Vol. 11 Regeneration
CALL FOR PAPERS
Alexandra Khomenko and Abbey O'Regan, Regeneration: Mycelium (Fusarium Euwallaceae), 2023. Graphic. Image courtesy of Protasov AN.
Our cities and built environment exist within a narrative of growth. But they also exist within a narrative that is constantly rewriting itself in a context of economic changes, resource shortages and ongoing consequences of the climate crisis. Carl Elefante claimed, well over a decade ago, that “the greenest building is one that already exists.”(1) It is a well cited fact that the construction industry consumes half of all raw materials extracted annually by humans and accounts for 40% of the global CO2 footprint.(2) The decades old practice of demolishing existing buildings and replacing them with new ones has proved to be the wrong path. As we grapple with the challenges of resource scarcity and navigate a dynamically changing world, it is incumbent upon us to explore alternative avenues for gauging growth. In light of this, Inflection vol. 11 proposes to direct conversations to an embrace of architectural regeneration.
In biological terms, regeneration denotes the ability to renew, restore, or grow tissues in organisms and ecosystems in harmony with natural fluctuations. It implies a renewal rather than simply restoration. Applied to design, it necessitates a shift in our inherent modes of thinking to accommodate similar reciprocities that address the renewal of space, function, and resources. Regenerative architecture, more than an isolated goal of the sustainable development agenda (such as reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, or restore), is a whole-scale practice, a framework, an overarching model. This proposal seeks to not only explore the multifaceted paradigms that emerge from regenerative architecture such as biocentric design, regenerative building strategies, and (re)construction processes, but also explore deeper regenerative ideas of place that addresses cultural and social parameters of a given context, and the tectonic implications of this approach.
A starting point for our questioning could very well begin in the realm of biomimicry. Are unconventional materials and building technologies the answer to traditional modes of thinking where structures are “crafted to endure”? Bio and geo-sourced materials present innovative and ecologically beneficial technical solutions. By melding earth and plant fibers, we celebrate the art of resource integration, an approach that has stood the test of time. This underscores the significance of constructive intelligence, advocating for precise material application in the right places. In our ever-evolving architectural context, we must consider design concepts that foster natural growth within urban environments. How can waste materials be repurposed to create habitats? How can we improve biodiversity with more than just green walls? With reference to conversations from projects such as the ARCH+ Salon: Building with Nature – A Systemic Transition To Bio-based Building Materials and Methods and the Bauhaus Earth-Fellowship Program, we advocate for a systemic transition towards bio-based building materials and methods, thereby challenging the conventional aesthetic-centric architectural paradigm.
At a construction level, how does seeing our buildings as regenerative entities affect the way we design and build? The Global South has long had a culture of re-use, re-appropriation, innovation, collaboration and adaptation due to issues of scarcity. Can we implement concepts from studios like Natura Futura in Ecuador and Elemental in Chile in a local context? Melbourne based practice Barraco + Wright focuses their work, for example, on the repair of ecologies by shifting the traditional process of how buildings are conceived. The extensive use of lightweight materials such as polycarbonate sheets to rehabilitate ecologies in the Garden House breaks traditional notions of architecture looking after its own interest in material theory (3).
In a similar acknowledgement of resource scarcity and the necessities of replenishment, how can we improve our cities for positive transformation without demolishing to construct? Does maintenance constitute a regeneration project in its own right, and is world-mending different from world-building? We are seeing a growing call for circular design strategies and regenerative construction approaches that fall in line with the reuse and maintenance of the existing, rather than its demolition or replacement through ‘virgin’ materials. Adaptive reuse and conversion projects are becoming more commonplace in Australia, but the reuse of existing building stock is only ever enforced on a legislative level in relation to pre-existing heritage frameworks. Whose responsibility therefore is it to push for renewal and conversion, or even follow the footsteps of precedents from abroad and take on projects of maintenance, disassembly, and innovative reconstruction? The architect, client, builder, developer, or governing bodies? What approaches should we take for ‘less desirable’ building stock that avoids the temptation to simply knock down and start again? Projects that have emerged in light of Europe’s construction and demolition waste management protocol provide potential references, such as Lacaton + Vassal’s transformation of 530 dwellings in Bordeaux, France; 3XN’s Circle House prototype in Denmark; or Bauburo in Situ’s extension of a former factory with mainly pre-used building materials in Winterthur, Switzerland (4).
