farzinfarzin investigates the means by which objects, sites and systems acquire cultural value and examines the representation of value in architectural form. In what unexpected ways might architecture engage questions of history, preservation, and political contingency? Can a method of intervention in these matters be learned from the hairy logic of computational processes?  The studio addresses these questions through the design of spaces, software, and media. 

farzinfarzin was founded in 2008 by Farzin Lotfi-Jam. Lotfi-Jam (b. Tehran) is faculty in the graduate school of architecture at Columbia University and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart and was previously a Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan. His research has been funded by the Veski organization and the Graham Foundation, and has been collected by the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He has been exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, AIGA/NY Annex, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and elsewhere. 







Designed and developed with v-a.nyc 

Control Syntax Rio #1



Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam. 2016.


Exhibition Curators: Farzin Lotfi-Jam, Mark Wasiuta

Exhibition Design: Sharif Anous, Farzin Lotfi-Jam, Mark Wasiuta

Exhibition Design and Production Assistants: Florencia Alvarez, Javier Bidot-Betancourt, John Dwyer, Jennifer Komorowski, Chelsea Meyer, Jacqui Robbins, Miranda Römer, Augustine Savage, Jen Wood

Graphic Design: SJG

Text Editing: Gert Staal

Production: Babette Zijlstra, Team Het Nieuwe Instituut

Execution: Vincent Petit, Team Landstra & de Vries

Audio production: Sonic Platforms (Michael Christopher, Max Lauter)

Audio Voiceover: Louise Dreier

Audio recording Rio de Janeiro: Marco Pavão

With thanks to: Nico Fitskie, Hamza Ghzili, Robin Ronhaar


Photography: Pim Top



Rio de Janiero is one of the most visible sites of Smart City experimentation. In response to catastrophic natural disasters, calamitous traffic congestion and urban health epidemics, the Centro de Operações Rio (COR) was designed as a command and control hub.


The exhibition shows Rio structured through COR’s control syntax and smart city command processes. This syntax is assembled from seemingly banal if-then statements that become surprisingly charged by their encounter with the political and circulatory life of the city. Through COR the exhibition sees traffic engineering as urban politics and as haunted by potential catastrophe. Explosions, fires, protests, landslides, rallies, sudden tropical storms, combine with faulty traffic lights, accidents, spilled trucks, burning buses and quotidian congestion as elements of the COR syntax.

Photograph of exhibition installation. Photograph by Pim Top.

Detail photograph of exhibition installation. Photograph by Pim Top.

Detail photograph of exhibition installation. Photograph by Pim Top.

Detail photograph of exhibition installation. Photograph by Johannes Schwartz.

Frames from exhibition film.