Non-Electoral Participation

Ongoing research, 2018

Consulting is how we build self-reflexive knowledge and create open innovation models and/or sharing platforms through all the projects we engage or make. Moreover, engaged participants are active in our designs only through the empowerment each of them grant us (and each other) in the making of knowledge that could be made available for our productions.

In a very practical sense, our consulting work is about establishing directives and strategies for the production of public relations, programs, pedagogies, events, exhibitions, architecture and the science of space-making in relation to livability. We are actively seeking to understand the behavior of the spaces people use or want to use. For this reason, we believe communities first and this helps us understand the various overlaying and vital aspects of each situation–and which methods are necessary to move forward our creative strategies–whether these involve historical, theoretical, qualitative or quantitative methods. Not only to realize professional and productive information that evaluates, reports and builds active goals, but for the creation of dynamic urban landscapes for the communities we serve.

Citizen participation as methodology

TWO promotes the design and creation of urban spaces by fostering configurations and synergy between organized communities, developers, institutions and local governments. Our methodology for citizen participation refers to how we can initiate an ongoing dialogue with communities in order to impact urban design that can be adapted to the needs, priorities and concerns of the people represented. TWO’s methodology supports the building of dialogues respecting and analyzing the current associative fabric. By asking who gets to participate or how they want to participate, and as well, what community leaders are already there? The answers to these questions are central to this dialogue and to help optimize and adapt participative tools to context – especially by strengthening forms of what we call 'non-electoral participation'. The goal is to help introduce the potential of clear objectives through citizen participation and producing intentional designs (that express the outcomes of this participation) to help produce realizable outcomes for existing social contexts.

Advantages of our participatory methodology

We have developed this method, among others, to facilitate communication and deepen the three parts involved: community / developer / institution (or the organization driving or regulating the development or plan) to help optimize the implementation of projects. We see dialogue and participation as active mediation tools to help prevent the emergence of conflicts between decision-makers and citizens and to help promote horizontal types of decision-making. Moreover this methodology seeks to impact better urban design yields, but also for a better institutional performance of local governments or institutions.

In this sense, the diagram (No. 3/3, on the left) illustrates the relation between electoral and non-electoral participation and what helps strengthen the latter.

Cultural and Landscape Strategy

Design study, 2017
Ishøj, Denmark

This curatorial, landscape architecture, and artistic design research studied how to create a ‘growth layer’ both for the economic and cultural opportunities of artists, citizens and local stakeholders. By creating a clear value chain of both aesthetic experience and forms of livability through design interventions for the visitors, guests, and citizens of Ishøj [from the center of the city to the museum on the shore].

We looked at how artistic interventions developed through citizen participation and landscape architecture decisions can help create a progressive plan for a city experience that foments the local and mitigates gentrification. In this sense, this study acts as a process oriented proposal, looking to create design actions over time, and to be achieved through a curatorial and design project. Where we imagine that in the employing of short-term and long-term strategies will develop co-evolving investments for artists and citizens between producers, nature, and other people interacting with the Art Walk; in this case between Ishøj Station and Arken Museum.

This study further analyzed the ‘Landscape Formations’ such as Water, Forest as these intersected with Business, Visitors, and Content that drives active ‘Cultural Formations’.

Each zone of the Art Walk was studied into a potential plan that can have its own significant character. Where as the main organizers of the project, The Winter Office (TWO), envisioned to work with the concept further and collaborate with other artist/groups. Seeing our group as the responsible party to drive urban/landscape art plans such as this, where each zone finds itself in coordination with a landscape architectural strategy. All this in order to provide pedestrians an extraordinary public art experiences (not only through each zone) but as the interact with the physical-cultural and natural infrastructure of the areas we engage with.

By Invitation Only

Art Installation, 2014
InstantHerlev institute, Denmark

By Invitation Only was an exhibition curated by Lucia Sanroman to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Instant Herlev institute. Which is an artist-run institute organized as a site-specific project from the home of the danish artist Anja Franke, located in Herlev, a small suburban city near Copenhagen, Denmark.

