1. Call for Abstracts: the ARPA Journal
    Columbia University GSAPP
    02.11.14 – 03.01.14

    The ARPA Journal Applied Research Practices in Architecture

    Research is everywhere. Architects incite action, design materials and archive cities. They capitalize upon the excess energy of practice to launch unsolicited experiments into the world, or sidestep clients by joining forces with government think tanks. Discussions from classrooms have found currency at town halls, and findings from construction sites have migrated into basement laboratories. Yet for all of its vitality, research eludes definition. The term describes everything and nothing, leaving its assumptions—the drive towards innovation, certainty, and influence, for example—unexamined.

    The ARPA Journal is a forum for debates on what is applied research in architecture. We scrutinize techniques of inquiry to examine their ethical stance and spark ideas for their potential transformation. If the term applied research conventionally describes a practice adulterated by practical concern or funding bias, the ARPA Journal asks how research can embrace its entangled nature, and experiment with the very problem of autonomy in application.

    Call for Abstracts: Issue One

    Architects experiment upon the world. Researchers reach outside the laboratory by co-opting existing structures of influence and crafting new techniques of engagement. The practice of human subject research has yielded the benefits of the polio vaccine and horrors of the Tuskegee experiments, reminding us that, as a former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency once remarked, “When we fail, we fail big.” Impacts are often unpredictable, but no less powerful. The Coney Islands of the world—experiments like practice drills for emergency conditions or special economic zones—leak beyond their proving grounds without any official sanction.

    Test Subjects, the inaugural issue of the ARPA Journal, focuses on the nature of application in architectural research. How do architects wield influence through research? As we weigh the risks and rewards of aggressive experimentation, how careful do we need to be? How do researchers maintain effects of their work, both intended and unintended? How does the agency of test subjects refigure the role of the expert in research?

    We seek thoughtful and playful approaches to applied research on the built environment. Contributions may include opinion pieces, examinations of pivotal moments in the history of applied research, investigations of the structures of research practice, research projects that critically apply risky practices, and design projects that have focused, experimental implications. Contributors are encouraged to demonstrate techniques and protocols in meticulous detail.

    Please see for more information.

    About us

    The ARPA Journal is a public forum for debate based at the Applied Research Practices in Architecture (ARPA) program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Janette Kim, Editor in Chief, ARPA Journal; Director, ARPA program. MTWTF, Designer, forthcoming website.