NEW YORK AND SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND are not obvious global partners, but as the following projects demonstrate, our design studios at GSAPP are increasingly positioned in global cities undergoing rapid transformation, with travel, research, field work and symposium as critical components of a dynamic educational process. As an open laboratory rethinking professional norms and responsibilities, GSAPP has much to learn from the South Pacific. Open minds and deep partnerships are the key to rethinking the future of our field. During half a dozen exchanges and joint studios between GSAPP and UQ the students and faculty explored ways to re-imagine the future of Brisbaneâ€™s greater urban environment through new understandings of related contemporary urban theories, and the extensive exploration of unique regional landscapes. Our increasingly close partnerships with Australian scientists, government agencies, and community activists redefined the field and the role of our student designers, advancing theories of urban ecology that have been deployed to reveal new forms of design and scholarship. The result is a rich ecology of overlapping experiments with different trajectories that continually evolve and allow the studios to find new ways to progress in response to the ever-changing intellectual and practical horizons of New Model Cities. The projects in this publication illuminate this process, as the students and teachers stood together on the edge between the known and the unknown, determined to invent the best step forward for their fields, while systematically blurring the line between teaching and research. The work produced illustrates considerable expertise in urban ecology that is possible through the collective inquiry and communal work environment that is native to our multi-disciplinary approach of the studio and research units. Education is all about trust. The best teachers embrace the future by trusting the student, supporting the growth of something that cannot be seen yet, an emergent sensibility that cannot be judged by contemporary standards. A school dedicated to the unique life and impact of the thoughtful architect must foster a way of thinking that draws on everything that is known in order to jump into the unknown, trusting the formulations of the next generation that by definition defy the logic of the present. Education becomes a form of optimism that gives our field a future by trusting students, to see, think, and do things we cannot. It is the prerogative of universities to act as laboratories for testing new ideas about the possible roles of designers in a global society. The goal is not a certain kind of design, but a certain evolution in expertise that can only be cultivated by exchange and dialogue between students and educators internationally. This publication documents four years of research and collaboration between Columbia University GSAPP and the Queensland University followed by support from the Australian Research Council, The University of Queensland, Queensland Rail and Queensland Transport. This partnership demonstrates our collective commitment to a wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary approach in the global arena that establishes the highest level of professional, technical, and creative expertise while actively analyzing and rethinking the very basis of those fields. The heart of this experimental mentality is our unique studio culture in which each design project is treated as an independent experiment within the global landscape with an emphasis on inquiry and discovery -- an attitude that permeates the rest of the school in classes, individual research projects, laboratories, centers, lectures, symposia, and publications. Simply by thinking together about the immediate future in this ongoing collaboration with our Australian colleagues, the South Pacific becomes a laboratory for the future of architectural education. I look forward to the next experiments. Mark WigleY, DEAN Columbia University GSAPP
5 MOJDEH BARATLOO Columbia University Co-Editor kathi holt-damant Queensland University of Technology Co-Editor JEANNIE KIM Columbia University Publication Editor
FOREWORD Dean Mark Wigley, GSAPP
EMERGING URBAN FUTURES: Land, Water, Infrastructure Kathi Holt-Damant, QUT
DISCOURSE Mojdeh Baratloo, GSAPP
LAND Mojdeh Baratloo with Marissa Gregory
nicole huang Columbia University Publication Designer
IAN WHEELER-NICHOLSON FATOU KINE DIEYE Text Editors
