Il Corivale: Stalker Osservatorio Nomade Exhibition at the NAI, Rotterdam

Corviale inside the Exhibition DynamiCity:  NAI project director Emiliano Gandolfi

Stalker Osservatorio Nomade co-curators: Co-Curators Peter Lang, Pia Livia di Tardo.



Tactics for a Changing Metropolis= Emiliano Gandolfi


Our cities are becoming dynamic. Because of the technological and socio-geographical revolution of the end of the XX century, cities change so quickly, have become so vast, and are so formless, that grand strategies for planning sprawl no longer work. It has become clear to a group of architects that the traditional practice, based on a static interpretation of the city, is not an effective way of making sense out of the modern metropolis. DynamiCity will show the work of four groups of architects who see their task as tracking, tracing, and mapping the landscape to produce tactical insertions or re-readings of the dynamic city. Actar Arquitectura, Atelier Bow-Wow, Chora, Stalker are re-thinking and re-presenting the urban environment, offering a deeper analysis of the qualities, comforts, communication systems, and sensory dimension of urban life. They create temporary structures, maps, montages and other fantastic constructions that let us see, understand and perhaps even inhabit the dynamic aspects of the city.


Neither conventional architecture bureaus nor critical schools, these small quasi-guerilla bands are aware that to intervene in the amorphous nature of the megalopolis the process should start essentially by a different perception, able to reveal its dynamic forces. Through maps, matrix and diagrams they are defining an appropriate methodology to deal with the emergent phenomena of the urban conditions. Their strategies of intervention are therefore grounded in thorough analysis of the urban environment, confronting the city to the smallest scale. A deeper and sometimes subjective view of reality is then translated into maps and diagrams: exposing global forces that have impact locally, without always being visible. Attentions stops occasionally at the neglected and forgotten parts of the city’s organism, or at the attempt to give a visual reading to the flows that organize and modify the urban environment, or at last to the understanding of how the city life and laws effect the existing landscape defining a new esthetic value. It seems more likely that one analysis conducts inevitably to the next one, intertwining new planning suggestions to new thoughts on the entire landscape.


The work of these architects is at last to define a new tactical intervention, aware of a different understanding of the urban landscape. Very often we see that these proposals focus more on the programmatic aspects of architecture and urbanism than on formal and aesthetical aspects. It’s scanning of potentials that conduct them to different solutions through superimposition, reorganizations, prepositions of unexplored urban matters, and occasionally targeted social actions toward a new urban consciousness. More and more architecture becomes a device.

DynamiCity will focus on the methodology that defines these emerging attitudes. Each group will describe through a visual narration the processes and four customized designs will reveal some of the most fascinating experiments in today’s architectural research, from the analysis of the urban landscape through mapping, to the assemblage of superimpositions, to dwell on the amazing process of elaboration of matters that characterizes these instruments of change.


In Barcelona, a group of designer, theoreticians, educators and publishers collaborate on a number of different projects and institutions. These include the publisher Actar, which also organizes public events and the academy IAAC (Institut d’Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya). The interest of Actar Arquitectura is in the continual collection of information about the physical environment and, through that, of the socio-political structures shaping the spaces we inhabit. They draw out potentials and latencies of the landscape and represent this information in books, exhibitions and architectural projects. In the end, they also propose visions of possible landscapes formed by computer and communication technologies that might offer alternatives to both existing forms and those structures mandated by existing power organizations.


Chora is an urban and architectural research laboratory founded by the Dutch architect Raoul Bunschoten with the aim of understanding, modeling and transforming dynamic processes in complex urban situations. Through in-situ urban studies, theoretical and critical reflection, Chora has developed an original methodology aimed at registering, through fieldwork, urban conditions. Their interests are mainly focused on the dynamic modeling of these conditions, the ordering and unfolding of programs through scenario development, and the formation of urban prototypes for policy-making and action planning. Chora research has developed the concept of Dynamic Master Planning and is currently involved in the preparation for test projects in the Thames Gateway, London, the Taiwan Strait Urban Gallery, the Bucharest Urban Gallery, and developing varied projects in Holland and Great Britain.


In Tokyo, Momoyo Kaijima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow-Wow are defining a new urban paradigm, collecting examples of Da-me Architecture. Literally no-good architecture are those architecture examples that in Tokyo give a mayor priority to stubborn honesty in response to their surroundings and programmatic necessities, without insisting on architectural aesthetic and form. The studies of the group are collected in two manuals, Pet Architecture Guide Book and Made in Tokyo, for a different view on aesthetics values and urban requirements. From these researches emerges a new sensibility on the role of architecture and on its unexplored potentials.


Stalker is a hybrid collective defined as an urban art laboratory, based in Rome. In preferring architectural actions, Stalker focuses its interest on the city and everything that forms its abandoned and disused spaces and waste areas. Close to the Internationale Situationniste, Stalker creates a map based on residual places left over by galloping urbanism. Since 2001 Stalker promotes a research network called Osservatorio Nomade focusing on the redefinition of Corviale, a kilometer long nine stories building that represents the symbol of spoiled urban mega-structures from the Seventies. This contributes to the creative evolution of the territories through crossed fields of planning, experimentation and educational programs in relation with local inhabitants.