The Opera Cube
A cultural promotion installation in Strasbourg As part of Strasbourg’s cultural development, students at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture had to work on a project involving the creation of an interactive installation that would promote one of Strasbourg’s many cultural curiosities. The project was aimed mainly at tourists, but also locals, and had to be carried out economically. The proposal takes the form of a minimalistic interactive lantern. It is a cube positioned along the street leading to the Opera House, on the most bustling square of the city, the place Kléber, and it displays the upcoming shows along with a musical background. The intensity of the lighting and sound becomes stronger as the premiere nears, and thus allows the passersby to assess how close the event is.
Left page: - Opera cube located on the Place Kleber, center of Strasbourg Right page: - Longitudinal section - Block plan
A writerâ€™s house Located on a 20-degree incline, the writerâ€™s house is divided in two volumes laid out according to their varied roles. The first, which is composed of a living room, a kitchen and a study, is detached from the ground, offers a view to the south and east, and opens on a terrace. The second is buried up to the window breast, and includes the bedroom and the bathroom. Sitting on the bed, one can enjoy a panoramic view overlooking the site. The two volumes are linked at the back by a staircase that leans against a retaining wall. Private access to the house is provided down below, by going under the main volume, while the guest entrance is at the back, at the top of the stairs, where the porch faces the road.
Left page: - South facade Right page: - Exterior staircase - Block plan - Longitudinal section
The enclosed house The objective here was to use the siteâ€™s constraints to an architectural end. The house had to be located in a one-meter-high stone enclosure of ten by thirty meters. A tumbledown bay remains in the southeast angle. The proposal consists of an L-shaped building, in the middle of the enclosure, that clearly separates public and private spaces. The entrance porch is located on the east side, as well as access to the terrace (from the inside or the outside), the kitchen and the living room. The bathroom serves as a partition right before the angle of the L shape. In the angle is a double height lounge area with a library. The library runs into the bedroom, which is open on three sides: the top part on the south side, bottom part on the east and west sides, opening on private courtyard. The exterior private space faces the tumbledown bay, which serves as a frame for the landscape. A pool separates the terrace from the bay. Structurally, the house combines stone from the enclosure for the massive parts (entrance wall, hearth) and timber, resting directly on the enclosure.
Left page: - North facade Right page: - Private courtyard and pool - Living room, with lounge area in the background
A research foundation in a rural area This project for a literature research foundation is located in an orchard tended by Dominican friars on the outskirts of Strasbourg. The site being particularly vast, a contrarian stance was adopted in favour of embracing verticality. The project thus consists of a 35-meter high tower that dominates the plot and the nearby park. As visitors progress toward the tower, they go past two lakes at the foot of the orchard, go through the 12th century surrounding wall, and come out in the entrance hall that is carved out of the rock, where they can admire the view over the trees. The tower symbolizes both knowledge and humility, which is why it is covered with a perforated copper layer. It will thus enjoy a first bright life in the middle of the forest, before gradually disappearing in the foliage as the copper acquires a patina.
Left page; - Lobby space Right page: - Site seen from the lakes - Longitudinal section in the le lobby
A research foundation in an urban area This project is symmetrical to the previous one. Here, the idea is to recreate a rural-inspired space at the heart of the city of Strasbourg. The building sits along a street that marks the property boundary. The lower volume is aligned with the blocks on the south, is double-oriented, opens on a garden created in the back, and includes the public spaces (lobby, administration, function room, conference room). The upper volume is parallel to the blocks on the north, and contrasts with the other volumeâ€™s transparency by being more opaque, through the use of a wooden mesh on the sides facing the street and the garden. This volume contains the more private areas (library, meeting room). Two of its faĂ§ades (north and south) are entirely glazed. It works as a lantern glowing in the night as residents pursue their research. The garden allows them to enjoy a green setting in the midst of a particularly urbanized area. Cells are linear modules, buried up to 1.50 m, each with a well allowing for quality homogeneous lighting, and a private patio that can be used as a personal space for long stays.
Left page: - Streetscape Right page: - Block plan - Lobby - Library in the upper volume
A sports complex on the Esplanade campus in Strasbourg Located at the heart of the campus of Strasbourg, the plot allows for a complete restructuring of the urban logic of the area. Historically, the campus has an East-West aspect, but the new university buildings have reoriented the flux of students and passers-by along the NorthSouth axis. Taking advantage of this new trend, and of the elongated shape of the plot, the project forms a thin strip along the East side, delineating a new pathway. The ground level is entirely open, which permits complete freedom of movement between the surrounding buildings. The emerged part of the building includes badminton and squash courts, a dojo, a dance hall, and a boxing gym, all superposed like boxes in space. A semi-open cafeteria is laid-out south, while a climbing wall covers the whole East side of the building. The underground part contains the locker rooms, as well as thermal baths and a fitness centre, and is made out of mineral materials that counterbalance the metal of the other part. The whole building is covered with a double layer of metal brackets that opacify the rhythm of the faรงade. Only the dance hall is entirely open and acts as an advertising display for sports in Strasbourg.
