[Re]phemeral | Intelligent Social Urbanism


Contemporary situational movements such as the makers revolution, do-it-yourself projects and social media integration have re-invented the paradigm of social production, bringing into question the added value of the top-down intelligence of architects. This project enforces that the role of the architect is not becoming obsolete, but that it is changing in coherence with the shift towards this model of distributed intelligence.

[Re]phemeral refers to an architecture which is based in ephemerality and collective intelligence. The architecture of [re]phemorality exhibits the capacity to respond to live data recorded through temporary installation, thus defining a participatory urbanism whose functional manifestation is a reflection of the constantly changing dynamics of the future city.

Video from the final term presentations of RS-I: Emergent Territories / Radical Region on June 20th, 2014


Bon Pastor Case Study

The Bon Pastor neighborhood in Barcelona acts as a platform for discussing the future of socially, politically and geographically marginalized communities. Successive rapid urban transformations have created a disparity between what they require of their city and what the city requires of them. Uniqueness leads to alienation, and strong identity to conflict with governing bodies.


What emerges are the decaying ruins of street life, and patterns of low education and skill level, poor environmental consciousness, recreation and health. This condition is an exemplary case of social exclusion, and will never be remedied through the strictly top-down approaches of gentrification. When viewed holistically through the contrasting lenses of city officials and Bon Pastor residents, it is clear that this social exclusion is directly tied to the architectural and cultural history of the site, highlighting a fundamental question in contemporary architecture: how can future cities integrate the social consciousness and cultural identity of a place the into the processes which change and morph them? To answer this question, the project follows five conceptual lines through which to derive a new urban typology for social inclusion in architecture.




Temporailty reflects the developmental grey zone which engulfs the Bon Pastor district, and its unclear future. The continued displacement of the people introduces new conditions under which the shared values of the community can be utilized for inducing collaboration



Connectivity (new digital media)

The community values present in Bon Pastor are a result of environmental, political and social conditions which have developed over time. New forms of digital connectivity can harness the power of the collective into shared vision




In this case, production is defined as quantified uniqueness, and increased social welfare through the means of universal participation. The option of combining individual strengths for community benefit can be explored through implementation of new urban strategies


BonPastor.Jornada-okupa.02 Jordi SecallsPhysicality

Attachment to the physical introduces the dichotomy of subjective and objective ownership. This condition directly relates to both public space usage and responsibility



Real-Time Feedback

This concept simply refers to the shortening of the time loop for information. This is a platform emerging in new urbanism, and can introduce possibilities for an integrated social architecture program




Urban Toolbox 

The new Urban Toolbox is a social architecture platform and typological  injection into the  fabric of the future city, also thought of as the ‘centre for emergent social behavior’. It’s intention is to be the receiver of real time data received through the installation of smart building components as ephemeral objects, structures and enclosures in the public space. Interaction with the Toolbox will be made possible through new digital interfaces such as mobile devices and public displays



The purpose of  Toolbox is to output a functional agenda through the proposition of temporary interventions in the public space. Catalog entries embody the conceptual pillars of this proposal, and are categorized into the following fields of implementation: (1) new cycles of production, (2) informal education, (3) recreation and sport, (4) social action, and (5) energy harvesting.



The data received is the quantified outputs of social welfare and community time-banked gain such as increased community involvement and informal gatherings, increased level of education and hire-ability, decreased poverty levels, environmental awareness and overall community health, knowledge and participation in simple construction, increased overall community safety levels and self-esteem in youth, women, and the elderly.




[Re]phemeral proposes that a smart urban materiality acts as the connective tissue in a new urbanism.

Hair of the City

Metaphorically, [Re]phemeral is inspired by hair as an evolutionary by-product. Hair is produced through the passing of dead cells within the body as they are replaced by new ones. Similarly, catalog outputs from the toolbox are derived through the collection of data acquired through the participation of the users.

HAIR_info sheet_ flexi-01

Physically, hair is a composite material which represents the two complementary physical properties of rigidity and flexibility, as well as high conductivity and combine-ability. Through the proposing of two hypothetical components under the concept of ‘hair’ we can provide materialized forms for the catalog.

PrintNEW TOOLBOX 07-01

When the connection is made between the ephemeral object and the iterative production of social gain and improved welfare, a new urbanism is born. A new collective memory emerges, one which is tied simultaneously tied to both the identity of an individual, and to the collective.









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