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Mitchell Joachim - Quotes

The cipher of ecological design science has yet to be decoded.
Joachim, Mitchell.

Floating in our primordial soup is an inherent desire to imagine manifold events of wonderment.
Joachim, Mitchell.

Do you know what one million more trees will do to carbon loading in the atmosphere? Nothing.
Joachim, Mitchell.

I give a voice for people and things that can't necessarily speak for themselves, like trees and wildlife. Or the residents of Harlem.
Joachim, Mitchell.

Design everything at once from every possible origin to every possible ending. Ecological Code is not only boundless individual points of departure but resultants of a dominating generality.
Joachim, Mitchell.

A delegation of clichés prescribing the end is already here, the ecological society, which has formed around the possibility of the end, through pollution, through various floods, the greenhouse effect, etc. Hence, alarming criteria makes up the roots of an environmentalist debate. Now, the gravity of industrial accidents renders the appearance of an eschatological society possible, a society of the end.
Joachim, Mitchell.

Twentieth-century modernism attempted a radical reinvention of architectural design somewhat hesitantly at first, joining forces in forging a highly rational, functionalist, purportedly style-free vocabulary. But in the end, as Postmodernists disavowed its maxim “form follows function” aesthetic, Modernism, too, became a style, a design option rather than a mandate. Theories of sustainability fit within American values by aligning their concepts with the pulses of the time. Consequently bromides operating by themselves are bounded by the period of their invention. Instead of taking them at face value, eco-designers will need to add to their profundity by investigating there relationship to present day environmental sciences.
Joachim, Mitchell.

After implementing environmental standards, why does green architecture look so bland? Passive cooling, low flush toilets, and harvested lumber do not foreground evocative design. During the last two decades, the prevalent challenge for the sustainable design movement in the United States has been to sluggishly modify the behavior of the developers, architects, and planners responsible for the sizable majority of new projects. From this outlook, it's not salient ensembles but uniform conventions that ought to stand as the peak objective for green advocates. I’ve considered such standardized aspirations as limiting and myopic.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Tilling Education: An Eco-Tech Aesthetic Approach." (Research Proposal) in: Archinode Studio.

How can design complement our creative judgment and account for the environment? What does it take to re-create the "Bilbao effect" (artifact as stimulating catharsis) ecologically? The profession has to restructure its pedagogical goals, particularly assuming a balance and responsibility of giving aspirants a sufficiently bona fide command of environmental studies (Frampton). It is through formal education, as a conscious effort by design society to impart the skills and receptivity considered essential for social environmental dwelling. I propose to create a curriculum to educate professionals on the sensibilities of green design.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Tilling Education: An Eco-Tech Aesthetic Approach." (Research Proposal) in: Archinode Studio.

A proposition of development conforming to regional goals and subsequent conservation principals can enhance our environment and withstand all anticipated growth. Reducing our human impact on the earth is paramount, essential, and quantifiable. The maximum population of a species that can be sustained indefinitely in a given habitat is defined as a carrying capacity. Fully loaded, it anticipates the energy-embodied needs of future generations. This ecological footprint is based on a finite flow of natural income produced in our biosphere.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Tilling Education: An Eco-Tech Aesthetic Approach." (Research Proposal) in: Archinode Studio.

Making ecologies visible in the education of design technology and practice is vastly significant. These are the didactics for designing sustainability and tracing the path of nature.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Tilling Education: An Eco-Tech Aesthetic Approach." (Research Proposal) in: Archinode Studio.

Cultivate explorations of deep ecology to retrieve the wisdom in mosaics, connectivity, biodiversity, patches, and matrices.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Tilling Education: An Eco-Tech Aesthetic Approach." (Research Proposal) in: Archinode Studio.