SPECIAL THANKS: Professor Haig Beck John Cikuts (QR) Aimee Chang Professor Phil Charles Jackie Cooper Andrew Dâ€™Occhio Jemina Dunn (DIP) Philip Follent (formerly GCCC) Professor John Frazer Bruce James (QT) Professor Mick Keniger Michael Kerry (formerly OUM) Jackie Luk Professor Paul Memmott Justin Garrett Moore Hal Morris (formerly QR) Michael Papageorgiou (formerly GCCC) Mike Scanlan (QR) Laura Stedenfeld Philip Tidwell Ward Verbakel Alessia Vitali Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Traveling Design Studios to Australia In collaboration with the University of Queensland (2002-2006) & Queensland University of Technology (2006-2009) Spring 2004 Urban Interpretations Urban Design Studio Global Studio Faculty Mojdeh Baratloo Michael Conard Kate Orff Richard Plunz Embedded Critic: Kathi Holt-Damant Spring 2005 Threat Management: Designing in Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue Architecture and Planning Studio Joint Discipline Studio Faculty Mojdeh Baratloo Justin Garrett Moore Shane Taylor Embedded Critic: Kathi Holt-Damant Spring 2006 H2O Studio Architecture, Research by Design Studio Faculty Mojdeh Baratloo Ed Keller Embedded Critic: Kathi Holt-Damant
Brisbane 2057 AD John Byrne New York California Marissa Gregory
South Bank: An Emerging Urban Precinct Malcolm Snow
The New Radiant City Mark Jarzombek
Pragmatism in Urban Design Gwendolyn Wright
water Mojdeh Baratloo with Skye Duncan
Landscapes of Water Paola Vigano
The Urban Design Lab Hudson Regional Modeling Initiative Richard Plunz with Kubi Ackerman
Inland Iain Kerr + Petia Morozov
INFRASTRUCTURE Mojdeh Baratloo with Marissa Gregory
Megaform as Urban Landscape Kenneth Frampton
Taming the Automobile Sigurd Grava
Connected Digital Cities John Frazer
Operative Urbanism on Infrastructural Lands Ward Verbakel
Building as Nature Dennis Dollens
The Urban Net (at) Work Petra Kempf
ESI-KILANGA BOWSER152–153 GIANNI BRUSCHI132–133 JOHN BYRNE23–37 AIMEE
CHANG66–71 JACKIE CHI HO CHENG139–140 BRADLEY CORNISH121,129 TIM CRASHAW128 MATTIEU
D’OCCHIO122–125 DENNIS DOLLENS141–155 CHRISTIAN DUELL142–143 SKYE DUNCAN60–61, 102–103
PRUE EXELBY146 ODIT FEINBLUM82–83 JAMES FENWICK108–109 EMILIA FERRI104–107
MEYERS121, Petia MARLIN
ELIZA VIJAY JODI
MORAWSKA147 NARANG118–119 OSTRZEGA90–91
RICHARD PLUNZ80–91 MATTHEW PRIEST152–153 RODRIGO PRIETO62–65 TANYA RYAN108–109 MARJAN sansen22–37,
MALCOLM SNOW41–47 LEGIER STAHL44–45 JOHN SUNWOO86–89
PHIL TILOTSON120, 134–135 JULIAN TOOMBA129 CHRISTINA TUNG62–65 WARD VERBAKEL22–37, 40–43, 135–140
CHRISTINA WATTERSON137 LUKE WATSON110–111 ERIN WHEATLEY146,
MARK WIGLEY5 GWENDOLYN WRIGHT56–57 OLIVER VALLE104–107 MATTHEW VAN KOOY112–113 PAULA VIGANO63-79 YUICHIRO YAMAGUCHI154–155 TIMOTHY ZIETH126–127
Emerging Urban Futures: Land, Water, Infrastructure Dr Kathi Holt-Damant / QUT Framing the context What happens when a city is placed under scrutiny? Experiences that locals take for granted or even ignore are considered strange, anomalous or even extraordinary to visitors. Customs that take no more than a nod need to be explained and expanded, sometimes including centuries of development – at times many questions cannot be answered. Furthermore, the interest that visitors have shown seeming ordinary urban phenomena has sparked an opportunity for review. This has a beneficial effect for renewal in a city. In the first instance, the post-colonial Australian context in which we were working had to be interrogated, interpreted and then translated to satisfy a global perspective. Prejudices and urban myths that previously made sense to local architects and planners had to
now be rationalised for a broader context, like: the historical layers of the city that contributed to Brisbane’s identity in relation to other Australian cities; the aboriginal origins compared with the colonial records; understanding indigenous Brisbane; dreamtime stories of this region cast against urban myths; and lastly the reality of urban development with its particular patterns of settlement, rapid growth, urbanisation and extreme congestion as compared with trends around the world. Colonial Brisbane ‘On Monday, 27 March 1848, the people of Brisbane town were shocked to learn of an exceptionally brutal murder at Kangaroo Point. The victim had been Robert Cox, a sawyer…from the Tweed River area. The body had been expertly butchered…’ t ‘Had it not been for [this] murder and robbery…the University of Queensland would not be sited at St Lucia2. An innocent man hanged for the crime. The murderer confessed in August, 1865.3’
