Pamphlet Architecture 30: Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism
January 2011
By Infranet Lab and Lateral Office


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 toinclude 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.