Posted by: lholm | May 30, 2008

Guerilla Gardeners

Here’s an interesting idea for a summer project. The guerilla gardening movement identifies uncared for public land in London and plants flowers in it. Its about who has a claim on council owned land, and raises issues of squatting, direct action, non-conforming forms of engagement with the public realm, and the like. What they do is really a form of Bansky project, isn’t it, except with flowers, not paint.

Check out There is also a short film on the Guardian website.

Posted by: lholm | May 28, 2008

Introduction: Lorens Holm

I shall, for the moment, simply introduce myself by posting the two photographs of St. Louis that headed up the course document, the contents of which seems to have been already posted by Ian. These are my photographs, about 20 years old. Part of an effort to get to grips with the signs and characteristics of a particular mid-western form of urbanism.

Posted by: cjbrander | May 28, 2008


I have ordered some books to take with me to Nepal for the summer. I leave on Tuesday and will be back working on this the 11th of August. Marc Auge, non-places: introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity particularly interests me and might give me a direction for my project. His idea of Non-space as supermarkets, hotels, cinemas, tv.etc this is also very similar to Rem’s notion of ‘Junkspace’ i think.

i want to look at the idea of a blank canvas in a 3rd world country and start a town or city a fresh. the idea of building a concept of a town or city around Auge’s concept of ‘Space’ without the non-spaces. A pure functional space series of spaces. Then maybe non-space can come from it later. followed by another wave of ‘space’ once growth is required. Lots of various studys i could do and ideas i have.

Anyway i guess the main bit of help i was looking for now was wether anyone has any ideas if my summer project should be a unused space in Nepal or India or Aberdeen/Dundee in the three weeks at the end of the summer?

on a lighter note I am going to enjoy reading ’69 things to do with a dead princess’ because apparently it entales a lad called Calum wanting to kill himself in Aberdeen. Lets hope it doesn’t rub off! Books i will be reading this first part of the summer – k.Lynch image of the city, 69 things … , Rowe Collage city. Marc Auge, non places…


Posted by: lholm | May 28, 2008

Untitled/Entitled : Summer Project Brief

The Beginning

Urban Peripheries Summer Project Lorens Holm 28 May 2008


Find a leftover space: Unknown Unwanted Unnamed Unclaimed Unvisible.

Know it, Want it, Name it, Claim it, Visualise it.

How do you do that, with a space? Please come up with a strategy for doing these things, which you can demonstrate through writings about and drawings of that space, when we meet in the new term (September).

The purpose of this little project is to allow you to evolve your own personal methods of exploration of a space of your choosing. To learn about property and ownership through doing. To operate with uncertainty. To explore techniques of physical engagement with a place. To explore place-making where we would not expect to find it. To meditate on the idea of collective space/ public space/ private space/ personal space. This is a very personal project with a very real link to a city-space. I expect drawings (plans, elevations, sections, details), photographs, models, rubbings, found objects, tattoos, walkings, recordings, air capture …

It could be an alley, a railroad siding, the space behind a hoarding, the outside side of a party wall, the space outside two fences, an inter-tidal zone, a tunnel, a sewage system, a non-public right of way, something I haven’t thought of. Think: no man’s land = everyman’s land.1 It will probably be a space that is not easily described by a figure/ground plan (which means we need other ways to represent it).2

Check historic DigimapTM.3 Visit the local planning department and/or local historical collection. Do a title search. Check its planning history. Is it publicly/privately owned or not owned? Claim it. Squat it. At the end of the year, you could be the proud owner of a piece of sub-prime real estate.

Plant a tree, install/remove an object, rearrange the stones, clean up the litter, drink its waters, do a rubbing, leave a footprint, go for a walk4, propose a narrative of use, ownership, occupation. Use drawings and other techniques of representation to explore possibilities of changing its scale, location, orientation. What does it remind you of? What can you imagine happening here?

You must do this project, but please interpret this brief so that it adapts to your own research interests and obsessions.

Project requirements for a full on project review in September (in Week 1) :

Architectural drawings: plan + section + elevation + detail. Plus: build a model + take a photograph + write a short narrative (1-1000words)5 that fictionalises, rationalises the space + write a manifesto.6

Scales as appropriate. Philosophise with a hammer. Put yourself in there too.

Please refer to readings on the course document.

PS: Please also think about what the different forms of collective/public/common space are. In what ways do the following count or not?

  • Blog.
  • Chatroom.
  • Wiki.
  • Other diginarcissiforms like You book, Face space, or My tube.
  • Agora (w/ or w/o stoa) or Piazza.
  • Our unit, Urban Peripheries.
  • Dundee School of Architecture.
  • Representational Government, local, national.
  • The Royal Navy.
  • Social facts like: the NHS, the ID card system, the money system.
  • Momentary spaces like: the school fête, ceilidhs, or an instantaneous irruption of laughter.
  • Infrastructure like: National Rail, the sewage system, cabling, bus routes, the road network.

The End

1 For preliminaries, google/wikipedia: common good (Scotland), common land (England).

2Go read Colin Rowe’s Collage City, it should be clear how bourgeois the idea of figure/ground is. As if every space had to have a precise ownership-style boundary around it, in order to qualify as a space. As if space = owned space. (Ingraham has a good discussion of how tightly linked architecture is to the concept of proprietary space, in Architecture and the Burdens of Linearity.)

3 University Library, for UK sites only. Is there a similar service in whatever other country you are in (Nepal, Portugal)?.

4The walking artists, like Hamish Fulton and Richard Long are models for intense engagement with a place, for which, blog blag bug Ian.

5Based on the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words. If its one word, it better be a bloody good one.

6Write the first draft of a manifesto on architecture, a few crucial bullet points, something that you can revise and add to as the year continues.

Posted by: ian ruaraidh harrison | May 20, 2008

About Ian

I’m Ian Ruaraidh Harrison. I graduated from the Masters programme at Dundee in its first year and I am now a research student working towards a PhD. You can find out a bit more about my past at

I am interested in our experience and understanding of places (both in urban and rural landscapes) and the way in which this forms both the context and subject of architectural design. My PhD work is currently investigating our engagements with landscapes through walking and mapping.

I’m excited at the prospect of tutoring over the next year, getting to know you all and your work.

As for hobbies, I neglected to mention at our meeting that whilst I dont climb, I am a dancer (of sorts) and that I quite religiously go to Ceroc (jive) class every Wednesday.

Posted by: ian ruaraidh harrison | May 20, 2008

Summer Reading List

Indicative Summer Reading, each, in a different way, about engagement with the public realm:

Gaston Bachelard, The Psychoanalysis of Fire
Michel Foucault, ‘Other spaces: The principles of heterotopia’ in Lotus International no. 48/49 (1986) There is another version of it as the Preface to Foucault, The Order of Things
Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny’ in the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud, ‘A disturbance of memory on the Acropolis’ in the Standard Edition…
Kevin Lynch, Image of the City
Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Esthetics, especially the essay ‘Relational Form’
Stewart Home, 69 Things to do with a dead princess
Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent
John Hejduk, The Lancaster/ Hanover Masque and/or Berlin Night
Bansky, Banging your head against a wall and/or Existencillism
Marc Auge, non-places: introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity
Dominique Laporte, History of Shit

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