The first signal of humanist intent is our complex ensemble of education. Any good edification demands a theory of possibilities and interpretations. It seeks a genius loci revealed in both the struggle and the fellowship of numerous augmented assemblies. Designing across scales from turbulent urban regions to backyard gardens requires a filter of reason. It is my plan to qualify and disseminate these egalitarian practices of design with the natural science of ecology. Qualified by techno-scientific methods and routines, it is vital to admit that the practice of architecture is still at length a craft.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Tilling Education: An Eco-Tech Aesthetic Approach." (Research Proposal) in: Archinode Studio.

Our purpose is to devise a revolutionary test for ourselves. Test our civilizations metabolic rate. Test our society's constitution. Test ourselves against the prophets of the machines. Test the fires that burn the seemingly immutable. Test our billion years of incidental evolution against a single second long shrug from mother earth. Count the constellations and ask yourself: How do we matter?
Joachim, Mitchell. "Ecological Code: A Collage of Quantum Informatics in Living Automata Cities." in: Archinode Studio.

The romantization of the machine in the garden is associated with patterning dysfunctional moral certitude. Urban humanist ecology becomes some precious few blades of grass choking in a cracked inter-borough sidewalk.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Ecological Code: A Collage of Quantum Informatics in Living Automata Cities." in: Archinode Studio.

Leo Marx articulates the pastoral ideal intertwined with technological dwelling. The pastoral ideal, in contrast to primitivism, highlights the ideal of the mix of nature and culture -- a resolution to the conflict between these different poles. This ideal is complicated by the varying definitions of nature and the city. The city, as a bastion of civilization, is frequently maligned by pastoral writers (Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Shakespeare) as the source of corruption and disease.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Ecological Code: A Collage of Quantum Informatics in Living Automata Cities." in: Archinode Studio.

Ecological history underscores our terrestrial issues. How much and how fast has the climate changed? How far are such changes man-induced? Is nature in balance? Are humans helpless to stem -- or bound to alter -- natural processes? Has humanity on the whole improved or spoiled the Earth? In what sense do environmental misuse and reform matter? Today's ecological concerns trigger these essentially historical questions.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Ecological Code: A Collage of Quantum Informatics in Living Automata Cities." in: Archinode Studio.

We must rise to the inalienability of a neo-biological civilization of heterarchic, and poloymorpic information. Cities need to change their role in recognition of ecology. Ecological resources used in cities are not resources but they are our relatives. Cities are in kinship with Ecological Code. Everything is used in designing an ecological city. We can no longer throw things (resources), away there is no "away". "Away has gone away," as Gertrude Stein places it. Cities, as extended organisms of humans, must be held responsible in a world of nature, akin to nature.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Ecological Code: A Collage of Quantum Informatics in Living Automata Cities." in: Archinode Studio.

One of the many projects we are working on in Tereform, Tereform ONE, is to rethink New York City, to look at New York City as if it was 100% self-sufficient; New York City with no inputs or outputs. Imagine this place where the only thing that would come and go would be culture but waste, water food would all be produced inside the confines of New York City proper, within side of its geopolitical structure. So what would the reification of the city look like?
Joachim, Mitchell. "A Self-Sufficient New York." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

So, we would change the landscape, for instance, of Central Park to have some of these vertical farms which are towers that contain lots of food ... that can feed 30,000 to 80,000 people per tower.
Joachim, Mitchell. "A Self-Sufficient New York." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

Instead of covering Brooklyn and all of Statin Island with solar panels we propose putting them on rooftops, and logically, integrating them with other kinds of renewable sources to produce energy, newer technology, or renewable technology such as wind turbox or wave harvesting, etc. The idea here is to think about New York in a kind of provocative-like design or urban design statement.
Joachim, Mitchell. "A Self-Sufficient New York." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

So, having a prototype city like New York being completely self-sufficient, especially when it comes to its energy, waste, food, etc, would be a salient example, so that others can get the idea of how to do it, and do it right, and do it green.
Joachim, Mitchell. "A Self-Sufficient New York." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

