Department of Benign Violations

The Department of Benign Violations was founded at MIT in Boston mid 2010 with the aim of providing solutions and reactions to the New York Heat Island Effect by utilizing the latent energy within the cities vernacular urban conditions. The team is made up of eleven architects and urbanists hailing from nine different countries.

Heat Island Effect: the mean temperature difference between Urban and Rural areas attributed to the latent heat capacity of built structures.
While global climate change is an oft discussed contemporary topic, what is often ignored are the variable micro-climates produced within a city as a result of its material composition and density of climate-control mechanisms. During the 2003 New York City Black-Out, ambient temperatures fell as a result of the complete but temporary removal of all heat exhaust generated by the city.
These localized weather patterns create a series of extreme climatic territories within the city, that affect habitability, value, and flora/fauna. Some areas of the city become so hot that it is impossible to maintain ground cover, and small scale urban dust storms are a common result. Rather than see the heat generated as a problem, we will investigate the potentials for harvesting this waste energy to create other effects and dynamic/temporal architectures.
Working within a conceptual framework that intends to detour the contemporary city by augmenting its climatic conditions - using the waste heat generated by the city to transform urban weather. We will design interventions at scales that seed potentials for change and transformation, but do not fall prey to design agendas based Utopian Planning ideologies or Landscape Art. Our goal is to realize the potential for diffused, domestic scaled architecture to perform a process of adaptive re-use, using the entire city as its existing conditions.
How can the design of artificial climatic archipelagos challenge the nature of public space?
How will climatic porosity generate new concepts of event, program and collective intimacy?
Will the harvesting of waste energy and heat island after-effects lead to the emergence of new economies and scales of exchange?

- Filip Tejchman and Nick Gelpi

DoBV members include; Filip Tejchman, Nick Gelpi, Emily Lo, Aezad Alam, Tamara Caldera, Thomas Cole, Craig Johnston, Sarosh Mulla, Priyank Shah, Jessica Stuecklin, and Esteban Zamora.

The DoBV is continuing to conduct research and will shortly begin to further explore these opportunities within a number of international locations.