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PROJECTIVE CITIES Taught MPhil in Architecture

Projec ve Ci es is a taught MPhil in architecture dedicated to research and design on the city. The programme leads to an MPhil degree, but can also offer a structured entry to a PhD.

understood as an intellectual project, clarifying the relaƟonship between theory and pracƟce, and a pracƟcal problem that explores the possibiliƟes of design for research.

At the core of its research are ques ons arising from the o en separated disciplines of architecture, urban design, and planning. Set up as a cri cal research forum, Projec ve Ci es examines the concep on and forma on of the city within diverse poli cal, economic, social, and cultural contexts, and proposes that new disciplinary knowledge emerges from this analysis.

Projec ve Ci es supports student-driven projects, with individually defined research represen ng two-thirds of the programme’s 20-month dura on. The programme is therefore exclusive, intensive, and demanding. It is organised into two phases.

The main ambi ons of the programme are twofold: To examine how ideas of the city, when framed by quesƟons related to its built form and design, provide alternaƟves to current doctrines dominated by concepts of urbanisaƟon. This raises the quesƟon of what kind of project and research arises from architecture and architectural urbanism, and how it can rethink the problems of urban design and planning. To redefine the ambivalent noƟon of research by design by proposing new methodologies that synthesise theoreƟcal and pracƟcal design research. This is

Phase I represents the taught part with interrelated design studios, seminar courses, and workshops. Each term introduces students to the pedagogy of the programme, provides the theore cal and prac cal founda ons, and discusses the analy cal research methods required to conceive, formulate, and execute a research project. In Phase II, the research problems and ques ons of each individual project are developed, leading to the submission of an original and comprehensive designed-andwri en disserta on.

THE SOCIAL HOUSING CENTRE Type, Urban Form, Policy-Making, and Standards Alvaro Arancibia Tagle

This disserta on challenges the current state of San ago de Chile’s social housing and its dependence on the priva zed housing market. The close rela onship between policy making, minimum housing standards, and urban form, have limited social housing to a reduced type-solu on based on a reinterpreta on of a tradi onal row-house model. This allowed for large-scale social housing provision that effec vely resolved the historical need. However, the success of the housing policy is ques oned when the sub-standard of social housing is exposed, which fails at several scales and spheres of domes c life. A main failure is the inability to procure adequate loca on for low-income housing. In fact, recent projects could only afford plots in far-rural peripheries. This has resulted in a lifestyle of exclusion, as these sites have no access to basic infrastructures and the centre, the largest source of employment, services, and opportuni es. In order to address the problem of social housing and its urban exclusion, this project proposes a new domes c-economic centre. A radical re-conceptualiza on of the current social housing model is developed, calling for a new model based on four key transforma ons. First, a non-profit (municipal-driven) procurement with the aim to create a circular system of incen ves. It a empts to increase the social housing budget by incorpora ng private and public funds. Second, a new territorial management

able to create large administra ve en es and infrastructures connected to the urban core and economic centres. Third, a typological transforma on of the Cité, a typical early-twen eth century housing solu on in San ago. Through a differen a on of this street-based type, a new rela onship between type and urban form is developed, which establishes a clear use and defini on of open spaces - a constant and controversial issue for most housing types. This transformed type also creates more flexible rela onships with other typologies. Accordingly, a large range of different typological arrangements were explored. The fourth transforma on is concerned with re-thinking the idea of housing standards. Beyond the problem of defining space standards, the project proposes the decompression of the dwelling unit and the distribu on of diverse and associated economic programmes within the city. However, this does not mean a singular scalar shi from the unit to the city, but rather a progressive and mul scalar system of urban rela onships that create different spheres of collec vity and in macy. Hence, the new social housing standard is linked to the possibility of both achieving a autonomy from the exis ng urban centre and a simultaneity of domes c urban episodes, which are manifested in the proposed social housing centre.

Current typological s gma za on

Housing loca ons on the periphery

Proposed system of centrali es

Proposed housing procurement

The Cité type transforma on

Cite’s simple 3d matrix

Cité’s urban arrangements

Cite’s unit arrangements

Cite’s hybrid 3d matrix

Typical Cité corridor

Cite differen a on

Associa on of programmes

Model image

Model image

Axonometric of masterplan

Block fragment

Perspec ve

Social housing dwelling unit

BEIRUT: FROM CITY OF CAPITAL TO CAPITAL CITY Reconstruc ng a State Iden ty within Neo-Liberal Capital Yasmina El Chami

proposes to reverse the architectural no on of na on building - commonly considered the project of the capital city itself - and rethinks the construc on of a func oning state as a process of developing a regional economic role for the city and a produc ve poli cal iden ty for its ci zenry. The premise for such a reversal is the iden fica on and understanding of two related processes, the ‘symptom’ and the ‘symbol’, as representa onal dimensions of power in the architecture of capital ci es. Poli cal power can be examined a er the fact, as a symptom of a specific policy or rule, or before the fact, as an inten onal projec on of the iden ty and ideology of a state.

