Architecture today is obsessed with icons. To be iconic or not to be, that is the question for more and more architects. But as we get accustomed of seeing our weekly starchitect masterpiece announced for Astana, Dubai or Taipeh, we wonder whether the contemporary architectural spectacle has a mission that goes beyond celebrating the egos of the client and the architect – what about program, place, politics? If it is true that the icon building is an inevitable condition for the possibility of architecture today – because it is seen as architecture’s unique selling proposition in our neoliberal economy – couldn’t architecture define a more active stance toward the icon, appropriating it rather than succumbing to it? While the icon so far mainly serves as a propaganda tool to affirm the self-image of power-hungry corporations and political dictatorships, it could in fact be cast as generator of social space – a performative environment of a democratic society, rather than a dubious monument of control. For this, however, it will be necessary for architects to apply the iconic no longer to the object, but to space. Public space, for a change.


Landscape Urbanism students and Groundlab members finalised a one week intensive workshop in Sitges trying to come up with readings of the territory and new ways of re thinking the future of this coastal city in Catalonia. The event is part of a long term engagement of AALU + Groundlab with the Fundacion Metropoli, which fosters innovative research and cutting edge practice in urban design and planning. The work was presented and discussed with the Major of Sitges and other key decision makers during a final presentation. (images attached).

“[Scenarios] combine the rigour of theory and statistics with the essential flair and imagination necessary to the future of multifaceted issues embracing economy, society and the environment… Decision makers frequently blend scenarios …to generate hybrid policies…Used in this way the power of evidence based scenarios lies only partially in their accuracy: more significant is their capacity to stimulate ideas” Carrington, K. Alison McIntosh and Jim Walmsley, The Social Costs and Benefits of Migration into Australia. Department of Immigration and Citizenship. 8/8/2007


A dozen architectural publications (both paper and online) have recently shown a growing interest for the work done by Groundlab in the recently awarded competition entry for the development of Longgagn City Centre Regeneration.
PRINTED: Poloxigen (Australia), 306090 (USA), New Geographies (USA), Arca (Italy), diseƱart (Spain), Mark (Holland), AJ (UK), AA Projects Review (UK)
ONLINE: Plataforma urbana (Chile), E-architect (UK), Baunetz (Germany), Arcprospect (International)


Members of Groundlag chaired a five day workshop organized in Longgang and Shenzhen with the objective of pushing forward the development of Deep Ground Masterplan into the next design stage. The event included different stakeholders and decision makers within the political landscape of Longgang, as well as academics form ShenZhen University and members of Groundlab and InGame. The design team conducted a series of talks and discussions around strategic issues regarding design and management of public space, design concepts such as thickened ground and relational urbanism as well as infrastructure constraints.