THINKING THE CITY: Temporary versus definitive
From the REFUGEE CAMP to the consolidated neighbourhood
Barcelona since the Olympics in 1992 has gone through an important renewal of its cityscape, becoming a reference for the urban development of consolidated towns. The different proposals and the way they have been carried out, as well as the areas that still have to be arranged, mostly at the city borders and at the former industrial sites, provide a large range of opportunities to think upon urban space and civic life in the 21st century.
Barcelona has also changed its character; it has developed from provincial town to international city. People of all parts of the world share space and services, sorrows and joys.
The fact that the responsible of this master course (Prof. Karin Hofert) comes from Barcelona invites to use the town as case study and living laboratory. BCN offers us the opportunity to transform and improve some specific area by developing a plausible proposal from city until detail scale.
Aim: an approach to the complexity of the city
The workshop will introduce to the complexity of the city structure.
Working in successive approaches, from city scale to architectural scale, forth and back, will allow understanding the urban form and its determining aspects: the morphology of the territory, the incidence of climate, the pressure of infrastructure, the traces of history, etc.; and of course the socio-economic aspects, related to human activity and its translation to space.
Barcelona is rich and complex, structured by all kind of patterns different in geometry, size, shape and contents. The working area is chosen strategically to give the opportunity to saw these contrasted realities; we will check in what amount the intervention on the site is capable to respond to this challenge.
The pedagogical aim is to get the skills and knowledge to be able to propose a piece of town; of course a simplified piece of town, but capable to support the discussion about its borders and about its relationship with the neighbour pieces, and capable to allow the reflection on diverse building typologies and their (physical) relations.
To achieve this aim special emphasis will be given to the understanding of space in its three dimensions. Sections, perspective drawing and models shall be used from the very beginning, understood as tools more then as result representations. The learning process, participative and experimental, will be taken very much in consideration. At the same time skills concerning the best way to explain aims and results will be trained.
Topic: proposal for a ‘Multiple sustainable non-static city’
The specific theme of the course consists in urbanizing a part of the former industrial sector of Barcelona’s well-known grid (Poblenou 22@).
The design is called to re-qualify the area from a physical, social and cultural point of view (requalification of: the built, the void and the relationship with the existing urban landscape), according to an overall strategic decision.
The strategy has to be flexible and at the same time tight enough to take in account and be able to host the changes in settlement that will take place in the next 30 years.
In the immediate future the site will harbour a refugee camp. The project will discuss the degree of “provisionality” of the camp, and will study how it can be developed into, or substituted by, a “definitive” settlement. We will fix and define two moments within this process, exploring how the initial urbanisation can contain the clues for a later development.
The themes to sound along the design process will be tightly connected to a ‘projective vision’ of the qualities of the place (regarding use, social environment, pre-existences, sustainable development, etc). Careful reading and understanding of the place identity will lead the design process to an integrated proposal.
Focusing the site itself special attention will be paid to public and open space. Understanding that public space is what makes a town be a town, by providing the space for socialisation, is a crucial point. Public space will work both in city scale and in local scale, in leisure terms and in production terms.
As for the program, the first urgent necessity of housing from the very beginning will be attached to an offer of working spaces and public and private services. A mixed use is proposed: working, housing, facilities. Hybridisation is the key to make towns alive.
As a transversal requirement the concept of sustainability will inform any decision taken. Non-sustainable architecture/urbanism is useless; infrastructure and buildings should achieve solvency and comfort by passive means as much as possible.
By working both multiscale and multiuse we pursue the integration of diverse components of our discipline: landscape, history, sociology, technology, art.
In coherence with the previous arguments the integration will be completed deepening in specific themes, such as: “Sociology of the environment” and “Agronomy and Food Science”. These topics will be developed in an integrated way by the assistant teachers. The work on these issues at the studio will be underlined by specific lectures and (collective) discussions.
Structure: A theoretical and practical itinerary
The course will be shaped as follows:
- Learning-oriented basic thematic lectures.
- Applicative experimental workshops supported by case studies.
- Mid-term evaluations, referring to the project’s different stages of evolution.
- Related activities such as seminars and exhibitions.
- Study-tour to Barcelona (Spain) with onsite visits and lectures.
These joint activities count with the presence of external professionals of national and international reputation.