Holcim Foundation


Tales with footnotes from around the globe

Mirroring Effects – a book inspired by topics and locations of LafargeHolcim Forums

Marc Angélil and Cary Siress spent far more than 5,000 hours together over more than ten years working on stories that have now been published by Ruby Press Berlin. Mirroring Effects: Tales of Territory features case studies that take readers around the world. The 1,000-page oeuvre was launched at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) where architect Hans Frei praised the authors for “reflecting urban reality to a planetary scale”. The many students in the audience agreed that theory made available in this form can be a tool for thinking and designing beyond all boundaries.

Mirroring Effects analyses political and economic practices concerning environment-making in the contemporary world. The case studies unfold as real-life tales chronicling mutually-reinforcing processes that bind urbanization to capitalism. Taken together, the tales narrate the ongoing restructuration of built and lived spaces in diverse regions of the Global North and Global South, charting the course of capital-led development from the architects’ point of view in settings from Berlin to Mumbai, from Cairo to Paris, from Mumbai to Shanghai, and beyond.

MirroringEffects_IMG0259.jpgShanghai is the place where it all started following the 2007 LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction. Marc Angélil, Professor of Architecture and Design at ETH Zurich and member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation, and Cary Siress, Senior Researcher at ETH Zurich and guest professor at Nanjing University, were discussing current and future trajectories of urbanization processes. Over time, a focused research agenda emerged, aimed at examining from the disciplinary vantage of architecture and urbanism the roles played by territory as mirror of, and as actor within the political and economic machinations that shape to the world today.

The LafargeHolcim Foundation and in particular its tri-annual symposiums provided the authors an opportune arena in which to debate many of the themes addressed in the book. Case studies featured in Mirroring Effects are inspired by the LafargeHolcim Forums in Shanghai (Urban Transformation, 2007), Mumbai (Economy of Sustainable Construction, 2010), Mexico City (Re-inventing Construction, 2013), Detroit (Infrastructure Space, 2016) and preparations for Cairo (Re-materializing Construction, 2019). The concluding chapter embeds thoughts on Infrastructure Taking Command based on Opération Béton, a film documentary by Jean-Luc Godard on the creation of a hydroelectric dam in the Swiss Alps – undoubtedly yet another perfect scenery for tales. The stories told in the book, if casually overheard, could just as easily be misconstrued as the stuff of incredible fables. But real they are – down to almost 50 pages of footnotes!

Mirroring Effects: Tales of Territory

Authors: Marc Angélil and Cary Siress
Publisher: Ruby Press
Design: Something Fantastic
ISBN 9783944074290
960 pages / color & bw, 16 x 22 cm / EUR 48

Last Updated: May 08, 2019
Article Details
Zurich, Switzerland
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