Our project within the exhibition explored the concept of hospitality through its negative modes of exclusion, control, discrimination and social stereotyping, correlating Anja Franke’s home with the nation and promoting her generosity in giving space to artists and artworks that populated her property.

With this in mind, the installation titled We can make room for you wholesale sought to develop a dystopian social dreamscape, through a mix of media and materials, by bringing forward the natural values of vernacular suburban architecture with those that are created for security.

This curatorial project looked inward, toward the interior of Franke’s home and the possibilities offered by the realms of domestic space in becoming an alternative kind of microcosm; with this in mind, THE WINTER OFFICE created a site-specific intervention looking at the complex transitions from public to private space.

Replacement Models

Publication, 2014

Replacement Models for the Artist-Run Space is an effort to steer action and thinking for the development of space for alternative and artist-run cultural practices.

The publication was organized to ignite a vision for artistic and creative space that no longer is tied to the fringes of the city or the flag-ship efforts to gentrify areas of the city. Rather it is a visual treatise for how to generate startups through physical space that can collectively help raise the value of livability, creativity, and plurality in the city. In this artist book, we propose abstract models as part of an initiative to no longer marginalize the artist-run space, but instead to help consider its value and for the space needs of creative individuals and groups; and how these queries can make or add to the typology of future projects.

This publication - rather than function as a “how to” or “checklist” for making space - operates as an artistic expression of relations that are drawn on a combination of forms (either in architecture or networks in the city). At times, the forms in the book are outright irrational scales or abstractions, but with the idea to steer, push or inspire the rethinking of relations and space-making in the urban structure and cultural arena of the city.

CSS (Public Mixture Series)

Design Research, 2014
Kgs. Nytorv, Denmark

This project was a proposal for 10 x 10 square for a work of urban module that can work as public utility, furniture, and sculpture. This intervention is called “Common Storage Square” or “CSS” and like other artworks our group considers they are tied to an urban planning ethos. We understand this physical intervention and as an effort in furthering the possibilities promised by urban lifestyles promoted in commercial architecture. Furthermore, It is a gesture as an effort to extend the notions of hospitality into an urban planning context and by blending social design and cultural awareness for the comfort of others as engaging public works. In this sense, we have made a transitory site for a transitory space, one which acknowledges the close proximity to public transport and the various offers for shopping, culture, leisure and nightlife.

The object as an artwork offers an additional engagement as it balances the notion of a public service facility in giving storage for visitors, while at the same time, brings new questions to social meeting spaces in the city that challenge how we face the balance between hospitality and security issues in urban spaces in general.

Structures of Landscape and Culture

Building and Landscape Design, 2013
Taichung, Taiwan

Today, we are seeing the rise of more sophisticated levels self-organization in design (where people) organize and make the rules for the use of space as part of a co-evolution of ideas (perhaps often in non-ideal situations) that foster new and active representative and participatory evidence of citizen-led democracy. In context, this means that self-organization principles are demonstrated not performed. That the design should aim to represent an integrity in the visualization of these principles.

Keeping this in mind, we have been developing artistic research that explore landscapes for keeping people “in place”, especially over long periods of time as determined by their interests, not only as a design strategy, but as a planning goal. Achieving this, means that we have to be open to the stochastic (or random) processes that allow for indeterminacy to be accounted for in the use of space. More precisely, like those processes that allow humans to thrive in their random use of space. To create a design that can be continuously modeled, redefined or simulated for this ongoing randomness. So that over time, the use of space transforms into a culture in favor of stochastic public space. In this design research project, we saw a fragmentation of the institution’s floor plan into the neighboring buildings as a mirror of self-organized imperatives of people today and how these match as cultural-random fields of evaluation (rather than control). Which we believe are expanding and contracting already in most institutions as people interact with institutions and their floor plans. What we are after, is to develop an architecture that is directly organized from these random fields.

In this sense, change is a constant factor that drives and represents the institution's best use of space as a reflection of its goals. In this drive, entire floors are submitted to a structural and cultural maintenance (i.e. change) of relations. We seldom speak of an architecture that submits to a program for structural and cultural drifting — where the space is organized to accept this incoming daily uses and account for the probability that space will experience disuse over time (and how contingencies for this disuse could create new uses or services for space).

