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N° 10 Thinking About Architecture Through Resources

Dossier coordinated by Nicolas Fiévé and Xavier Guillot
Deadline for sending papers : 15 October 2020

Thinking About Architecture Through Resources

  • 1 Jacques Ellul, Le système technicien, Paris, Cherche-Midi, 2012 [1977]; Alain Gras, Le Choix du feu (...)

In the current debate on ecological transition, the question of natural resources and the issue of their exploitation occupies a central place within architectural, spatial and design disciplines. Whether it concerns material extraction and production for constructing our homes, or energy for their operation, the challenge imposed on our societies is the relationship to the Earth, as a space for resources, and the finiteness of its natural resources. This is an issue which, on a historical, philosophical or anthropological level, questions the logic behind a thought inherited from the Industrial Revolution that established and transformed our living environment ; according to which humans appropriate the natural capital of the Earth for their own well-being, thanks to advances in technoscience – a field in which they are both the craftsman and the master1.

  • 2 Bruno Latour, Face à Gaïa. Huit conférences sur le nouveau régime climatique, Paris, La Découverte, (...)
  • 3 Serge Audier, L’âge du productivisme. Hégémonie prométhéenne, brèches et alternatives écologiques, (...)
  • 4 Yanni Gunnel (coord.), Écologie et société, Paris, Armand Colin, 2009; Dominique Bourg et Augustin (...)

This approach to the world infiltrated architectural, urban planning and developmental doctrines and practices in every domain, especially that of housing. In order to substitute new paradigms today, in the era of the Anthropocene, this intellectual heritage and relationship to the Earth’s resources must be generally called into question2. As the foundation of a productive and extractivist3 economic system and the result of a unique cultural and historical trajectory developed in the West, the pitfalls it represents for the survival of the human species can be recognized from an ecological point of view4. In this regard – and as the area of focus for our questioning – this trajectory has omitted the knowledge of other cultural histories, which have existed or still exist today, and in which a different relationship to resources has developed : that of progress, technology and modernity.

  • 5 Philippe Descola, La composition des mondes. Entretiens avec Pierre Charbonnier, Paris, Flammarion, (...)
  • 6 Pascal Chabot, L’âge des transitions, Paris, Presses universitaire de France, 2015.

From this point of view, one of the objectives of this call for communication is to uncover and analyze alternative ways for planning the preservation and transformation of our inhabited spaces, so as to act with the world instead of against it, by linking its resources to a sustainable perspective. This is necessary in order to work towards a “composition of worlds”, to cite the beautiful formulation of Pierre Charbonnier and Philippe Descola5. Hence the fundamental question of this call for contributions : to question the dialectic that unites human settlements to their resources and, through this, to see how other ways of thinking about resources could renew the practice of ecological transition-based design projects6. This broad question is addressed by giving a singular place to the notion of “resource”, understood in a larger sense, which is at the origin and foundation of any human settlement and architectural, urban or landscape production.

In this dossier, theoretical approaches based on case studies (achievements, design project practices, construction techniques, or even technological systems or innovations) will thus be presented, illustrating a singular approach to the notion of resource that is consistent with the virtuous evolutions of ecosystems. Two approaches to the concept of resource are introduced in order to open the debate and to nourish the use of this notion within spatial and design project disciplines, both in its practical and theoretical dimensions.

  • 7 Alberto Magnaghi, Le Projet local, Liège, Mardaga, 2003.

The first refers to the resource’s material dimension. Whatever the scale and the nature of the work, any act of transforming our living environment requires the use of material resources, thus involving a modification of the physical conditions of the place. Here we are interested in a reflection of project practices that emphasize a reasoned use of natural resources in the design of human settlements : use of locally extracted materials and low energy construction techniques or equipment ; recycling and reuse processes ; building works designed in harmony with the plant and animal worlds, along with environments and landscapes. Assembled around these issues is a set of debates, particularly highlighting the question of local context in design projects7, the promotion of practices shaped by contextual constraints of implementation and the reinterpretation of vernacular practices.

  • 8 Philippe Descola, Par-delà nature et culture, coll. Folio essais, Paris, Gallimard, 2015.
  • 9 Augustin Berque, Histoire de l’habitat idéal. De l’Orient vers l’Occident, Paris, Le Félin, 2010; P (...)
  • 10 Catherine et Raphael Larrère, Penser et agir avec la nature. Une enquête philosophique, Paris, La D (...)

