Between the Strategic and the Tactical: Research Driven projects and project driven researches in Cádiz and Edinburgh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Urban analysis undertaken in one studio of the current Masters of Architecture programme at the University of Edinburgh ranges between grappling with the strategic and enacting the tactical. It is informed by Michel de Certeau’s prompts concerning engagement, negotiation and narrative in The Practice of Everyday Life (1984), where strategic, tactical (and in-between) ways of understanding and working are seen to have generative potential for the critical architectural project. Project is understood as a proposition situated in a specific cultural, social, technical, ethical framework, and in the discourses of the disciplines of architecture and urbanism, with a defined set of questions, and an empirical anchor- a studio city which offers a literal urban field, particular resistances. Urban is understood as a contested set of physical, temporal, cultural, socio-political and technical conditions, which require creative engagement to enable poised actions of intervention, measured restraint, “the irrigation of territories with potential” (Koolhaas, Whatever happened to Urbanism?). Motivations, methods and tested consequences become part of the process of design, of designing the project.

Individual Projects from this 2 year long studio are situated within speculative but substantiated potential urban transformations of the metropolitan area of the Bahia de Cádiz, Spain. Examples of research driven projects and project driven researches: the strategic: BioCity (Bush, Castle, Collier), Value- Displacement over time (Cremer); the tactical: memories of transgression: manifestations of an unofficial minority (Whitfield). The work of the studio has probably come closest to engagement with the contested complexity of the Urban+Project while operating on the margins of academic/ design practice- when ‘out of place’ during a field trip and fieldwork, when operating collectively, experimenting in Year 1 with a project to construct a City Plan, and in Year 2 with a project to construct a propositional City Model. Both drew attention to the shortcomings of single-vision projects, existing as manifestations of multiple project intentions and interventions. The co-existence of the strategic (overview, collective city operations) with the tactical (individual excursions and diversions) allows necessary responsiveness of shifting research strategies and tactics which may deepen the transformative potential of an Urban Project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Urban Project. Architectural Intervention in Urban Areas
Subtitle of host publicationEAAE Transactions on Architectural Education
EditorsLeen Duin
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-2-930301-36-5 (EAAE), 978-1-58603-999-8 (IOS Press)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009
EventEAAE International Conference - The Urban Project - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 25 Jun 200828 Jun 2008


ConferenceEAAE International Conference - The Urban Project

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • empirical anchor
  • proximities
  • interative processes
  • Michael de Certeau


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