Participants in the Pamphlet Architecture 30 competition were asked to respond to the theme "Investigations in Infrastructure," and propose new directions for architecture, transportation, energy, cities, and agriculture at a continental scale. The winning entry, Coupling, imagined six daring projects: a high-speed rail system across the Bering Strait that also collects freshwater from the seasonal iceshelf; a decommissioned airport transformed into a geothermal data farm and agriculture site; thickening on/off ramps around "big box" stores into circular parking lots; a call to include landfills in the list of preserved open spaces; and a saline terminal lake turned into a water farm, recreational retreat, and habitat haven. Coupling argues that infrastructures behave as artificially maintained natural systems. Rather than a New Deal approach of massive engineering or iconic infrastructure, Coupling employs adaptable, responsive, small-scale interventions whose impacts are global in scale.
"The 30th installment in this canonical series is thankfully a great one, authored by Lateral Office and InfraNet Lab, a design firm and its attendant research blog that I've been following for many years....It's a solid pamphlet, both practical and imaginativemade even more provocative by its implied feasibilityand a fantastic choice for the 30th edition of this long-running series."
"In many respects Coupling defines an architectural vision (or one architectural vision) of the 21st century, merging an expanded view of the architects role with the increased scope and opportunities that new data provides design practice. In a time when Daniel Burnham's addage of "make no small plans" seems almost naive in the wake of economic collapse, Coupling argues that going big or going home is the only way forward in a new landscape of information driven architecture."
"Proposes a new definition of the public sphere."