Igor Bragado is an architect, writer and co-founder of the practice Common Accounts with Miles Gertler. Equipped with excellent data plans, their office operates over satellite, server and fibre cable between Seoul, Toronto, and New York. Common Accounts is recognized for their work Going Fluid: The Cosmetic Protocols of Gangnam at the Third Istanbul Design Biennial in 2016, and for their Seoul Architecture Biennale 2017 contribution Three Ordinary Funerals, which argues for death's capacity as a city builder. They are currently constructing a house in Canada, a rural lakeside weekend cabin informed by the military logistics of body modifications. Bragado has lectured in Beijijng, Istanbul, and at Columbia University in New York and his recent work has appeared in the UC Berkeley architectural journal Room 1000, Architectural Review, Metalocus, Uncube Magazine, and Dezeen as well as in the A+D Museum of Los Angeles. As a writer, Bragado is committed to the dissemination of disciplinary history and thinking to a general public. His articles are preoccupied with social media, fluid physiques, postmodernisms, surveillance and new milieus of operation for the architect. Bragado is a contributing critic to the Spanish newspaper El Pais and he has received the Writing Prize 2017 from the Design History Society of Oslo. He was awarded the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Graduation Prize at Princeton University School of Architecture. He graduated with honours from ETSA Barcelona and Waseda University of Tokyo, and his thesis was selected for the 11th Spanish Architecture Biennial.
View Igor Bragado's full CV here.
Projects & Links
Three Ordinary Funerals
Today we pay tribute to the 3 avatars of Shin Chaerin: sweetleaf_baby341, homebodyjiang, and puffyeye, whose crowd-sourced archives grow more complete by the minute, and whose fluid remains encourage the growth of the memorial garden hosted in the Ceremonial Spaceframe above: from seed to sprout and ready to be taken home, or planted elsewhere. 3 ordinary funerals for 3 simultaneous lives. As Shin's material body goes fluid, her virtual bodies sublimate to the cloud. No philias, no phobias. If we want healthier cities, we need to rethink our relationship to death. Burial and cremation, as we know them, are dead. We need new, cleaner, socially productive disposition alternatives that integrate easily in the urban and digital realms. Today's city can no longer afford to keep the material business of death at arm's length. New technologies present unique opportunities for the production of value—material, ceremonial, and ecological—that cannot be ignored, while the traditional means of human disposition are threatened by diminishing land availability, environmental concerns, and the prospect of your digital afterlife. This prototypical funeral home and disposition site argues for the presence of ceremony and death in daily urban life and in the domestic realm. This space is designed to accommodate the disposition of your substance: the tangible, virtual, and immaterial. Inhabiting an urban hanok, this project hosts an amalgam of the sites for ceremony and remains transmutation, adopting new technologies that do away with the demands on area once required by the cemetery, and opening up the channels between the virtual and the non-virtual, allowing remembrance to travel fluidly between domains. This hanok is equipped with an alkaline hydrolysis fluid cremation system and the digital file transfer capacity to consolidate your virtual afterlife into a cloud-based archive.
The Cosmetic Protocols of Gangnam
Who—or what—designs the human? The architectural, infrastructural, and urban technologies of Seoul’s Gangnam district—here understood as the attendant technologies that allow the human to participate in and shape the urbanism throughout the surgery process (pre-, during, and post-op)—are responsible for the design of the human as a parallel operation to those involving the surgeon’s scalpel. That is, the design of your face is designing the city, and vice-versa. When you choose your new nose you’re funding, commenting on, Like-ing, Favorite-ing, editing, and subscribing to—effectively producing—an urban district. Your new nose demands a protocol at both technological and urban scales: tubing, smoothies, neck pillows, automated beds, cushioned vans, hotel rooms, convenience stores, beauty salons, and shopping centers. If all these actors are equally and simultaneously feeding the urbanism of plastic surgery, what actually constitutes plastic surgery?
The Architecture of Everyday Death
The biological end of life is no longer the end of your existence. Death exerts itself in home décor, in your fitness regime, and in virtual space, yet architecture has so far failed to acknowledge the potential posed by the latent social situations and infrastructural networks around death, and failed to recognize these entities as a site for action. Today, the complexity of the urban ecosystem has made the sites of death ubiquitous yet less evident. What we lack is the architectural and urban protocol to engage the body whose very subjectivity is shaped by, yet extended beyond, biological death. How can a greater embrace of death’s potential as body and city builder yield a more productive, socially active, urban ecology, at the scale of the everyday? How might death be evolved as an architectural technology to more fully serve society? How do we equip the ceremonial and material business of death with an urban platform?