This thesis inves gates the poten al of architecture to shape and acquire poli cal agency in the context of the city. Specifically, it looks at the role of architecture in the construc on of the capital city, and ques ons its ability to both form and signify the state. This is par cularly problema c in the case of Lebanon, a weak quasi-state that - twenty years a er the end of the civil war - is s ll coming to terms with sectarian divisions and poli cal corrup on, and is exacerbated by the priva za on of the centre of its capital by real estate management company Solidere. Considering the state’s con nuing failure to form a Lebanese statehood, the project









(Grand Liban)
















Damascus Maronite 16% 356,000






Chi’a 41% 919,000

Other Christian 9% 205,000 Druze 7% 153,000


PALESTINE Sunni 27% 595,000

The poli cal founda ons of Lebanon - A weak sectarian state




Catholic & Orthodox



High Density Medium Density Low Density

Growth of new peri-centers (1975-1991)

Primacy &growth of suburban enclaves (post war)

High Income Medium Income Low Income

The city as core and hub of the country

The city as sectarian enclaves a er the civil war

The loss of the centre

An -Syrian protest in 2005 following the assassina on of Rafic Hariri

Pro-Syrian demonstra on in the centre 2006-2008

The empty centre 2009-present

Primacy of the center (1975)

The void centre (1975-91)

The bypassed centre 1991- present

This dis nc on becomes instrumental to rethink the idea of the city not as a composi on of symbolic urban gestures but as an ar culated space of nego a on and decision-making in which the state is not an abstract ideological en ty but a protractor of values and rights aimed at the forma on and sustainability of a poli cal iden ty. Power is opera ve in the city when its representa ve dimension is symptoma c, and a strategic ar cula on of the space of the city and the produc ve poli cal engagement of the ci zen within it. The analysis of the city centre of Beirut through its dominant type - the Lebanese central hall - and its reinterpreta on by Solidere’s reconstruc on project of the centre as an expired symbol of past French mandate-era glory, leads to the search, beyond architecture’s representa ve agency, for a reconstructed type that is capable of shaping both an opera ve strategy for the reconstruc on of the city and a renewed symbolic iden ty for the state.

Transforma on of the city and its dominant type From the Arabic to the French city

Central hall type - A porous and direc onal grid

Transformation1: Porosity / Structure

Central Hall Type

Deep Structure: Uni-directional Load bearing walls

Transformation 2: Directionality / Grid

Typological transforma on - From central hall to direc onal frames

Martyrs Square: A central strip between the reconstructed French centre and the highway

This instrumentality of type is tested in a counter-project for a new capital centre around the historic Martyr Square and its surrounding archaeological sites. The poli cal and economic iden ty of the city and its ci zens is reconstructed through a public, cultural and educa onal campus, which includes private housing. This public-private framework acknowledges the commercial, exclusive and financial strategy of Solidere, and addresses the need for a new public common ground func oning beyond sectarian iden fica ons. Building on the contemporary concept of the development of capital ci es less as administra ve centres and more as concentra ons of human capital and knowledge, and reinterpre ng this shi in the Lebanese context, the domes c central hall type that formed the historic merchant port-city is reassessed and redefined. It becomes the basis of a new cultural campus, which operates through a hierarchy of scales and frames the city and its ci zens.

Strategy: The square as central hall at the scale of the na on, linking the centre and the city

A central spine at the neighborhood scale


The Souk: Series of central strips at the block scale

The new centre: Series of mul -scalar central halls in dierent direc ons

Site model: The new Martyr’s Square Ground floor plan: Porous fabric linking the square and the city + 24.00m

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Detail model (Secondary School): (a) Public ground layer, (b)First transi on, public ins tu ons, (c) Ins tu onal layer and second public layer, (d) Private residen al layer

