Territory & Form
The majority of architecture and urban design of the twentieth century aimed to tame the contradictory, heterogeneous, and contingent urban environment, both physically as well as socio-politically. Instead, this lecture will present a series of projects that attempt to reconcile and empower the role of architecture within the transforming, evolving, fluctuating, and indeterminate conditions of the city, it’s public sphere, and it’s ecological context through re-evaluating Umberto Eco’s concept of The Open Work. The Open Work straddles the fine line between the individual and collective, informal and formal, choice and control, impermanent and permanent. Through a series of design projects at a variety of scales, the lecture will examine how the human and environmental subject and their individual, transforming, ephemeral, and often contradictory characteristics can continuously recompose a permanent work. Design is not lost in this equation but rather re-centred on orchestrating the negotiation between indeterminate subjects and determined form through techniques such as frameworks, living archives, articulated surfaces, commoning and rewiring states. Positioning the agency of the designer as a choreographer, the lecture will articulate a way for architectural form to act on the territory.
About Neeraj Bhatia
Neeraj Bhatia is a licensed architect and urban designer from Toronto, Canada. His work resides at the intersection of politics, infrastructure, and urbanism. He is an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts where he also co-directs the urbanism research lab, The Urban Works Agency. Prior to CCA, Bhatia held teaching positions at Cornell University, Rice University, and the University of Toronto. Neeraj is founder of The Open Workshop, a transcalar design-research office examining the negotiation between architecture and its territorial environment. In 2016, The Open Workshop was awarded the Architectural League Young Architects Prize. Select other distinctions include the Emerging Leaders Award from Design Intelligence, Graham Foundation Grants, The Lawrence B. Anderson Award, Shell Center for Sustainability Grant, Odebrecht first-prize Award for Sustainability, ACSA Faculty Design Award, ACSA Housing Education Award, and the Fulbright Fellowship. He is co-editor of books Bracket [Takes Action], The Petropolis of Tomorrow, Bracket [Goes Soft], Arium: Weather + Architecture, and co-author of Pamphlet Architecture 30: Coupling — Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism. Neeraj has a Master degree in Architecture and Urbanism from MIT and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Waterloo.