Early Brisbane was a rough and aggressive frontier town that continues to resonate with the contemporary climate of Brisbane today. Echoes from the past are explained in Rosamond Siemon’s historic novel, The Mayne Inheritance, which explores and frames the extraordinary beginnings of the University of Queensland within these early colonial settlement patterns. In itself the violence of the singular murder is not so remarkable for an early settlement, but, taken as a landmark event at which one of the oldest universities in Australia began its life on a celebrated new campus, the event mirrors the climate of opportunism and racketeering that underpinned Brisbane’s development and expansion 4. Urban layers: ‘The somewhat swampy South Brisbane and higher Kangaroo Point faced North Brisbane across the water; each settlement, pushed by its investors, vied to become the trading heart of Brisbane.5’ ‘Ships, when they came were the life blood of More-
1 Kirsten Fry
10 Nick McGowan
2 Nick McGowan
11 Emily Banks
3 Helena Seagrott
12 Kirsten Fry
4 Sky Allen
13 Shuai Yang
5 Emily Banks
14 Kirsten Fry
6 Kathleen Weir
15 Kathleen Weir
7 Kathleen Weir
16 Kirsten Fry
8 Toan Binh Lam
17 Kirsten Fry
9 Toan Binh Lam
ton Bay...The only links between Kangaroo Point, [North Brisbane] and South Brisbane were the boatmen with their ferries. These two south bank communities should have enjoyed a trading edge over North Brisbane: they were on the direct route to the inland, the Darling Downs, and the long overland haul to Sydney – but the race for supremacy was very much in the hands of the entrepreneurial capitalists. The rivalry between the three areas provided a climate of challenge…6’ As these quotations show, Brisbane, was unlike Sydney in its settlement patterns, which again was also quite different to Melbourne or Adelaide¬ (both free settlements and planned cities that were financially supported by the flurry of gold rush in Victoria and South Australia). Brisbane was further distinguished by its hilly topography, hot humid summers and sub-tropical vegetation. Located in the South Eastern corner of Queen-
sland, Brisbane has the highest population density in the state. Narrowly contained between the northsouth dividing range of mountains and the long eastern coastline stretching north, Brisbane city, and its numerous conurbations along the South-Eastern coastline are best described as the 200 km city. It is the third largest city in Australia, and since the 1990s has been the destination choice for a steady migration from the southern states of Australia. With this continuous influx of people the pressures on infrastructure, services and resources have all increased – although foreseen, the increased usage and demand were not planned for. Like many entrepreneurial developments of the colonial past, SEQ has relied heavily on industry and market forces to define and satisfy the trends. Previous State Governments invested little in infrastructure, maintenance or new services. Similarly the State-wise transport infrastructure (rail road and bus) had no plans to accommodate these increases in exigency. Even as recently as in 2002 the idea of mass transit across
Brisbane was an unconvincing idea with few people favouring public transport over car travel - rail travel being the least popular. Emerging Futures Project Beginning The aims of the project were relatively modest: to simply understand why such low densities occurred along existing railway corridors, especially those concentrated around the existing railway station precincts of Milton, Auchenflower, Indooroopilly and Toowong where good opportunities for transit-oriented development naturally arose? Where railway stations in most cities tend to occupy the poorest land, these particular SEQ stations enjoyed 180-degree view corridors, topographic highlights and a spatial continuity of landscape that was matched only by the Brisbane River valley. These rail corridors were also laid over some of the first aboriginal tracking routes in and out of the colony. Historically they represented some of the earliest conflicts between colonial culture and the indigenous people.
INTRODUCTION | Kathi Holt-Damant | 9
Pilot project - The Emerging Futures Project The coincidence of a travelling studio to Brisbane by Columbia University (New York) in 2004, enabled the reframing of the Emerging Futures pilot Project to suit a combined urban design studio at postgraduate and 4th year architecture levels. By chance, the project began a new phase imbued with interdisciplinary complexity. The new project was submitted for an Australian Research Council Linkage grant combining an international research team from Columbia University, Rand and the University of Queensland. The project was reinforced by two key industry partners: Queensland Rail and Queensland Transport, and consequently won a substantial ARC Linkage-Grant in 2005. The research plan included case studies, studio-based teaching, design research and consultancy collaborations with industry and stakeholder groups. With recent train bombings in England, and earlier in Spain, a special focus on security and counter-terrorism seemed essential in researching railway corridors for Australia.