Transversal sec on across square, spine and souks

The new ‘symptoma c’ cultural capital

THE LOBBYIST CITY Brasilia: The Latent Extension Gabriella N. Pinta Gama

Poli cs in capital ci es today are largely defined by lobbyism, whether good or bad. When Brasilia was constructed, Brazil had recently changed from a military regime to a democracy. Therefore Brasilia was to celebrate a special achievement for the country, and it was designed to represent the poli cal power of the people. Architecture can symbolically represent a democra c state, yet the symbolic value of Brasilia is a constant burden to the necessary growth and func oning of the capital. The modernist idea of the public in Lucio Costa’s Pilot Plan was expressed through the ar cula on of open planes. However, the inability of the plan to frame the limits and redundancies of the new city, has resulted in constant changes to the original plans by private developers, who were largely responsible for construc ng the new capital. Brasilia has nevertheless become an emblem of a capital city. In his memorial for the city, Costa stated that the capital, in order to be considered one, should embody both the concepts of urbs and civitas. With the challenge being the crea on of a modern state, the capital city as a representa on of governance was to signify the idea of public power and democracy. This was architecturally expressed through a landscape

Lobbyists on K Street, Washington DC

Lobbyists Federal Agencies, Berlin

configura on. Today, this idea of a capital city could be considered obsolete. Even though it is widely recognized that lobbyists are a part of the poli cal decision-making process, they have no spa al representa on in the city. Brasilia’s design was conceived through scales, with the manifesta ons of public space appearing in the endless plinth of the Superquadras to the monumentality of the Esplanade of Ministries. Visual manifesto

The public areas in the Pilot Plan have been significantly changed over me, which demonstrates their inefficiency throughout the scales defined by Costa. Even though Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture along with Costa’s masterplan was designed with every Brazilian in the mind, the idea of public space is very li le defined and in reality intended for people working for and servicing the government. Brasilia was not designed in a grid but

Typological shi diagram

through axes, which are characterized by infrastructure, with the city laid out along these roads. In his book Megastructure: Urban Futures of the Recent Past (1976), Reyner Banham understood Brasilia’s Pilot Plan as a megastructure, and drew a parallel to Kenzo Tange’s Tokyo Bay Project. In comparison, this thesis reads the Brasilia slightly differently, by recognizing the model of Brasilia as a type of a linear city composed of different megaforms.

This term was first coined by Fumihiko Maki, who claimed that architecture is gradually conceived as independent buildings and therefore needs to be seen in its collec ve meaning, or what Maki called the collec ve form. This concept was defined in three ways of reading the city, through: group form, composi onal form and megaform. The rich concept of megaform was recently further developed by Kenneth Frampton and Stan Allen in Landform Building (2011).

The transforma on of the open type of the superquadra into the private podium towers in the satellite ci es

Brasilia was originally planned for 500.000 inhabitants but currently has over 2.5 million people, only 12 % of which reside in the Pilot Plan and the rest in satellite ci es. Brasilia’s satellites were ini ally illegal appropria ons of land to provide housing for the workers building the new capital. Today however, new satellite ci es house the large number of people coming to Brasilia, a racted by the job opportuni es offered by the government. With most government jobs located

Slab level plan

within the Pilot Plan, the satellite ci es have therefore become dorm ci es. They are treated as an extension of the Pilot Plan - although there is a clear inversion in the new ci es that differs from Brasilia’s idea of the city as a civitas. The satellites completely disregard ideas of the public and the common. This is largely due to insufficient regula on by state authori es, which allowed real estate specula on and a highly priva zed housing market to effect the design of the ci es.

Irregulari es in the Pilot Plan

In response, this thesis intends to redefine the rela onship between Brasilia and its satellite ci es. It considers the problems of con nued popula on and economic growth, as the capital is an important magnet with great economic and poli cal opportuni es. Brasilia’s satellite ci es ini ally provided housing for lower income groups, and were historically considered secondary

to the Pilot Plan. However, luxurious gated communi es and podium towers have a empted to address this by crea ng a highly priva zed model - yet failed. Similarly, lobbying is commonly perceived as peripheral and secondary to the poli cal process. However, this project recognizes lobbying as an ac vity that is clearly and an important part of the poli cal process. It asks how to instrumentalize and spa alize lobbyism

Upper level plan

and lobbyists in and for the capital city. More specifically, how to rethink their role in the satellite ci es, which can be seen as an integral part of the capital. Along with a spa alized lobbying, the project revisits the Superquadra as a poten al megaform for the satellite ci es. Thus, the project proposes a new type of satellite city for Brasilia: A Capital Satellite City. This is only possible by considering lobbyists as stakeholders and providers for this new

idea of capital city. It is a city for lobbyists that have no space in the original plan of Brasilia by Costa. The project is a simple gesture that gives form to a poli cal reality that has to be increasingly acknowledged in capital ci es, which are in fact: Lobbyist Ci es.

