Civic Friche is a research initiative launched at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning in Spring 2010.
The project, led by Anya Sirota, Steven Christensen and Jean Louis Farges, explores emergent urbanities, architectural salvage and the cultivation of non-authoritarian space.
A paradoxical coupling of terms – the institutional with the abandoned – Civic Friche refers to the tactical appropriation of marginal sites for public function. Distinct from traditional strategies of reuse, Civic Friche describes a new approach to urbanism through civic initiative, temporary and interim uses, and public participation.
Civic Friche is an ideology. A term that resists translation (wasteland being its most direct and reductive English counterpart), Friche has been embraced by a cadre of architects, landscapes architects, artists and thinkers as an opportunistic strategy with liberating potential. Like a Gilles Clement landscape, an architecture of friche speculates that the built environment can be set into motion, cultivating emergent behaviors over an indeterminate span of time.
A friche site, whether appropriated or new, begins with an intimate understanding of the physical and cultural context, yet it assumes that things will change. New programs will emerge. Cultural and economic shifts will invariably take place. The architect, released from the post of dogmatic creator, envisions solutions that may be fragmented, temporary, cheeky, and even subversives.
Civic Friche produces a yearly review focusing on the emergent, the unsolicited, the salvaged, the (mis)appropriated, and the frisky in architecture and urbanism. While the first two volumes featured projects in France, the publication aims to explore multiple cultural, geographic and economic environments.