“Volume” Magazine #35: Is This Not a Pipe?

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Publisher: Archis [Amsterdam, November 2013 | 160 pages (color)]

Editor/Contributing Editors: Jeffrey Inaba (C-Lab), Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley and Ole Bouman.

Design: Irma Boom

Guests: Mark Wigley, Bjarke Ingels, Christian Kerez, Andrès Jaque, MOS, Juan Herreros, Philippe Rahm, Kiel Moe, David Gissen, An Te Lui, Phil Bernstein, Filip Tejchman, John Hejduk and James Stamp, Matthias Schuler, Neil Denari, , Tom Wiscombe, Mahadev Raman, Florian Idenburg and Lothar Schwedt.

Responsabilities: Research, graphic edition, review, cover concept (proposals)

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“Architecture relies on machines. They make the structures of our cities liveable.”

Life in buildings is supported by pipes. Ducts, conduits, water mains, and cables support biological and social life in spaces that are today held together by air-conditioning, electricity, and telecommunications as much as by form and materials. But while pipes and the machines they connect are part of buildings, they are often left out of architecture.

It’s fascinating to see how architects dealt with pipes in history and what challenges they face today. How did Mies van der Rohe solve this issue, what was Norman Foster’s approach and what does someone like Bjarke Ingels have to say on this? They’ve come up with all sort of strategies, from deceitfully transparent buildings seemingly without any mechanical installation, to faux ‘oil refineries’ showcasing the machinery that makes the mechanism tick. The latest strategy is trying to do away with installations altogether and make the building itself perform without mechanical support: smart ‘downgrading’.


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