ARQ 102 / Speculation

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Speculation is not the same as prescription or prognosis. As a way to challenge the present, speculation presupposes uncertainty about the future. Thus, every time we design something that we do not know if it is going to become true – a very usual action among architects – we are consciously or unconsciously speculating. In fact, competitions, in which architects give their best just to see later that about 99% of their efforts are thrown away, are purely speculative exercises. In that sense, speculation allows previsualizing possibilities and opening discussions today on the opportunities or threats of tomorrow.

But the moon of speculation also has a dark side. When it is understood as a way of earning profits without effort – buying cheap and selling expensive without adding any work – it becomes a bet on the future that does not contribute to the present. Such a way of understanding speculation operates on cities by taking land as a good that can be bought cheap and then, either after regulatory changes or simply due to the passage of time, it can be sold at a higher price. There are even cases in which some work is actually executed – under the name of ‘development’ – but the strategy remains the same: minimize the effort to maximize profit.

Both sides of the fence allow asking: Are there possible connections between both kinds of speculation – those of the minimum and the maximum effort? What do we make of the fact that the architects’ impatience and the developers’ patience are described with the same term? The issue 102 of ARQ wants to interrogate the very notion of speculation through proposals, essays, research or critiques that, hopefully, are not afraid of being speculative.


Research and Essays
.doc file of an extension between 2000 and 4000 words. Texts must be original (or at least they must not have been published in Spanish), and should have an academic standard.

Work and Projects
Letter size .pdf file of max 10 pages which must include: memory, floor plans, pictures, and technical data.

.doc file of an extension between 800 and 1,000 words. Texts must be original and the object of critique has to be built, opened or launched after 2015.


Open call closes on March 15th 2019
Selection announcement on April 2019


Submit your material at
Email subject: Material ARQ 102


Download the official call
Go to ARQ website

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