Urban Metabolisms: Combining Complex Approaches

  • Publish On 18 November 2017
  • Philippe Chiambaretta

Beyond the debates surrounding the Anthropocene—dating it, taking responsibility—the need to combat the disastrous effects of human development on the planet is beyond doubt. Acknowledging that these consequences are specifically incarnated in cities, architect Philippe Chiambaretta points toward a paradigm shift—moving from a mechanical vision of the world to an idea centered on the living—that reactivates the notion of a metabolism. The concept of the living allows us to go beyond the dualism and anthropocentrism introduced by modernity, driving us toward a symbolic and practical idea of the city as an urban metabolism and pointing toward an approach that takes the ecological challenge into account in order to “manage” the city. Flying in the face of the formal pride of the architect, the figure of metabolic planner emerges, able to combine complex visions and approaches, notably by moving beyond the traditional rifts between urban protagonists, working toward an intense diversity of uses, opening up temporal dynamics, and by reintegrating the living.

Bibliography

explore

Vidéo

Antoine Laugier, Thanh-Phong Lê

Vidéo

Aesthetic of Structures

Aesthetic of Structures is a collective work published by the Architects-Engineers & Engineers-Architects association (AAIIA). Established agencies, young practitioners, researchers and students discuss a new relationship with structures, moving away from the Vitruvian principles of utility, solidity and beauty, towards an economy of materials, reversibility of use and the reuse of materials. Here we meet two of the book’s designers: architect-engineer Antoine Laugier and graphic designer Thanh-Phong Lê, who give us an insight into the book, as an object and as a structure.

Discover
Podcast

“ Sewers are the mirror image of what happens on the surface. ”

What sewers say about us

Catherine Carré, Thomas Thiebault

Podcast

“ Sewers are the mirror image of what happens on the surface. ”


What sewers say about us

Did you know that we have a lot to learn from sewers? Sewers contain numerous chemical indicators that provide information about the practices of people living above ground, such as the use of medicines and drugs, diet and the state of intestinal flora. By focusing on the city of Paris, the EGOUTS (sewers) research project, funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR), is seeking to shed light on public policy ‘through the dark side of the City of Light’.

Discover
Vidéo
Vidéo

The art of artificial life

Justine Emard is a visual artist. Her installations use AI to understand the living, exploring the boundaries between organic life and artificial intelligence. Bee swarms, encephalographic recordings and prehistoric paintings become learning supports for algorithms that, contrary to dystopian imaginations, generate new supra-hyper-organisms.

Discover
Vidéo

Jérôme Denis, David Pontille, Bérénice Gaussuin, Fanny Lopez

Vidéo

Restoration, transformation, maintenance

In this round-table discussion, the four researchers look at the issue of transition through the prism of the different notions of maintenance, transformation, repair and restoration. These concepts are reminiscent of the issues of destruction, reconstruction and rehabilitation in architecture.

Discover
Podcast

“ What can we change in the way we inhabit the land to preserve the soil as an environment? ”

Podcast

“ What can we change in the way we inhabit the land to preserve the soil as an environment? ”


Soil as an environment, property as an inhabiting capacity

Elissa Al Saad is an architect and laureate of the 2023 Palladio Fellowships for her thesis on soil as an environment. By comparing different possible forms of land appropriation, she raises the issue of preserving land resources in relation to ownership. The aim is to think of property as a support for a way of inhabiting that considers land as a common good.

Discover
Vidéo

Elisabeth Bouchaud, Cyril Pressacco, Denis Macrez, Ana Hedan, Paul Vergonjeanne

Vidéo

Stone

Discover the inaugural lecture of the “Alma Matter” series! In a world where the myth of abundance is collapsing, this series of lectures looks at what matter really has to offer. Actors, professions, economies, temporalities, geopolitics: how do contemporary issues of creation take shape through those of matter? Each talk focuses on a particular material, and brings together its stakeholders in a dialogue. The use of stone in construction declined during the twentieth century. Today, its return is acclaimed for its qualities: inertia, durability, low-emission processing, local presence… but what techniques and applications will be used in 2024? As part of the City Metabolism Chair supported by the Université Paris Sciences & Lettres.

Discover
Article
Article

"The network is alive" — Networks and those who maintain them

France’s subsoils are home to some 910,000 km of drinking water distribution pipes, and over 1.4 million km of power lines. Indispensable in our daily lives, they are nonetheless invisible and increasingly questioned in the light of ecological and technological challenges that are transforming our territories. But can’t these infrastructures be seen as a heritage to be maintained and cared for?

Discover
Podcast

“ What will Paris be like under 50°C? How can we postpone this scenario and be better prepared for it? ”

Paris at 50°C

Alexandre Florentin

Podcast

“ What will Paris be like under 50°C? How can we postpone this scenario and be better prepared for it? ”


Paris at 50°C

Our dense, mineral-rich capital is ill-suited to the extreme heat we’ll increasingly have to cope with. So what adaptation strategies can we implement? This is what we asked to Alexandre Florentin, Paris councillor responsible for resilience and climate issues. He chaired the “Paris at 50 degrees” mission, which delivered its report a few months ago: what fields of action for architects and urban designers?

Discover