Reading Images Series: Beyond the City  

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

7 – 9 pm



#storefrontseries     #readingimages     #beyondthecity     @storefrontnyc


With Bruno Carvalho, Felipe Correa, Catherine Seavitt, and Marion Weiss


Transnational projects for resource extraction have motivated the development of massive infrastructural corridors. The strategic siting of mining towns, petrochemical encampments, and industrial developments aims to integrate vast geographical and political entities. These experiments promise to advance economic development on a national scale, but their influence on regional and urban constructs tests the agency of architecture and planning at smaller scales.


Colossal projects like the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), is one of the most ambitious transcontinental integration projects planned for South America, with the participation of twelve countries in the region. IIRSA serves as the point of departure for conversations about issues of territory, resource extraction urbanism, and transnational negotiations. What is the role of architecture in shaping territories defined by raw resources? How can architecture develop tools to operate beyond the bounds of the traditional metropolis?


Reading Images Series: Beyond the City invited a panel of architects and theorists to examine images of existing and projected urban settlements in the South American continent to reflect upon topics of knowledge transfer, Developmentalism, authorship, and territory.


Reading Images Series: Beyond the City was organized on the occasion of the launch of Beyond the City: Resource Extraction Urbanism in South America by Felipe Correa.


About the Book:

During the last decade, the South American continent has seen a strong push for transnational integration, initiated by the former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who (with the endorsement of eleven other nations) spearheaded the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), a comprehensive energy, transport, and communications network. The most aggressive transcontinental integration project ever planned for South America, the initiative systematically deploys ten east-west infrastructural corridors, enhancing economic development but raising important questions about the polarizing effect of pitting regional needs against the colossal processes of resource extraction.



Providing much-needed historical contextualization to IIRSA’s agenda, Beyond the City: Resource Extraction Urbanism in South America by Felipe Correa, ties together a series of spatial models and offers a survey of regional strategies in five case studies of often overlooked sites built outside traditional South American urban constructs.


Implementing the term “resource extraction urbanism,” Correa takes us from Brazil’s nineteenth-century regional capital city of Belo Horizonte to the experimental, circular, “temporary” city of Vila Piloto in Três Lagoas. In Chile, he surveys the mining town of María Elena. In Venezuela, he explores petrochemical encampments at Judibana and El Tablazo, as well as new industrial frontiers at Ciudad Guayana. The result is both a cautionary tale, bringing to light a history of societies that were “inscribed” and administered, and a perceptive examination of the agency of architecture and urban planning in shaping South American lives.


About the Author

Felipe Correa is a New York based Architect and Urbanist. He is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Urban Design Degree Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Correa is the author of multiple books including Beyond the City: Resource Extraction Urbanism in South America (University of Texas Press, 2016). In addition Correa is also the co-founder of Somatic Collaborative, a research based design practice, which focuses on a trans-scalar approach to architecture and urbanism. Somatic, has developed design projects and consultancies with the public and private sector in multiple cities and regions across the globe.



About the Participants


Bruno Carvalho:

Bruno Carvalho’s research and teaching interests range from the early modern period to the present, and include literature, culture, and the built environment, with emphasis in Latin American and Iberian contexts. He has published widely on topics related to poetry, film, architecture, cartography, city planning, environmental justice, race and racism. Carvalho’s Porous City: A Cultural History of Rio de Janeiro (2013) won the Brazilian Studies Association Roberto Reis Book Award in 2014. He is co-editor of O Livro de Tiradentes: Transmissão atlântica de ideias políticas no século XVIII (2013), Occupy All Streets: Olympic Urbanism and Contested Futures in Rio de Janeiro (2016), and Essays on Hilda Hilst: Between Brazil and World Literature (2017). Currently, he is working on two new books: the first is tentatively titled Partial Enlightenments: Race, Cities, and Nature in the Luso-Brazilian Eighteenth Century. The second, The Future Revisited, will examine how designers, writers and artists have imagined urban futures in Brazil. At Princeton he is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, co-director of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities, and Associated Faculty in African American Studies, Architecture, Comparative Literature, Latin American Studies, and Urban Studies.


Catherine Seavitt:

Catherine Seavitt Nordenson is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the City College of New York and principal of Catherine Seavitt Studio, a practice integrating the design of landscape and infrastructure. A registered architect and landscape architect, she is a graduate of the Cooper Union and Princeton University, a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for study in Brazil. Her research includes design adaptation to sea level rise in urban coastal environments, as well as the novel transformation of landscape restoration practices given the dynamics of climate change. She is also interested in the intersection of political power, environmental activism, and public health, particularly as seen through both the design of public space and the written word. Her current work on the depositions of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, delivered during his tenure as cultural counselor during the military dictatorship in Brazil, examines this narrative of cultural construction, environmental conservation, and nationalist political power. Seavitt Nordenson’s forthcoming book with the University of Texas Press examines Burle Marx’s early didactic public parks as well as his role as advisor to the military regime in Brazil from 1966-1974.


Marion Weiss:

Marion Weiss is the Graham Chair Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the co-founder of WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, a multidisciplinary design practice based in New York City known for the dynamic integration of architecture, art, infrastructure, and landscape. Noted projects include the Olympic Sculpture Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Visitor Center, Barnard’s Diana Center, and Penn’s Center for Nanotechnology. Current projects include the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and a research and development hub for Cornell Tech’s groundbreaking new campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

Weiss has also taught design studios at Harvard University, Cornell University, and was the EeroSaarinen Visiting Professor at Yale University. She has been honored with the Academy Award for Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices Award, Harvard’s International VR Green Urban Design Award, the New York AIA Gold Medal of Honor, and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Louvre, and the Guggenheim Museum. Weiss received her Master of Architecture at Yale University. She is a fellow of the AIA and a National Academy inductee.



Storefront’s programming is made possible through general support from Arup; DS+R; F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.; Gaggenau; KPF; MADWORKSHOP; ODA; Roger Ferris + Partners; the Foundation for Contemporary Arts; The Greenwich Collection Ltd.; the Lily Auchincloss Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Peter T. Joseph Foundation; and by Storefront’s Board of Directors, members, and individual donors.