What new possibilities are to be discovered when rethinking the timeline and footprint of supply chains? Where should the infrastructure of logistics be located? How will we cohabitate with machine spaces?


Fluid storage for a city’s entre catalog of undisplayed art

By Yousun Nam

The collections of art museums today are increasing rapidly. Major art museums like MoMa and New Museum are constantly expanding their galleries to show more of their collections and looking for new branch locations. Some institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum have partially opened art archives, and architects like MVRDV and Diller Scofidio have proposed new designs that actively invite guests into the museum’s backstage. However, these solutions are not enough to fundamentally solve the problem given that the average growth rate of most of the world’s collections is faster than the expansion rate of the galleries, and on average 60% of those collections are still hidden away in storage.

Art-scape reframes these ever-growing collections as a generative future for art institutions. The proposal assumes that art transportation will become more convenient through AV freight systems, and imagines that all the museums in New York will utilize a single,  collective storage facility that can expand vertically. The shared storage incorporates computational logistics technology that efficiently transports artworks on demand to museums using autonomous transporters. This technology allows the working robots to coexist with people, and therefore blurs the boundary between public and functional spaces. The facility consists of an art transportation center on the ground floor and the storage levels above, with research and meeting areas for visitors throughout. Inside, a series of large voids enable work to be moved between levels, and the in-between mezzanine floors provide interesting viewpoints where visitors can see the collections from above.

This new facility, fully open to the public, challenges the primacy of contemporary museums by adopting the idea of anti-curation. In the storage space, work is placed at random based on how the materials fit best geometrically within the interior volume, following robotic logics which refuse any kind of order or hierarchy. The artwork is constantly rearranged by robots based on the spatial needs or the visitors’ requests, rendering the collection in a fluid state of near-constant slow motion movement. This spatial and operational system enables collaborative research in a more egalitarian way and offers people exploring Art-scape a unique experience of walking between artworks seemingly moving by themselves.

The Last Mile

Cooperatively owned neighborhood delivery center

By Harshwardhan Saini

Convenience has become the industry norm for retail, with phrases such as “Delivery to your doorstep” and “Same-day delivery” becoming commonplace. This has led to the rise of many corporate giants such as Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart, eBay and others who master logistics to capture private profits.

But the downside of those private business models is paid for by the public at large. The number of trucks entering New York city from these logistic facilities has created an issue that has not helped the residents of the city and the service providers themselves. Sorting of the packages on the roads and sidewalks is a common practice amongst the delivery providers, blocking bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks. An alternative must be adopted that accommodates the importance and convenience of daily logistics while working in favour of the neighbourhoods and their public spaces.

The last mile neighbourhood level distribution centre located in East Village which processes all packages coming and going from the neighbourhood. It operates as a cooperatively owned facility. The project demonstrates how a community may take charge of their localized logistics and enhance neighbourhood quality. Inbound packages for the entire neighbourhood are received at the facility in one large shipment (freight truck) at a time of the day when the traffic is the least, thereafter the packages are sorted for local delivery via delivery bots. Lifted above the logistic centre are the community greenhouses which operate as part of the corporative. The Last Mile askes us to speculate about the possibility of logistics as a community institution and a new architectural typology for the city.

Common Matters

A New Circular Economy of Building Materials

By Julia Jeffs and Linda Lee

The built fabric of cities is always in flux, and the constant states of transformation have material consequences—in the United States alone, construction and demolition is responsible for 40% of the waste that ends up in landfills. While we are surrounded by methods of remaking, retooling, and readjustment in everyday life, from the restoring of furniture found on the curb to the expansion of a garage, these reconstructive acts remain outlier practices within the larger built landscape.

COMMON MATTERS imagines a new material economy that promotes circular resource use at a city level, stronger relationships to public institutions on a neighborhood level, and a more meaningful connection to materials and materiality on an individual level. The project introduces a new type of civic institution that organizes and extends the life cycles of building materials as a public service. Material Junctions are new facilities sized appropriately within neighborhoods, rather than continuing today’s practice of locating the work in isolated, expansive industrial zones along the urban periphery, where the processes of sorting and recycling becomes abstract or invisible to the individual.

Lot Shares are open air material banks where stock is stored in vacant lots, and can be configured into ‘meanwhile’ programs defined in partnership with the neighborhood. Transportation and Logistics between sites is performed as celebratory processions through the streets.

Bringing these practices into neighborhoods literally and conceptually centers material streams, their economies, and their use as a part of daily life. The Material Junction and its revealed network of functions creates moments for the material economy of the city to spark new social engagements. It brings people into closer contact with the material that enables urban life, in support of a system that allows practices of collective ownership and locally organized development to flourish.