Well, when we're thinking about making New York City completely self-sufficient it's really a theoretical proposition. The actual changing of a city takes an incredible amount of time. For instance, if you think of telecommunications, technology, the cell phone takes about 5 - 7 years before everyone starts to buy into this new technology. Landlines were replaced with cell phones in about 5 - 7 years. Technology ramped it up really quick and leap-frogged the prior technology because it wasn't as good. Vehicle design, car design, take about 15 - 20 years before we see a paradigm shift in vehicles themselves, in those objects. The scales of economy are a lot larger than telecommunications. Architectural technology takes even longer than cars, that's about 40 years before you see a massive shift ...
Joachim, Mitchell. "A Self-Sufficient New York." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

The city, as a project, takes the longest time to change. So we think of telecommunications, to automobiles, to buildings, and finally to the city, the largest scale takes about 100 - 150 years to see these kinds of effects fully implemented in cities. So this project about thinking of a self-sufficient Manhattan is a 100-year thought. It's actually a polemic, in kind of a greater primordial suit of polemics ...
Joachim, Mitchell. "A Self-Sufficient New York." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

The term sustainability, I have a slight issue with ... when I think of sustainability I think of baseball. But not really good baseball. I think of a team like the Chicago Cubs. A team that is sustaining itself, a team that can play, you know, in the major leagues, but doesn't really win any games, doesn't win so much, doesn't evolve, doesn't change, doesn't have too many heroes, it's not a breathing growing constantly nurturing beautiful organism, it's just kind of a group that gets by, it gets by to the next game, and the next game, and the next game, and it's not enough ... You would never associate the New York Yankees with being a sustainable baseball team.
Joachim, Mitchell. "The Shortcomings of Sustainability." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

So I would think that if we're going to call a movement "sustainability" it's a little too dry. I think that a choice I would often use is socio-ecological. And yes, it's a mouthful but I think it describes the problem in two major sectors. One it's about social justice and the policies associated with it. And two it's about ecological science. Because these are big problems we're trying to answer we need to look at specific sets of science that can help us solve them, and I don't think a term like sustainability does that so well. It's more a philosophy as well as a science, as well as a kind of attitude, and it's really an umbrella for too much. Whereas ecology is a very specific science that looks at areas in a landscape ...has serious proposals and suppositions are much clearer answers.
Joachim, Mitchell. "The Shortcommings of Sustainability." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

Socio-ecological terms mixed together allows you to accept the fact that science is never going to be the answer, science is not a silver-bullet. You will need human activity and the kind of culture associated with how we live on this earth and the governments that work with us to accept that change is going to happen, but it's going to happen through many different characters and actors and agents working together. And so socioecological design would describe the field that I work in.
Joachim, Mitchell. "The Shortcommings of Sustainability." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

I've been called a futurist by many folks out there, um, I'm comfortable with the label. I think that as an architect and an urban designer, it's our job to be clairvoyant, it's our job to propose something that doesn't exist. It's the amount of time, or scale of time, that that proposal situates itself in, that maybe makes me a futurist more than just an architect.
Joachim, Mitchell. "The Practicality of Big Ideas." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

Is the work we are doing impractical? I would say no because it's based on current problems, it's based on real-world everyday issues, they are big issues, and I think that because they are big issues there's a fear about making big moves or gestures to solve them. So when I hear that our work is impractical, I often paraphrase John F. Kennedy. And he said that 'if man created problems, man can solve them.' So if this problem is really big, our energy crisis, climate change etc. we are going to need solutions that match that scale. So I don't think we are being impractical, I just think we're putting as many ideas out there as we can, and concepts that are hopefully grounded in off-the-shelf technologies and proven thoughts from some time ago that can make this change happen.
Joachim, Mitchell. "The Practicality of Big Ideas." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

If I was to talk about a practical answer to dealing with our energy crisis in the United States, I would agree with the Obama Administration. I would say every American should just change the lightbulbs, and weatherize the buildings...
Joachim, Mitchell. "The Practicality of Big Ideas." (Video) in: Big Think. No Date.