Since time is no longer a restraining issue (as people’s interests are working simultaneously through different time zones) in the global knowledge economy. We ask, how can a cognitive typology emerge in this context? One were knowledge and space are related to produce outcomes. So how can it be managed? Through the spaces proposed, especially as an architecture in flux? To this end, this extensive research design project, not only sought to look at the relation between knowledge and space, but made us understand and get clear insight for how to build new institutional spaces in this complex and technologically driven moment.

Natural Selection

Urban Center and Extreme Weather Design, 2011
Klaksvig, Faraoe Islands

Initially, this competition project, called “Natural Selection” considered the existing site/landscape, topography and the history of the city center of Klaksvik as a reflection of our core concerns in TWO. We were looking closely how new design interventions will work together with the evident historical growth layer. We began thinking about the city center, in regards to trees, green spaces and big scale landscape relations that reintroduced the notion of an isthmus as a mirrored landscape. We used this idea as an organizing principle, so the notion of reflections on our planning vision could help diversify and formulate a complex yet effective city center.

The research that came out of this competitions (and others since) has dealt with extreme climate design issues, where harsh winds and differences in seasons impact projects and how these take on a vision for local science research around their natural infrastructure need i.e. tree growing laboratories. We believe that cities can be active sites of natural regrowth experimentation, and that amongst other challenges, will be useful to find new solutions for vegetation schemes in harsh environments.

Lastly, this ongoing research project aims for sensitive approaches between design and natural growth relations on a micro-scale. Is about developing spaces for intimate social exchanges - making a world of relations through different configurations and as part of nature recovery project. For this reason, our design projects often cal for natural forest and water management organized around natural growth infrastructure.

Before Completion

Nature as Infrastructure, Water Management, 2011
Taichung, Taiwan

Before Completion is driven by an ecological and social concern for the development of an urban park with the ambition to establish real sustainable, ecologizing and high quality urban spaces.

The central strategy is focusing on the metaphor and concept which centers around the notion of “incompleteness” arguing that planning structures for nature, urban ecology and well-being are “never complete”. It suggests that this park as an entity, can be managed at the hand of collaboration (likely to support spontaneous ideas and growth) to help drive its development. In the definition of “incompleteness” we also see a re-introduction of an ancient consciousness where nature is defined in relationship with the cosmos, elements and the physical manifestations of time, mood and seasonal weather. Not only as a way to use the poetry of our natural ecosystem, but to also help ignite ancient non-static anchors of orientation to change modern rhythm.

Principles that defined layers of the park infrastructure included notions such as urban reforestation projects and their planting strategies, especially in relation to their water management and use ratio. In this competition, we organized these physically as orientations that are guided by 64 degrees grid concept (which in this case marks the angle between the geographic north and the future celestial north - of the Thuban star). In this sense, we tied everything to this grid to reflect these orientations to the site, so that all specific design relations and character could be enjoyed in the various nodes of interest and pathways leading in and out of neighbouring city areas.

Radical thinking – around the implementation of an urban forest, water management, local initiatives and emphasis on historic traits and potentials – gave us insight into how park projects can become essential parts of the city. Which we believe that as entities in the city, could end up helping citizens explore and suggest future strategies to further the Park as a thriving microcosm.

Trialectic Stage (Public Mixture Series)

Stage/Podium/Furniture concept, 2010
Camel Collective, The Hessel Museum and
Bard College

Trialectic Stage - Organized as a three-sided stage (and influenced by Asger Jorn’s Three-Sided Soccer Game/Field) serves as the starting point for a series of multifunctional stages that can expand and contract presentation or lecture spaces according to different uses. The elements that the field generates will when transformed into the stage concept be flexible in the sense that it will be possible to separate them and put them together into new constellations.

The staged was first designed by THE WINTER OFFICE for the artist group Camel Collective in 2010. Iterations of the stage are meant to blend the line between art and public furniture. Where podiums become bookshelves, projection boxes and the white screens provide divisions as well as projection options.

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