The second approach refers to the resource’s symbolic and aesthetic dimension. It aims to put forth the idea that the implementation of our built environment also involves a close interrelation with intangible resources. If modern societies have drawn on natural resources for their material function, the works of archeology, anthropology and history show that the resource’s aesthetic and symbolic components are also implicated in the conceptualization and construction of human settlements. All human cultures place value on certain species, sites or elements. Beyond basic needs (supply of raw materials and energy, nutritional or medicinal uses, etc.), we must also consider the resource as part of a disinterested approach. Founded upon a relationship with the living world and landscapes, it highlights the links between architecture, its environment and where the diversity of living cultures stems from, as shown in recent works in anthropology8, human geography9 and environmental philosophy10.

These two approaches to the concept of resource are not intended to separate contributions into two categories. On the contrary, the purpose of this distinction is to stimulate reflection on the links between architecture and resources, taking into account their intersections and interactions.

This call for contributions concerns architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture of past and contemporary societies (no matter the scale, from the house to the neighborhood, from the city to the region), and aims to integrate different cultural trajectories around the world. It also addresses both theoreticians and practitioners of space –architects, urban planners, landscape architects– as well as researchers working in the disciplines of humanities and social sciences.

Procedure for the transmission of draft articles

Proposals for completes articles will be sent to the Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère’editorial office by e-mail before 15 October 2020 : secretariat-craup@culture.gouv.fr

For more information, contact Aude Clavel on 06 10 55 11 36

Expected Formats : articles or “research materials”

Articles, whether in French or in English, must not exceed 50,000 characters, including spaces, bibliography and notes.

Research materials may take the following forms :

- Stakeholder interviews (40,000 characters + 15 figures)

- Field notebook (15,000 characters +15 figures)

- Experimentation of working protocols with residents (15,000 characters + 15 figures)

Articles must be accompanied by :

1 biobibliographical record between 5 to 10 lines (name and first name of the author (s), professional status and/or titles, possible institutional link, research themes, latest publications, e-mail address).

2 abstracts in French and English.

5 key words in French and English.

Instructions to authors

1 / General rules

Italic : words in foreign languages in relation to the language used, therefore op. cit., Ibid., cf., a priori, a posteriori, etc.

No use of bold (with the exception of titles) nor capitals (with the exception of the beginning of proper names, institutions, capitals for titles in English, etc.).

2 / Body of the text

The text must be entered in the Word software, using Times New Roman, size 12, line spacing 1.5, without any special formatting, except titles, headings, captions and paragraph breaks.

3 / Quotations

Quotations of less than 3 lines will be inserted into the text and placed between quotation marks.

Quotes of more than five lines will be indented to the left and right, size 10 (not 12), and without quotation marks.

4 / References

The bibliographical references will be grouped according to author’s name alphabetical order at the end of the article in a section titled “Bibliography”, according to the following model :

For a book : First name Last name, Title, City of publishing, Publishing house (Collection), year of publication, page.

For a collective work : First name Last Name and First name Last name of dir./coord./eds./etc., Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page, or First name Last name et al., Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page.

For a chapter of a collective work : First name, Last name, (dir./coord./eds./etc.), Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page.

For a journal article : First Name Last Name, “Article Title”, Journal Title, vol. /N °, Date, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of Publication, page.

For electronic reference : First name Last name, “Title of article”, Journal title, vol. /n° , date, [online] [url], accessed on [date].

5 / Illustrations, charts and tables

The photographs accompanying the text should be scanned in high definition (300 dpi, 15 cm minimum) in Jpg or Tiff formats.

Text files will be distinct from graphic files.

The author must verify that the images / figures of which he is not the author are free of rights.

Otherwise, he must apply to the owner of the image / figure before submitting it to the magazine.

Illustrations, charts and tables must be legendary in a specific way :

The title of the illustrations should be placed above the illustration.

The legend and credits (source, copyright, etc.) must be placed under the illustration on two separate lines.

Editorial line

Placed in the fields of architectural, urban and landscape research, the Cahiers initially developed from the 1970s in research labs of the French schools of architecture. On becoming an online international journal, the Cahiers initiates today a new formula targeted towards the research communities concerned by intentional transformations of space, whatever the scales.