THE INNER CITY CAMPUS The Academic Space in Zurich Marcin Ganczarski

When the academic space in the open field transforms into an element of the city, the campus relinquishes its spa al specifici es and commonly adopts types of specula ve oďŹƒces. This disregards that the tradi onal campus is able to establish a connec on between the academic world and the city in dierent and richer ways. It is a connec on not based on the transforma on of knowledge, but on dis nct spa al separa on and concentra on.

ETH Zurich, Werk 11: The academic knowledge space in the city

The campus is an architectural type that creates an autonomous and large element of architecture, based on similar principles as the city. It is a city itself. But unlike the city, the architectural characteris cs of connec ng and separa ng are inverted in the campus. The street for instance, connec ng or emphasising larger architectural elements in the city, are in the campus an element separa ng academic func ons at the architectural scale. The inner city campus is therefore not an obsolete old type, but a transforma on of the campus type. It has the capability to separate itself from the urban fabric by inver ng the characteris cs of its architectural elements. It hereby creates several dis nguishable architectural elements that establish a new centrality for an academic community within the city. This thesis is explored in the proposal for a new inner city campus in Zurich.

Charlo esville, University of Virginia

The inner city campus as an element of the city

CENTRE AS VOID Hangzhou’s New City Centre Yuqi Huang

Throughout history, Chinese city centres have been composed of voids with changing meanings: from a philosophical, poli cal, public to a landscaped and finally economic meaning. However, many of the currently proposed city centres are civic voids in spa al and func onal terms. They are framed by semi-representa onal buildings and filled with landscapes without any func on. They are a varia on of the mega-plot, large-scale plots filled with repe ve highrises. They lack a hierarchical or nego ated space between the ‘private’ realm of the plot and the ‘public’ realm of the city. The thesis discusses the meaning of the ‘void’ in tradi onal Chinese periods and Centre as philosophical void: The Forbidden City

philosophy, when it was perceived as a posi ve, meaningful space and regarded to have a complementary rela onship with the solid. This dialec cal rela onship is embodied in tradi onal architecture, in which the void is always constructed as part of the solid and both together create a specific meaning. Tradi onal Chinese architecture conveys the harmonious and balanced rela onship between the void and solid, natural and ar ficial, and landscape and human. Envisioning a different role for the contemporary city centre in China, the proposal transforms the current plans for a new centre of Hangzhou into a civic centre, and posits a new urban and spa al paradigm for the mega-plot.

Primary Circulation City Wall

Centre as philosophical void: Ancient Beijing

Bedroom Living Room Reception Courtyard Circulation

High Hierarchy /Limited Accessible

Low Hierarchy /Accessible

Program High/ Limited Accessible

Administration Heritage - former wall gate Cultural Green Space Monument

The Forbidden City: Boundary

Visual boundary from the square Visual boundary from the city

Walls Buildings

Circulation Main Courtyard

Courtyard house

The Forbidden City: Circulation

Low/ Accessible

Vehicle Pedestrian

Centre as poli cal void: Tiananmen Square

First Floor

Living Room Kitchen and Reception Bedroom Roof Open Space Ground Floor The Courtyard Type

Void/Landscape The Courtyard Type

The Sky-well Type




The Sky-well Type

Figure Ground


Lingering Garden: Void - Ground

Lingering Garden: Figure - Ground


Circulation Hierarchy

Low Hierarchy

The Courtyard Type

Solid to Void

The Sky-well Type

The Courtyard Type


Courtyard house and skywell house



The Sky-well Type

Lingering Garden: Hierarchy

Lingering Garden: Hierarchy of Pavilions

Scholar’s Garden: Lingering Garden



Corridor with Screen Wall


Scholar’s garden: Interface between void and mass

Scholar’s garden: From natural to formal landscape

Circulation Primary (Between Component) Secondary (In Component) Tertiary (In Component)

Landscape: Natural Scene

Landscape: Formal Scene

Coverage: 59.1%

Coverage: 89.1%

Coverage: 44%

Coverage: 41.9%

Coverage: 63%

Coverage: 63%

Coverage: 63%

Coverage: 75.5%

Coverage: 75.5%

Coverage: 75.5%

Coverage: 52.7%

Coverage: 57%

Coverage: 97.8%

Coverage: 67.5%

Coverage: 70.2%



Coverage: 60.2%

Coverage: 92.1%

Coverage: 44%

Municipal Building

Basic Component

Components With Potential of Continuity



Municipal Building

250% Coverage: 67.5%


Coverage: 60%



Matrix of typological transforma on

Ground floor plan

Current new city centre in Hangzhou

Reinterpret the city centre as a void

Void for in-posi on viewing

LEGACY OR FALLACY? Rio de Janeiro and the Olympic Legacy Thiago Soveral

The project explores the legacy of the Rio 2016 Olympics. At the urban scale, it inves gates the concept of Olympic legacy, the transforma ons of its significa on over

