ARCHIPELAGO- TOWN. A sustainable model for urban growth


Archipelago Town-lines: an app proposing a new urban growth model gleaned from an architect’s traveling notes


Three "archipelago-towns"—Berlin, Beirut, Venice—reveal their hidden urban geometry, their rites and culture, and the possible future of urban growth and de-growth.
A work by conrad-bercah, architect.

Between 2009 and 2011 the state-less architect conrad-bercah lived in three different symbolic cities—Berlin, Beirut, Venice—analyzing and studying their less evident urban and social qualities.

‘Juxtaposing the hidden DNAs of these conglomerations,’ states conrad-bercah, ‘I have attempted to design a new theory to address both urban growth and de-growth. The theory is based on the figure of the archipelago, which, like Rome for Goethe, Paris for Walter Benjamin, or Venice for Ruskin, becomes a place-non-place in which the geometric lines of a truly sustainable—or possible—urban life may be perceived.’

‘The difference between tourist and traveler,’ wrote Paul Bowles in the Sheltering Sky, ‘is that the former accepts his own civilization without question, while the latter compares it with the others, and rejects those elements he finds not to his liking.’

Archipelago Town-lines is the result of a similar mind frame. conrad-bercah’s traveling notes (videos, interviews, interactive maps, diagrams, surveys) design a new urban geography that allows the ‘reader’ the freedom to create their own temporal and cultural connections traveling between the past and future of their own cities. This approach is reflected in the app’s last section, in which a growing number of video reviews by prominent architects, urban designers, journalists, historians, teachers, and cultural commentators suggest different readings and imaginary paths stimulated by Archipelago Town-lines.

Archipelago Town-lines has been released in English as an app for the ipad. It will be available for Amazon Kindle Fire and all tablets operating on an Android platform in 2014.

This lecture is part of the CAU fall lecture series, full list available here