The Cahiers aims at meeting current interests and issues in these fields, seeking to renew them and to open new directions of research. Three main research issues are more directly questioned. One specifically concerns theoretical aspects, in order to develop exchanges and discussions between theories of design, planning, architecture and landscape. Another issue refers to the materiality of the city, the technical know-how involved in spatial transformation, but also the material dimension of of transfer and mobilization phenomena, often analyzed in other journals from a-spatial angles. Lastly, the third issue questions the project and its design, which holds a special place in the sciences and the practice of space (performative roles of projects, theories of practice).

These three poles call for interdisciplinary works, dedicated to trace in-depth explanations of the transformations of the built environment at the Anthropocene Era. The expected scientific production refers to common criteria of peer reviewing processes. It could pay a particular attention to the issues of pictures and visual production in a field where images can serve as discourse.

Thematics folders

Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère online issue two or three time a year a thematic folder dedicated to a specific and problematized theme, and which consists of around ten articles in French and English.

A call for papers is broadcasted for each thematic heading. Proposals may be in French or English. The evaluation is peer-rewiewed.

Headings

The online magazine has 2 headings to accommodate miscellaneous articles, and outside thematic folders.

Research news : Various reports : theses, entitlement to supervise research, reviews of works, exhibitions.

Research materials : interviews, practitioners’ discourses, translations, reference texts...

Proposals may be in French or English.

The texts are evaluated and peer-rewiewed.

Editorial Board

Chief Editor : FREDERIC POUSIN

MANUEL BELLO MARCANO

FRANCK BESANÇON

GAUTHIER BOLLE

ENRICO CHAPEL

BENJAMIN CHAVARDES

LAURENT DEVISME

YANKEL FIJALKOW

SANDRA FIORI

FRANCOIS FLEURY

XAVIER GUILLOT

CAROLINE MANIAQUE

BEATRICE MARIOLLE

VALERIE NEGRE

DANIEL SIRET

HELENE VACHER

Editorial Assistant : AUDE CLAVEL

Notes

1 Jacques Ellul, Le système technicien, Paris, Cherche-Midi, 2012 [1977]; Alain Gras, Le Choix du feu. Aux origines de la crise climatique, Paris, Fayard, 2007.

2 Bruno Latour, Face à Gaïa. Huit conférences sur le nouveau régime climatique, Paris, La Découverte, 2015; Rémi Beau et Catherine Larrère, Penser l’Anthropocène, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, 2020. 

3 Serge Audier, L’âge du productivisme. Hégémonie prométhéenne, brèches et alternatives écologiques, Paris, La Découverte, 2019.

4 Yanni Gunnel (coord.), Écologie et société, Paris, Armand Colin, 2009; Dominique Bourg et Augustin Fragnière, La pensée écologique, une anthologie, Paris, PUF, 2014; Arthur P.J. Mol, “Ecological Modernisation Theory in Debate: A Review”, Environmental Politics, vol. 9, n°1, 2000, pp. 17-49; Helaine Selin (ed.), Nature Across Cultures. Views of Nature and the Environment in Non-Western Cultures, Netherlands, Springer, 2003.

5 Philippe Descola, La composition des mondes. Entretiens avec Pierre Charbonnier, Paris, Flammarion, 2014. 

6 Pascal Chabot, L’âge des transitions, Paris, Presses universitaire de France, 2015.

7 Alberto Magnaghi, Le Projet local, Liège, Mardaga, 2003.

8 Philippe Descola, Par-delà nature et culture, coll. Folio essais, Paris, Gallimard, 2015.

9 Augustin Berque, Histoire de l’habitat idéal. De l’Orient vers l’Occident, Paris, Le Félin, 2010; Poétique de la Terre. Histoire naturelle et histoire humaine, essai de mésologie, Paris, Belin, 2014; Descendre des étoiles, monter de la Terre.La Trajection de l’architecture, Bastia, Éditions Éoliennes, 2019; Marie Augendre, Jean-Pierre Llored, Yann Nussaume, La mésologie, un autre paradigme pour l’anthropocène ? Autour et en présence d’Augustin Berque, Paris, Hermann, 2018.

10 Catherine et Raphael Larrère, Penser et agir avec la nature. Une enquête philosophique, Paris, La Découverte (Poche), 2018.

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