Collective Paper Aesthetics How Can We Make Places People Truly Love?

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©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Alexander Weinstein, Moscow 2015.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Alexander Weinstein, Moscow 2015.

According to the Tower of Babel as told in the book of genesis, at the beginning of humanity all people were speaking one tongue and worked together towards a common goal.  Seeing this, God confused their language and scattered them all over the world.

 

How can we make places people truly love?

The design of Spaceship HEART for 2011 Shenzhen-Hong Kong Urbanism\ Architecture Bi-City Biennale, Curated by Terence Riley was a play proposal following The Jerde Partnership’s slogan “Making Places People Love” [1]. Four years of practicing architecture and urban planning in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, working on large scale projects all over the world made me think and re-think the Jerde partnership slogan. How can we make places people love? What are the qualities of these places? Are they measurable?

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, Shenzhen 2011.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, Shenzhen 2011.

Biographical background

When I was nine years old my family moved to a “self-made” village in the lower galilee named Timrat [2]. For my parents, born in Israel in the 40’s and shaped ideologically in the 60’s it was a dream comes true. Together with a group of 220 families, they apply in 1981 for a permit to build a new village categorized as “communal – rural locality”. For the next four years they were busy with planning and designing the regulations and the physical characteristic of the future village. With the years the regulations have changed and the village population was doubled, yet all the decisions are still taking in a format of members meetings and upon all members’ votes.

Thirty years later, in my graduation thesis at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam titled “Vertical Kibbutz” [3] I was examining the translation of the communal – rural collective principles into now-days mixed-use urban prototype. The search for a structural model which can match the self-governing quality as well as the character of growth and reduction in time, lead to the work of Buckminster Fuller and focused on the “octet truss” patent and the “world game” idea.

In 2008, four years after my graduation I have been asked by London Architecture Festival to present my graduation work in a format of Installation art. Together with fablab team in Den Haag, we came up with a model of interlocking paper cubes, which with visitors can co-create their own visionary models of places. Following the success of the presentation, the cultural entrepreneurship Collective Paper Aesthetics was established in January 2009.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Monica De Pascalis, Madrid 2012.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Monica De Pascalis, Madrid 2012.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Monica De Pascalis, Madrid 2012.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Monica De Pascalis, Madrid 2012.

 

Collective Paper Aesthetics

Collective Paper Aesthetics is a physical modeling tool to communicate in a playful manner complex systems. The principle tool is a paper lattice, to be folded into three-dimensional polyhedral packs. The pack is closing with paper joints, which are integrated, as the instructions, in the lattice itself. The single packages can be connect one to another using the same joints; on each “vector” two paper joints are positioned one is to close the package itself and the other to connect package to package. The polyhedral packs can be assembled in multiple different directions, generating varied three dimensional patterns.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Kobi 'Kobtze' Donner, Haifa 2014.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Kobi ‘Kobtze’ Donner, Haifa 2014.

 

Tools for thoughts versus complete solutions

One can look at urban planning and architecture as livable experiment; when we make a design, even if many steps are planned in the way to avoid mistakes and errors, only realization and time can tell if a project is a success or not. Many of the complete “solutions” for living, designed in the 60’s and 70’s  imposing polyhedral geometry as a key for sense of community were actually not well received by the market. While, participatory planning in terms of shaping the rules and regulations of a physical place is a popular tool among architects and planners.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Wendy Pratama, Jakarta 2015.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Wendy Pratama, Jakarta 2015.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Wendy Pratama, Jakarta 2015.

©Collective Paper Aesthetics, photographer Wendy Pratama, Jakarta 2015.

In that sense, Collective Paper Aesthetics is a tool to provoke thoughts about architecture and planning and not a proposal for a physical solution. As an architect, the project is taking the position of a mediator between governments to public in order to have a profound understanding about how can we make places people truly love.

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Footnotes:

[1] Jon Adams Jerde, was an American architect based in Venice, California,. He was the founder and chairman of The Jerde Partnership, an architectural design and urban planning firm specializing in the design of shopping malls.

[2] Timrat was established on the land of a Palestinianvillage named Ma’alul.

[3] Collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture.

Noa Haim
Noa Haim (Jerusalem, 1975) master of architecture, designer, journalist and contributing editor based in Rotterdam, Nederland where she graduated from The Berlage Institute (2004). Following a presentation of her graduation work in a form of participatory activity within London Festival of Architecture 2008, she established her design studio Collective Paper Aesthetics. In collaboration with museums, science centres, cultural and educational organizations the studio is developing educational toys, hands-on furnishing and participatory pop-up spaces with the motto – everyone can play a designer!