Daniel Ibañez co-organizes GSD Conference and Colloquium, “Wood Urbanism: from the Molecular to the Territorial”
Sep 25, 2014
The research agendas and theoretical perspectives of the Urban Theory Lab continue to resonate with and animate many other projects and exchanges at the GSD and beyond. Thus, amidst a busy early semester schedule, UTL Research Manager Daniel Ibañez recently co-organized a conference with our friends and colleagues Kiel Moe (Associate Professor of Architecture and Energy, Harvard GSD) and Jane Hutton (Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard GSD) on the topic of Wood Urbanism: from the Molecular to the Territorial. Building in part upon the metabolic perspectives on urbanization being developed by UTL researchers, the conference brought into conversation scholars and practitioners concerned with wood at a range of scales, from that of the molecule and the working forest to that of the mid-rise building, the urban-regional landscape and the forested territory. Specifically, the conference examined the implications and potentials of wood urbanism, understood as a nexus of relationships between land-use, wood production and wood construction. While relying on the inherent intelligence and depth of multiple disciplines, it was argued that a more encompassing socio-metabolic perspective on the role of wood in contemporary buildings, urbanization, and territories is needed. This event marked the initiation of a research collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), our friends and colleagues in the Energy, Environments, and Design Lab (EED), and the Centro de Innovación y Desarrollo de la Madera (CIDM), Universidad Católica de Chile.
Aug 10, 2017
Ways of Wood: Expressing Material Flows is one of the four installations of the Boston Design Biennial 2017 exhibited now at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Rose Greenway in downtown Boston. This design installation has been designed and fabricated by a team lead by UTL researcher Daniel Ibañez of Margen-Lab.
Resembling images of logs floated from forests to sawmills, Ways of Wood aims to create a link with North American landscapes of industrial extraction. The nine logs gradually transform across their length into contemporary interpretations of these raw natural materials, here shaped via computer numerical control (CNC) milling. Inspired by the social sculpture of Joseph Beuys and the site-specific land art pieces of Andy Goldsworthy, Ways of Wood explicitly visualizes the connection between contemporary design concerns and the processes of material sourcing through its formal and material configuration. Avoiding the association that wood is a generic and uniform material the installation also brings together diverse regional wood species, supporting the specificities and ecological diversity each and one of them entail.
Wood is one of many material flows necessary to sustain urban life. Typically black-boxed and commodified, the material is often detached from any connection to the landscapes, processes, and people fundamental to its genesis. While the project creates a public space for sitting or socializing, it also attempts to create a territorial re-connection between the sites of material circulation and extraction and the experience of the city, and between vernacular material sources and advanced digital design.