Master plan: Olympic Games

me, its means and goals. It further studies Rio de Janeiro, and more specifically Barra da Tijuca - the neighbourhood hos ng the Games in a new Olympic Park - and its current condi ons, problems, contradic ons and shortcomings.

At the typological scale, this project inves gates the redundancy of stadia, their specificity and diďŹƒculty of conversion; it also examines the dominant typologies of Barra da Tijuca - gated communi es and their physical and socio-economic exclusion.

Typological transforma on

Master plan: Legacy mode

This project a empts to ar culate and redefine the role of Olympic legacy for the city and the poten al of its main typology - the stadium. The proposal considers the legacy as the first and main goal, with the Olympics Games only a temporary condi on of the masterplan.

Visual manifesto

Stadia deep structure analysis

Analysis of Olympic Park by AECOM

Olympic venues: Exis ng, permanent and temporary


Economic strategy: Cost analysis

Phasing: Schedule of construc on and disassembly



Seats / Playing field

Temporary structure



Escape routes


Slabs 2015



Ground V olume

Stadia matrix

floor /

Ground floor


Olympics mode: Tennis stadium

Olympics mode: Tennis stadium

Legacy mode: Office block

Legacy mode: Office block

THE CHINESE UNIT Persistence of the Collec ve Urban Model in Beijing Yuwei Wang This project challenges the rela onship between architecture and the idea of the city as a social space that is defined by the state and its ci zens in China. It argues that the Chinese government has the moral and poli cal responsibility to

Axonometric drawing

provide a more advanced welfare system that reflects on its economic status and benefits all people. This welfare system is the beginning to promote a new collec ve idea of the Chinese city rather than proliferate urbaniza on.

The studied urban conflicts directly relate to ques ons of ci zenship. There are two proposed ways to define ci zens. One is through the social events that compose ones life, whereby typical events can be regarded the commonali es experienced by all. The other is through the social es that one either is born into or establishes. According to these defini ons, the city can be read as dierent scales of spaces within which the typical lives occur and social networks are created. However, urbaniza on has fragmented

The growth and spa al syntax of the Chinese courtyard The courtyard as a urban unit

these spaces and stretched the social networks across the city. A series of urban conflicts have therefore emerged. And This project argues that it is impossible to solve these conflicts within a market-oriented urban context, instead: we must rethink the power of the state as a responsibility. The thesis proposes that architectural and urban space is primarily a social and poli cal construct, embodied throughout history in the Chinese urban unit, the courtyard house, the Danwei (work unit), and the contemporary mega-plot.

Consequently, any spa al manipula on that creates new social es can be considered a polemic strategy to form a new society, like this project. Architecture is regarded as either a framework for social events or a framework that embodies social es. This defini on understands people’s commonali es, social es and

The composi on of a typical Danwei

The two types of mega-plot

urban space as a mechanism to cri cize contemporary Chinese urbaniza on. In the end, a middle-scale model between the private family and the public city is proposed, within which the typical events are assembled and rearranged as the commonali es to rebuild an idea of collec vity.

The typical housing slab in the Danwei

Chinese generic office and specific housing plans

Housing slab type

Housing tower type











The composi on of different spaces and the hierarchical spa al order




The New Chinese Unit Sec on



Podium plan View into courtyard

Programme Director Sam Jacoby External Thesis Advisor Adrian Lahoud Studio Master Maria S Giudici Studio Tutor Max von Werz Workshop Tutors Alina McConnochie Nerma Cridge Tristan Simmonds (technical consultant) Guest Seminars and Lectures Christopher Lee Harry Francis Mallgrave Jasper Cepl Nerma Cridge Pavlos Philippou Phase II Students Alvaro Arancibia Tagle Gabriella Nunes Pinta Gama Lisa Yuqi Huang Marcin Ganczarski Thiago Soveral Yasmina El Chami Yuwei Wang Phase I Students Aainaa Suhardi Alex Xiamao Cao Cyan Jingru Cheng Filipe Lourenco

h p://projec veci Š 2013 Projec ve Ci es

Projective Cities 2011–2013