box conversations series
Interdisciplinary conversations that bring together architects, artists, and thinkers with the aim of fostering the sharing of ideas that pertain to contemporary culture. As informal talks, these are meant to provide the right platform for provocateurs to catalyse new approaches toward local and international architecture and constructively contribute to the betterment of the built environment.
conversation001: 19.12.18 - architectural discourse today I
conversation002: 21.03.19 - architectural discourse today II
conversation003: 11.09.19 - a text catalogue conversation - housing
conversation004: 13.11.19 - conversation with Niki Young
box architecture practicum
A practicum, also known as a work placement, is designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn and apply their knowledge through practical means. Emphasizing the importance of learning by doing, it seeks to bridge the gap between university’s theoretical output and the real-world’s practical and functional priorities.
Box Concept Studio seeks to curate a network of like-minded people – from university students, to working and practicing architects and artists – to form new understandings of architecture and our surroundings. In this way, the work and energy found at a university level is not squandered or stilted but allowed to flourish and gain new dimensions as it is brought down to more real-world scenarios. This also allows the people practicing to guide and learn from such outputs, creating a more natural bridge and trading of knowledge between the two worlds.
Whereas Box Conversations focused on a more verbal and discursive approach to things, inherent in the formation of this new setup, Box Architecture Practicum seeks to tackle and discuss problems through the act of doing. In this manner, tools of thinking and conceptualizing will be put into practice, in order to creatively explore and solve different dimensions of architecture and the urban realms.
Therefore, the outcome seeks to be – for all intents and purposes – in a real context. In the form of a publication, it is something that can exist outside of the theoretical realms of university and discourse, and eventually be brought to the society and the public – further opening up untapped lines of discourse.
practicum001: 03.02.21 - a dialogue with UM M.Arch students
During the first part of the session, the students will be presenting their research and work, to be then discussed and developed during the second part of the session, moderated by JingYao Xu.
practicum002: 25.02.21 - what do you think?
“What do you think? The working of theory is often fraught and challenging, but an important step to understand it. For each paper we read, we are challenged to form a reaction, adapting theory to ourselves, our backgrounds and our situation today. Here I shall show a selection of tasks, presenting my practicum of theory, whilst also presenting future research for discussion. “ - Kristine Pace
practicum003: 11.03.21 - the process of computational design
“Making, in all its gloriously broad variants, is ultimately the relationship between materials and processes. The diversity of practices that are involved with, part of and born from traditions of making, be they described as engineering, architecture, craft, cookery or ceramics, have at their heart a shared passion for materiality, a delight for the transformative potential of stuff and an appreciation of the potential of tools.“ - Zoe Laughlin, 2020
In the wake of ever-growing ecological crises, we direct this spirit now towards reassessing our complex transactions with the earth, and in which digital technologies for design and making must form a crucially integral part. As such, the upcoming presentation discusses current cyber-physical processes in computational design and digital manufacturing by first contextualizing them within the original rise of cybernetic theory, and subsequently presenting a few examples undertaken at the ICD/ITKE in Stuttgart on how current trajectories for integrated design thinking and construction are hinting towards more sustainable practices.
practicum004: 25.03.21 - workshop
"Steve C Montebello, Urban Designer & Architect with a passion for bettering our world through design and innovation. With professional experience and education in the world of architecture and urban design, my academic and professional interests include an understanding of providing high urban environmental quality in cities, with a focus on active mobility.
The presentation would focus on the recent proposal at Msida Creek, - in particular An Urban Form Analysis carried out at the Creek - in order to understand how the use of urban space has changed over time, and to see the current vehicular infrastructure proposal in the historical context.
I seek to provide the general public, decision makers, and locals with empirical data to inform their support or criticism of the proposed Msida Creek vehicle infrastructure flyover project. In particular, I wish to bring to light the chronic loss of public space to the vehicle over time."
practicum005: 22.04.21 - dissecting the OOO Philosophy / JingYao Xu
Following this discussion, JingYao Xu will be giving his views on Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO). This part of the session will aim to bring closer the Philosophical understanding of the term to Architecture in preparation of the event featuring Graham Harman.
practicum006: 06.05.21 - architecture meets philosophy: a conversation with Graham Harman
The Faculty for the Built Environment, in collaboration with Box Architecture Practicum, invites you to Architecture meets Philosophy: A Conversation with Graham Harman. The aim of the event is to study the relation between architecture and philosophy more generally, and Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) more specifically. This exploration shall take place through a conversation with Graham Harman, who is the founder of this vibrant and influential contemporary philosophical approach to architecture and other disciplines.
Graham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at SCI-Arc, in Los Angeles California. He is the author of numerous books, the most recent being Art and Objects, Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything, Speculative Realism: An Introduction, and Skirmishes: With Friends, Enemies, and Neutrals. In 2015, ArtReview named him as the 75th most influential person in the international art world, and in 2016 he was listed as one of the 50 most influential living philosophers in the world.
Niki Young lectures Philosophy at the University of Malta, Junior College. His areas of interest include 20th and 21st Century Continental Philosophy, Phenomenology, Aesthetics, Deconstruction, as well as the various forms of New Realism and Materialism currently being developed by a number of contemporary thinkers. He has contributed to a number of publications related to philosophy and contemporary art, the most recent one being “On Correlationism and the Philosophy of (Human) Access” (2020) and “Only Two Peas in a Pod: On the Overcoming of Ontological Taxonomies” (2021. Young’s current research focuses on the points of convergence and divergence between the work of Graham Harman and that of Jacques Derrida.
JingYao Xu is a practicing architect, creative director, and co-founder at box concept studio, Malta, established in 2016. He lectures in Architecture theory and Creative Design Processes in Architecture, and tutors design workshops to Master of Architecture students at the Faculty for the built Environment, University of Malta. He obtained his Master in Creativity and Innovation from the Edward de Bono Institute for Design and Development of Thinking, Malta. His 2007 dissertation merging philosophy, creativity, and architecture, titled Form Follows Concept (Systematic Generation of Architectural Concepts and ideas) is a topic which he continues to practice, research, and teach with passion.