Niche Tactics: Generative Relationships Between Architecture and Site

by Caroline O'Donnell (Author)

A snippet from Ingraham’s Foreword:

“…O’Donnell’s book provides very sharp insights into what it might mean to draw, as an architect or urban designer, in order to draw out, in an ecological sense, the ‘missing perspectives’ of diverse and com­plex contexts in past, contemporary, and future architectural work.”

Niche Tactics aligns architecture's relationship with site with its ecological analogue: the relationship between an organism and its environment.

Bracketed between texts on giraffe morphology, ecological perception, ugliness, and hopeful monsters, architectural case studies investigate historical moments when relationships between architecture and site were productively intertwined, from the anomalous city designs of Francesco de Marchi in the sixteenth century to Le Corbusier’s near eradication of context in his Plan Voisin in the twentieth century to the more recent contextualist movements. Extensively illustrated with 140 drawings and photographs, Niche Tactics considers how attention to site might create a generative language for architecture today.

Interview with Routledge :

Micro-Exhibition hosted by Terreform ONE | BASF Creator Space™


By 2050, there will be more than nine billion people living on Earth, primarily in cities. The needs of the growing world population for good living conditions, energy and food can only be met through innovations. Terreform ONE, a non-profit design group that promotes smart design in cities will host a series of exploratory and radical proposals for development of these smart cities. These proposals address the ecologies of cities, systems and objects at a number of different scales and incorporate contemporary bio-design methods.

A reception with a panel talk about the pieces and the trends they relate to will be held in the evening on May 28.


>> More about Terreform ONE



Emerging Voices: Gabriela Etchegaray and Jorge Ambrosi; Neri Oxman

Emerging Voices
Gabriela Etchegaray and Jorge Ambrosi, AMBROSI | ETCHEGARAY, Mexico City
Neri Oxman, Mediated Matter Group, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge
Introduced by Billie Tsien


1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs

The final evening of the annual Emerging Voices lecture series features Gabriela Etchegaray and Jorge Ambrosi of AMBROSI | ETCHEGARAY and Neri Oxman of Mediated Matter Group, MIT Media Lab. Emerging Voices spotlights individuals and firms based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.

Jorge Ambrosi and Gabriela Etchegaray founded Mexico City-based AMBROSI | ETCHEGARAY in 2011. The firm considers “architecture in harmony with nature, where earth, gravity and light must be present.” Current projects include Papalote Museo del Niño, an outdoor “museography-landscape,” as well as a collaboration with GMexico Mine Company to build cultural plazas and sports infrastructure in local communities. For more on AMBROSI | ETCHEGARAY, click here.

Neri Oxman founded Mediated Matter Group at the MIT Media Lab in 2010. Concerned with how “digital design and fabrication technologies mediate between matter and environment to radically transform the design and construction of objects, buildings, and systems,” Mediated Matter Group’s research merges “computational form-finding strategies with biologically inspired fabrication.” For more on Mediated Matter Group, click here.

Billie Tsien is the partner and founder of Tod Williams Billie Tsein Architects. She is the president of The Architectural League and served on this year’s Emerging Voices committee.



Time & Place

Thursday, March 26, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Scholastic Auditorium
557 Broadway
New York


This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good | MOMA

FEBRUARY 14, 2015–JANUARY 01, 2016



MOMA press release:

This exhibition takes its title from the Twitter message that British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web) used to light up the stadium at the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic games in London. His buoyant tweet highlighted the way that the Internet—perhaps the most radical design experiment of the last quarter century—has created limitless possibilities for the discovery, sharing, and expansion of knowledge and information.

As we revel in this abundant possibility, we sometimes forget that new technologies are not inherently democratic. Is design in the digital age—so often simply assumed to be for the greater good—truly for everyone? From initial exploratory experiments to complex, and often contested, hybrid digital-analog states to “universal” designs, This Is for Everyoneexplores this question with design works from MoMA’s collection that celebrate the promise—and occasional flipside—of contemporary design.

Organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Michelle Millar Fisher, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

Architecture and Design Collection Exhibitions are made possible by Hyundai Card and Hyundai Capital America.


Venice Architecture Biennale Panel + Exhibition Opening

from the New School:

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm 

Glass Corner, Parsons East Building 
25 East 13th Street, Room E206,
New York, NY 10003


Parsons School of Constructed Environments presents an overview of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, with members of the United States Pavilion team:

 - Eva Franch Gilabert, Commissioner and Curator, of Storefront for Art and Architecture

 - Chris Leong, Exhibition Designers of Leong Leong.

This event will celebrate the opening of the SCE Gallery Exhibit: Venice Biennale 2014, the “Fundamentals of Architecture” and "Absorbing Modernism,” a survey of 
the exhibitions in this year's Biennale.


"In today’s postdigital world, artists are using these means to achieve levels of expression never before possible – an explosive, unprecedented scope of artistic expression that extends from sculptural fantasy to functional beauty.  'Out of Hand' will be the first major museum exhibition to to consider the impact of these new, revolutionary methods of computer-assisted manufacture on fine art, design, and architecture, and will introduce the public to the imaginative expression that these emerging processes enable."


VolumeDror Benshetrit, 2009

Subdivided Column, Dror Bes & Michael Hansmeyer, 2010


Mathematical Model 009: Surface of revolution with constant negative curvature, Hiroshi Sugimoto, 2006


WheelsClawsTeeth, Elena van Gent, 2006


Cape and Skirt, Neri Oxman + Iris van Herpen, 2013

Hyphae Pendant Lamps, Nervous System, 2013