Regeneration as a mode of thinking should also be sensitive to socio-cultural contexts. How can regenerative approaches to the existing building stock acknowledge the post-colonial context in which they take place? What role does the notion of architectural regeneration play in the conservation of colonial era heritage buildings? In Australia, Indigenous knowledges are embedded within natural ecosystems; the diversion and removal of land meant taking away traditional knowledges. In light of global conversations around Indigenous treaties, can our built environment adapt these buildings to creatively mediate and reveal tensions of postcolonial universality with Indigenous knowledges? (5)
This issue of Inflection calls for practitioners, academics and students to focus on the physical, material, cultural and symbolic regenerative properties of architecture, with a particular focus to reopen the conversation through a lens of ecologies, (re)construction, sustainable degrowth agendas, and Designing for Country (in Australia) or Indigenous cultures (internationally). We advocate for an architectural future that lies beyond its traditional boundaries, and encourage both architectural and non-architectural responses alike.
Inflection vol. 11 editors welcome full-paper drafts of academic pieces (up to 4,500 words), drafts of practice oriented pieces (up to 1000 words), drafts of fictional pieces (up to 500 words) and visual artworks interpreting and exploring ideas of regeneration and its influence on architecture, design and urban planning today.
We accept submissions for projects and full-length draft pieces for consideration at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, 8th April 2024.
Carl Elefante, “The Greenest Building Is…One That Is Already Built,” Forum Journal 27, no. 1 (2012), 62-72, https://doi.org/10.1353/fmj.2012.a494514.
Miller, Norman, “The Industry Creating a Third of The World’s Waste,” BBC Future Planet, 16 December 2021, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20211215-the-buildings-made-from-rubbish.,
Louise Wright, “Architecture Sharing Space,” Antennae: Journal of Nature in Visual Culture 56 (Autumn 2021): 46 - 54, https://www.academia.edu/68448550/Antennae_Issue_56_Species_and_Spaces.
European Commission, EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol, 09 September 2016, https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/20509/.
Margo Neale, “Knowledge in Country and the Third Archive,” in Songlines: The Power and Promise, eds. Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly (Port Melbourne: Thames and Hudson, 2020), 45-47.
Submissions must adhere to the Inflection referencing style guides and image requirements, as outlined below:
Referencing Style Guide
In general, Inflection uses the Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition) as a guide for grammar, punctuation and referencing. The Chicago Manual of Style is available online to subscribers at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org. A freely available citation guide can be found at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html, or through the University of Melbourne’s citation tool, http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/recite/citations/chicago/generalNotes.html. When preparing work for publication in Inflection, we ask that authors follow the Chicago Manual as closely as possible to maintain stylistic consistency and ensure all work is fully referenced. Inflection uses Australian or British English spelling, and asks that authors prepare their work accordingly.
Inflection uses endnotes in preference to footnote or in-text citation. When preparing work for submission, please make sure that notes are formatted as endnotes. A separate bibliography is not necessary. In general, the basic format for referencing in Inflection is as follows: Given Name Surname, Title (Location: Publisher, Date), page number(s).
In general, references should be as concise as possible. For example, only a city name is needed when referencing a place of publication – the country or state of publication is not required.
In the second and subsequent note to a previously referenced text, a short form reference should be used, in the following format: Surname, Title, page number-page number.
When a reference is immediately followed in the endnote sequence by an identical reference, use: Ibid.
Where the next reference is from a different page of the same text, the correct format is: Ibid., page number(s).
Under Inflection’s endnote referencing style, notes will typically not occur on the same page as their reference number. For this reason, we recommend that contributors avoid using notes for supplementary remarks. Where possible, comments should be incorporated into the body in parentheses.
Images must be (ideally) 300dpi and in TIFF format. For black and white images, the colour profile must be set to grayscale, and for colour images, the profile must be set to CMYK. This can be adjusted in Adobe Photoshop (Image>Mode).