The scope of the research expanded to include threat management and transport strategy along with the earlier core urban design and architectural components. In 2005, the newly formed Queensland Governmentâ€™s Office of Urban Management released its blue print for future growth and development in SEQ7. This initiative coincided with the directive to consolidate new development in and around the limited infrastructure corridors 8. Although no new rail infrastructure was envisaged an intensive new network of bus-ways were considered critical. A Transit-oriented development working party was formed to give direction to future transit-oriented planning policies for SEQ 9. Railway corridors in general present interesting spatial phenomena for cities. The continuity of space created between station developments is often inhabited only by the infrastructure of rail-roads, rolling
stock and sporadic planting. For the most part the railway corridor acts as a physical urban divide â€“ forging deep incisions in the landscape. Space, climate and landscape While every state in Australia has to deal with many different landscapes and climatic regions nowhere is this clearer than in South East Queensland. Here, the climate is categorised as sub-tropical, yet the variations in micro-climate are significant and dependent upon the topography and landscape. A small group of architects in SEQ have been experimenting with designing for a sub-tropical environment, using systems that enable the best integration of site, landscape and climate. Their endeavours have produced a unique architecture within Australia where external form is subordinated to space, and the experience of the viewer is prioritised. At any scale the internal experience of space comes as a surprise after crossing the threshold and entered the enclave.
1 Sky Allen
10 Shuai Yang
2 Mark Taylor
11 Daniel Ryan
3 Toan Binh Lam
12 Shuai Yang
4 Sky Allen
13 Kirsten Fry
5 Sky Allen
14 Daniel Ryan
6 Kathleen Weir
15 Kirsten Fry
7 Shuai Yang
16 Lukas Esper
8 Kirsten Fry
17 Cameron Thiessen
9 Daniel Ryan
The Queensland work of Donovan Hill Architects10 has demonstrated this successful coalescence of space, landscape and climate at a range of scales, from the suburban house to the public building, as has the work of Andresen O’Gorman11, or Elizabeth Watson-Browne to mention only a few architects12. Aboriginal sense of space The more difficult context to understand is the pre-colonial layer of SEQ comprising an Aboriginal sense of space, which departs from any traditional readings of space where scale is dominant. Based on a sustained period of research, the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre 13 at the University of Queensland maintains the position that Aboriginal architecture: ‘is an expression of highly complex and diverse relationships between the physical, social and cosmological environments 14.’ Premised on the idea that the entire continent of Australia is one immense cultural landscape cre-
ated during the Dreamtime with human occupation stretching back into the Ice Age and having endured many major phases of climate changes, this occupation brought with it a unique perception of space and place which underpinned sacred sites celebrated through ceremonial architecture as well as a range of settlement styles from sedentary stone villages to temporarily occupied campsites with minimal structures. Paul Memmott describes the temporal properties of Indigenous architecture as including ‘types of change’ that revolved around ‘an activity (involving a time, frequency, and duration of usage)…15’ ‘There are then no abstract units of time and space that people use to measure distance between events, i.e. no quantified geometry of space or chronology of time. The overall result is the possibility of expanding or compressing time and/or space in historical or geographical thought. Scale is less important than sequential correctness of events in space
and time, and the nature of causal links between them….’ To quote McKay: ‘space and time construct can be thought of more like a constellation with the past and the people of the past always in the present, like the constellation of the sky – enmeshing, surrounding – always before you, always behind, forming patterns that can be interpreted in various ways’ 16. To understand the evolution of Australian post-colonial architecture it is perhaps easiest to compare the complex coexisting tradition of architecture as it has responded to ideas about space, climate and landscape 17. We find two examples of such co-existence in SEQ: firstly with the use/misuse of landscape by the Colonists/new settlers/migrants in contrast to the temporal interpretations of cultural landscapes by indigenous Australians; secondly, where these clashes have been reconciled or mediated in some form. Common elements in each tradition are underpinned by a considered approach
INTRODUCTION | Kathi Holt-Damant | 11
to both climate and landscape and have produced an evolving space perception. The Brisbane River presents one of these contested landscapes holding divergent meanings to each culture. International visitors frequently remark on there being so few cross-river connections existing in Brisbane, or question why the CBD, although so close to the river, is collared and hemmed in by the concrete riverside expressway – even the underdeveloped historic Kangaroo Point which enjoys spectacular views, cliffs and extensive river frontage along its finger peninsula is isolated by traffic arterioles. Bris-Vegas – New York Lastly, the relationship between Brisbane and New York might seem remarkably at odds for comparative design research, processes and case studies: the high-density thriving metropolis of New York versus the over-sized, country-town of Brisbane – where
