LafargeHolcim Foundation Knowledge Turntable for Sustainable Construction


Visible and invisible infrastructure

Public debate to launch “Infrastructure Space” – the book on the 5th LafargeHolcim Forum

All-female line-up at The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory (ANCB) in Berlin: Introduced by Dunya Bouchi, Managing Director of ANCB, and Ilka Ruby, Partner at Ruby Press, the architects Nancy Couling, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes and Sarah Nichols presented case studies and discussed the role of architects in researching and designing infrastructure to mark the launch of Infrastructure Space. The 420-page book edited by Ilka & Andreas Ruby contains a collection of 25 essays inspired by the 5th International LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction as well as a visual atlas compiled by Something Fantastic.

Charlotte Malterre-Barthes presented her Doctoral research on food and territories: Biopolitics on the Nile: The Toshka Project that explains how a 310-kilometer-long water channel was constructed in Egypt to convert desert into agricultural land. She showed in the summary of her contribution to Infrastructure Space how managing water supply could facilitate the control of population and territory.

PhD graduate Nancy Couling opened a largely unknown field of infrastructure to the audience: The Urbanization of the Ocean is hard to perceive and takes place outside of the urban discourse. Taking the Barents Sea as an example she considered how primary geometric urbanization devices colonize ocean space also in contrast to the spatial logical and biological scale of the ocean site.

Whereas the infrastructural interventions in Egypt are obvious and visible, maritime infrastructural development can hardly be seen. Doctoral Fellow Sarah Nichols led the discussion amongst the architects, talking about their responsibility related to designing infrastructure and the role of architecture as a research tool. The debate with lively audience participation underlined what Infrastructure Space expresses – infrastructure is not just about the technical realm, but also engages in terms of political, economic, social, and aesthetic matter.

The publication Infrastructure Space was enabled by the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, organizer of the LafargeHolcim Awards – the world’s most significant competition in sustainable design. The 5th International LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction is open for registration until March 21, 2017. More information at:

Bibliographic details

Infrastructure Space
Ilka & Andreas Ruby (eds), with a Visual Atlas by Something Fantastic.
Berlin, Ruby Press, 2017.
Format: English, 421 pages, 17,5 x 23,5 mm, hard cover, linen.
ISBN: 978-3-944074-18-4.

Ordering instructions

Order directly from the publisher, Ruby Press for EUR 48 per copy (excl. handling charges) at:

Last Updated: January 21, 2017
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Berlin, Germany
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