The work at Tereform ONE falls under these kind of three meta-themes which is the idea of the city, ecology and mobility, which leads to a new theory of design which is called ecotrancology ... The designer thinks about all aspects of the city. So it's not limited to scale, not limited to some kind silo of design, but thinking about design in all aspects.
Joachim, Mitchell and Rachel Armstrong. "We Write This to You From The Distant Future." (Video) in: Digital Art @ Google Show. October 1, 2010.

We want the future to be fabulous, and I think that's what we are getting at. At some point it's gotta be, not only an aesthetic driver, but it's gotta be a place that we've always wanted to get to and of course that's kind of a collective mind, a collective mindset.
Joachim, Mitchell and Rachel Armstrong. "We Write This to You From The Distant Future." (Video) in: Digital Art @ Google Show. October 1, 2010.

At MIT, where I did my doctoral research, we were kind of charged with designing the car of the future. I thought that was, well, a crappy idea because the future eventually will happen we'll look at our cars ten years from now it will be slightly anachronistic or lackable. So, we wanted to design technologies, sort of lexicon of ideas that will fit every vehicle everywhere.
Joachim, Mitchell and Rachel Armstrong. "We Write This to You From The Distant Future." (Video) in: Digital Art @ Google Show. October 1, 2010.

Here's one of many iterations that we performed; looking at taking those wheels and applying it to various kinds of structural systems, canopy systems, and network systems. So here we have what we call, something called the "City Car", it is a stackable car, it is a shared ownership model so you don't own it, you buy into it like a utility or zip car. The frame articulates or stands up reducing its footprint by 33%. The next car comes in and interlocks with that vehicle. And you can stack about 330 of these on a New York city block as opposed to 34 SUV's. It's a Facebook on wheels. It's a drive-by-wire technology; there's no mechanical linkages, you can take the middle car, if you so desire it, because the stack can part in the center if you need it. And doesn't have any information like the speed that you're going in, it just likes to find out where your friends are, you tell it that that's where you want to go and off it goes. It solves what we call the last five-kilometer problem.
Joachim, Mitchell and Rachel Armstrong. "We Write This to You From The Distant Future." (Video) in: Digital Art @ Google Show. October 1, 2010.

So now we are designing cars to fit cities, not the 20th century designed around the car but forms and mobility to fit specific contexts, in this case, the city.
Joachim, Mitchell and Rachel Armstrong. "We Write This to You From The Distant Future." (Video) in: Digital Art @ Google Show. October 1, 2010.

Why grow homes? Because we can. Right now America is in a unremitting state of trauma and there's a cause for that. We've got McPeople, McCars, McHouses, and as an architect I have to confront something like that.
Joachim, Mitchell. "Don't Build Your Home, Grow it!" (Video) in: Ted Talk. February 2010.

America is the lead creator of waste on the earth making approximately 30% of the world's trash and tossing .8 tons per U.S. Citizen per year. Ungracefully, our American value system is somewhat distressed. It seems value has devolved into feats of rampant affluenza and mega products scaled for super-sized franchised brands, big box retail, XXXL jumbo paraphernalia, etc., encapsulating a joint race for ubiquity and instantaneity in the U.S. mindset.
Joachim, Mitchell. “Housing for the 21st Century; Urban Refuse, Housing & Wall-E." in: eVolo magazine. Issue 01, Fall 2009, pp.62-63. (English).

Where does it all end up? Gertrude Stein has cleverly pointed out; "away has gone away". The first step we must take is reduction; meaning massive discontinuation of objects designed for obsolescence. Then we need a radical reuse plan. Our waste crisis is immense, what is our call to action?
Joachim, Mitchell. “Housing for the 21st Century; Urban Refuse, Housing & Wall-E." in: eVolo magazine. Issue 01, Fall 2009, pp.62-63. (English).