Letter from Rem Koolhaas to Miuccia Prada, 1999. Courtesy of OMA. Exhibited in "The Other Architect," at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

Letter from Rem Koolhaas to Miuccia Prada, 1999. Courtesy of OMA. Exhibited in “The Other Architect,” at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

“Conflicts of interest” are said to compromise the impartiality of research, but what would it mean to be disinterested? Ethical codes warn us that researchers’ objectivity can be corrupted by a clashing set of interests—those of funding agencies, clients and publics, as well as researchers’ self-interest in professional advancement or personal gain. If the resolution of such conflicts might typically call for avoidance, recusal or disclosure, what would such strategies mean for the design disciplines and research on the built environment? What varied interests, expressed in the form of money or other manifestations of influence, do designers contend with? Who does impartiality protect, and when are conflicts of interest productive?

Issue 05 asks how researchers define an ethics of interest and disinterest across diverse structures of research funding. How do designers reify, leverage, alter or sidestep the constraints of financial support, and from what vantage points? How is the value of research assessed, and in what marketplaces?

Beyond the automotive industry’s role in the Federal-Aid Highway Act or BP’s now-defunct sponsorship of the Tate Modern, even the most speculative work is governed by the economics of research. Universities shape niche publishing industries by determining tenure criteria and create new structures for commercialization as student debts escalate. Government agencies and NGOs issue grants captured from local tax bases or global markets to test ever-changing definitions of welfare, social justice and development. Even Silicon Valley-style start-ups and crowd-funding campaigns rely on licensing and liability protocols developed within the service professions. From philanthropy to profit, and from patronage to entrepreneurship, we hope to examine how researchers locate their role in directing the systemic reach of such funding structures.

We seek thoughtful and playful approaches to applied research in the built environment. Contributions may include opinion pieces, research papers on pivotal moments from a history of applied research, speculative drawing series about the protocols of research practice or photo essays on research projects. For this issue especially, we welcome opportunities to publish interviews with representatives of foundations, government agencies and design practices. Articles are not limited in length (600-2000 words, recommended) and can be published as text, photo essays, videos or other media. Contributors are encouraged to demonstrate techniques and protocols in meticulous detail. Eligibility to contribute is not limited by institutional affiliation or area of expertise.

To apply, email the following in one pdf document to editors@arpajournal.net:
– Title and subtitle
– Author name and 50-word bio
– Abstract describing context, argument and intended format and length of your proposed contribution, 300 words max.
– Design or writing samples and website urls, optional.

Deadlines for Issue 05 are as follows:
– Sep 1 2016: Abstracts due (we will also review abstracts on a rolling basis throughout the summer of 2016, so feel free to send them in advance).
– Jan 9 2017: Contributions due (once selected).
– May 2017: Publication.

This symposium invited a diverse group of influential researchers to open their methodology to critical examination and discussion. By focusing on the how rather than the what of their particular research practices, the goal was to better understand the agency of research in architecture as well as its impact on other fields of knowledge.

Monday, March 30th
4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Brownie’s Cafe, 100 Avery Hall
Columbia University

4:00 PM Opening remarks by Dean Amale Andraos and Janette Kim
4:20 PM Practice in Research
Orit Halpern, New School for Social Research and Lang College
Hod Lipson, Cornell University Creative Machines Lab
Leah Meisterlin, moderator, Barnard+Columbia Architecture; Office:MG

6:00 PM Research in Practice
Andres Jaque, GSAPP; Office for Political Innovation
Michael Sorkin, CCNY Urban Design; Michael Sorkin Studio
Susanne Schindler, moderator, GSAPP; Buell Center

7:20 PM Summary discussion moderated by Diana Martinez
7:40 PM Reception

Hosted by Dean Amale Andraos and the Applied Research Practices in Architecture initiative at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. ARPA 2015 members: Janette Kim (Director), Diana Martinez (Instructor), Esteban de Backer, David I. Hecht, Alejandro Stein and Mike Che-Wei Yeh.


Cabaret Series: Ventriloquism
@ Storefront for Art and Architecture
7-9pm, Thursday, November 13 2014

In architecture, where research is everywhere and opinion comes easy, how do criticism and research speak to one another? Who are their publics and what are their modes of address? Avery Review and ARPA Journal are digital periodicals from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. Through lively writing and engaged critique, both eschew the boundaries of academia and practice, and argue for the urgency of new platforms for thinking about architecture. ARPA Journal presents applied research to examine the ethical implications of research practice, and spark ideas for its potential transformation. The Avery Review explores the critical essay as potent form for testing one’s own intellectual commitments though an engagement with the work of others.

In a cabaret reading, ARPA Journal and the Avery Review reenacted the voices that animate two forums of spirited public conversation. In these acts, critics and subjects will trade places, reading from and responding to the arguments and tactics of each other as a form of exchange. Performers in this evening of ventriloquism and reverie were: Amale Andraos, Carson Chan, Andrés Jaque, Jennifer Leung, Leah Meisterlin, Elliot Montgomery, and Julian Rose.

Video coming soon.