizen’s “Leading Thinkers in Urban Planning & Technology” and “Top 100 Thinkers” tracking the Internet of things by Postscapes. His project, “Breakout,” was one of five commissioned for the Architectural League exhibition Toward the Sentient City.

Kazys Varnelis is the Director of the Network Architecture Lab at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He is editor of books includingNetworked Publics (MIT Press, 2008), The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles(Actar, 2009), and The Philip Johnson Tapes (The Monacelli Press, 2008). He is co-author, with Helen Nissenbaum, of Situated Technologies Pamphlet 9: Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects.

Driving in the Smart City

Netlab director Kazys Varnelis recently spoke at the "Driving in the Smart City" session of the Smart City Expo in Barcelona to address issues of complexity and technology. You can watch a video of his talk at Vimeo

A Manifesto for Looseness from Kazys Varnelis on Vimeo.

The Smart City in Barcelona

Netlab Director Kazys Varnelis will be speaking at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona on December 2 in a session on "Driving in the Smart City." Other speakers are Federico Casalegno, MIT, Richard Varos Jr of IBM, and Ashwin Manesh of Mapunity—Bangalore.

Complexity in Valparaiso

Netlab Director Kazys Varnelis spoke about the threat that technological and economic complexity pose at the International Geographical Union’s Megacity Task Force and the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María's Architecture Department's Megaciudades conference in Valparaiso, Chile on November 11. 

Varnelis was interviewed about his talk by both the online journal Gravidad and the educational journal Noticias

On Network Culture in the Straddler

Netlab Director Kazys Varnelis speaks about economics, cities, complexity, economics and network culture in the cover story of the online journal the Straddler.  

Irish Architecture Now

Netlab Director Kazys Varnelis will be a responder to Irish Architecture Now, a panel featuring architects Merritt Bucholz and Karen McEvoy, Niall McCullough, and Shih-Fu Peng at the Rose Auditorium, The Cooper Union, September 26, 2011 at 6.30pm in New York City.


Architects from three leading contemporary Irish practices will present their work and discuss issues concerning Irish architecture as part of Irish Architecture Now—Ireland’s first ever architectural showcase in the U.S., which is part of Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland’s year of Irish arts in America in 2011.
Merritt Bucholz and Karen McEvoy of Bucholz McEvoy Architects; Niall McCullough of McCullough Mulvin Architects; and Shih-Fu Peng of heneghan peng architects, are three of six firms touring the U.S. this autumn. The architects will discuss their practices and recent work in this symposium held at The Cooper Union and presented by the Architectural League. Raymund Ryan, Curator at the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA curated the group and will provide the introduction.
Tickets are required for admission to League programs. Tickets are free for League members; $15 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by emailing: Member tickets will be held at the check-in desk; unclaimed tickets will be released fifteen minutes after the start of the program. Non-members may purchase tickets here.
More at the League's Web Site or follow along with the Irish Architecture Now blog.

Advancing Architectural Research in Vilnius

Netlab Director Kazys Varnelis spoke on the work of the Netlab and the Columbia Studio-X global initiative in "Advancing Architectural Research" at Architekturos [Pokalbiu] Fondas on May 19. You can watch the talk (largely in English) below. 

KAZYS VARNELIS from ARCHfondas on Vimeo.