Left page: - Esplanade Right page: - Block plan - Preliminary sketches - The sports facilities use the climbing wall as a reflector to produce optimal ambient lighting
UniverCity - a new urban ecology The University of Sydney is a case study in bigness. It is built at such a scale that it operates within its own urban logic. While influencing the expression of its individual parts, the age old architectural ideals of composition, scale, proportion, detail no longer apply at the scale of the university-city. We understand the university as an ecology of information and material flows, which together create an environment for social interaction and the production of knowledge. The above diagram seeks to conceptualise these relationships and their products in order to produce a framework within which to develop architectural and programmatic responses. Through surgical programmatic augmentation, this proposal aims at producing a series of flow-on effects which draws the new residents, staff and student population into communication in order to generate new micro-communities around various interests. At a larger scale, the Darlington campusâ€™ inability to produce an urban quality leads to an abrupt disjunction between the university and the surrounding suburbs. Through programmatic additions, including a bicycle workshop and food coop, and community engagement, through leasable garden plots and a presence at the Eveleigh markets, the redevelopment of the Darlington campus seeks to democratise the campus. While once a private domain, the university cedes control of its boundary in order to afford new relationships which will create a more complex experience for students, staff and local residents alike. 14
changed as the needs of the university change. This is to imagine the university as a hybrid, part school part urbanism, in which learning is linked to living. The metropolis is the built product of capitalismâ€™s radical agenda of consumption. Characterised by an excess of opportunism, in which multiple logics can coexist, and site capacity redefined, the metropolis.
In order to generate the kind of ecology that we are interested in, we aspire toward a â€˜remetropolisedâ€™ university. This proposal seeks to reinject functions and programs of the surrounding community back into the university grounds, which generates a need for a new urban form. It would be ludicrous, of course, to suggest that the Darlington campus ought to be reverted back to a working-class suburb. Thus, we propose a new strategy for formal intervention which works within the existing fabric, while allowing it to be 15
- Maximum m3. Max m3 is proposed as a radical proposition for a new urbanism, in which a maximum volume of inhabitation is pushed and redefined through the development of the site in multiple stages. - Minimum m2. Through an iterative and typologically-oriented design process, we were able to ensure that each building is the most efficient form and arrangement for each site. - We deploy cheap and destructible materials across the project in order to make building reconfiguration easy. In this same vain, we employ in-situ construction as opposed to prefabricated systems to simplify construction and afford maximum re-configurability. - Tower planning offers opportunities for expansion. We purposefully locate lift and fire stair cores to one side of the building in order to allow future expansion following the inevitable demolition of the surrounding university buildings. - In providing commercial space to generate operational budgets for the university, we take some of this money to provide social programs which supplement those already provided on campus. This includes additional quiet and group study spaces, a new common room for Electrical Engineering students,
An urban green wave
For this exercise, we were given a region in the South of Strasbourg obeying a set of constraints that we had to take into account to propose a project that would recreate urban consistency in the area. Although we began working on a small area, we quickly expanded our project due to the symbolic significance of the location: one of the last Natura 2000 areas in Strasbourg, in direct contact with the Rhine and the bordering German city of Kehl. The urban project thus plays on this transborder quality and aims to strengthen the bond between French and German cities, a policy already pursued by local authorities. The main problems that the MĂźsau neighbourhood faces come from the railroad network that creates a physical separation from the centre of Strasbourg, from the empty area of the aerodrome in the South, and from the road in the East that isolates residents from the riverbanks. The idea was to fix these problems within a global framework that takes advantage of Strasbourgâ€™s strengths: its border, its river, and its protected natural spaces. Its goal is to connect the city to its German twin durably with a new train network, to give access to aquatic spaces for residents, and to enliven the medieval green infrastructure running through the area. Left page: - General guide for the green infrastructure project Right page: - New centres in the green infrastructure - A central axis for the project: Strasbourg-Kehl. Old fortifications and waterways: making the most of physical limitations. - Aerial view of the project circa 2050
The three keywords for the project are: live, recreate, move around. The main area is subdivided in sectors according to their intrinsic qualities and the exact problems they faces. Sector 1: A deindustrializing area. The goal here is to convert old factories into housing, or commercial space for corner shops or other private companies in the service industry. As factories move to the South, traffic will become less intense on the road. This conversion will also enable us to rebuild a link with the Rhine riverbanks, which follows on from other local development projects. 19
Sector 2: For the M端sau sector itself, the Natura 2000 area is made open and thus serves as a potential park (before that, fences along the road blocked access). The railway is transformed into a walkway running West toward the centre, and East toward the riverbanks. Roads are partially moved to create more space for the park. Sector 3: It is the central part of the park, and sits on what remains of the green infrastructure. It hosts facilities for sports and a few walkways for residents. The old railway is perforated in many places to allow a higher permeability toward the centre of the city, and the tracks are used by the new train for a line that would serve the outskirts of Strasbourg and Kehl, on the other side of the Rhine. Sector 4: Reclassification of the urban strip near the aerodrome. As this area is currently underutilized, we insert intermediate housing, which is severely lacking on the Strasbourg real estate market. The new project will cleanly demarcate the inhabited area from the aerodrome. Sector 5: On the far West side of the area, this sector must tie our project to the existing green infrastructure. The area is repurposed as a playground (the Meinau stadium is nearby) and is also host to a number of corner shops.
Left page: - Sectors details Right page: - Transport infrastructures in the green wave