not even the climates claim similarities. Both cities do however share similar issues relating to services, resources (water, land, energy) and infrastructure brought together in the realm of public urban space. One city having dealt with transit-oriented development for decades and the other, just coming to terms with what this might mean for future growth. Much of our research here in SEQ has focused on the role of the urban station as a key to sustainable growth. New York has a sustained history in the evolution, rise and demise of the urban station – it also has one of the first exemplars of planned Transit-oriented development in the world: Grand Central Station. Consequently, case studies from New York have enabled us to develop a datum for the examination of SEQ stations and precincts 18. During the life of the project, over 40 international students and Faculty from Columbia University have travelled to SEQ. State and Local Government, industry professionals and expert consultants in both
cities have contributed generously to sharing knowledge and data in these energetic events. Common themes of land, water and infrastructure have reoccurred over the years setting up comparisons between local examples, global case studies and benchmarking ¬– some challenges have persisted and need to be considered critical to the future sustainability of SEQ, most notably those related to water, infrastructure and land. The annual visits from Columbia University have had an unanticipated outcome. Due to the timing of the visits in February/March each year, these intensive two-week visits have accelerated our image of the rapid change in the region, showing at each visit, a twelve-month compressed period of growth and development. This collective body of research contained in this book has enabled a number of urban issues to be examined cumulatively and from different professional perspectives. In addition to the work in this book, and tangentially to the design
1 Helena Seagrott
10 Chrissy Carter
2 Kirsten Fry
11 Daniel Ryan
3 Chrissy Carter
12 Emily Banks
4 Daniel Ryan
13 Helena Seagrott
5 Nick McGowan
14 Kirsten Fry
6 Sky Allen 7 Nick McGowan 8 Daniel Ryan 9 Daniel Ryan
studios, the research team have hosted a number of international conferences, workshops, symposia and colloquia to discuss and debate the issues arising out of these related topics. Urban design has emerged from this research project as a discipline vitally necessary to the cultural future of Brisbane. The collective knowledge gained from such design research and shared studio culture enlarges our comprehension of global trends and practice. Not least, the period of study has engaged students, industry professionals, academics and key stakeholders in both cities to debate the complexity and confusion that is typical of a rapidly evolving contemporary city. In particular the challenges of SEQ have offered a real world urban laboratory for design research, and the following projects and texts present an array of ideas worthy of further discussion.
INTRODUCTION | Kathi Holt-Damant | 13
Discourse Mojdeh Baratloo / CU GSAPP The field or profession that almost finds it easier to identify what’s not deemed important than that which is, ‘architecture and urban design’ prides itself at least academically on the breadth and depth of subjects considered, leaping from diverse to inclusive scales, from person to planet. As public dialogue regarding environmental issues is growing from formerly marginalized special interest groups to international mass media events, architects particularly interested in urban discourses have the opportunity to rethink what we do, how we conceive of ourselves and our world, and whether the skills we have been trained, as a discipline, to utilize are sufficient to meet the needs of a dynamic environment. The unique difficulty we have faced in the past however is that a “discipline” is fundamentally formulated on standards of practice that are tested and tried over time, a system of reinforcing information that is not
as adaptive as necessary to meet the changes of the world concurrent with the events. If current scientific predictions regarding global issues such as climate change are correct, it is our adaptive ability as designer that will be most helpful and therefore we must cultivate and improve. A “discipline” is, by its nature, a closed system of rules - bounded necessarily to distinguish from other “disciplines”. Therefore academically, the studios documented in this publication were designed to antagonize the concept of discipline - reinterpreting it as a means of rigorous study rather than a defined boundary of investigation. We posited ourselves as provocateurs; questioning methodology, exploring new opportunities and generating new ways of thinking. The projects presented here are meant to be seen as throwing forward, extending the discussion of the topic at hand, rather than generating a single solution. The projects should be seen as a means of testing the ideas proposed, as
the experiment to test the hypotheses, for further evaluate and thinking. We are at a moment in time where inquiry prevails over answers. The global expansion of technology has spawned an acknowledgment of how little is known of the complexities of our cities, environments and societies. We are beginning to become aware of how much uncertainty exists in the world. As designers, we are engaged to provide solutions despite of unknowns - yet the final resultant impact of solutions we provide is also difficult to anticipate. What means do we have to interact in this system? Scientists can test their hypothesis in a laboratory, repeating their research until “conclusive” evidence is determined to support or refute their investigations. Engineers can calculate the forces acting in their creations, based on substantiated physical evidence, determining to some level of certainty its successful performance – that is if only in physical terms in relation to physical properties- the force of
gravity, for instance. Architects and urban designers perform in a realm that is significantly more elusive.
throw forward, extend. The nature of our practice is hypothetical and discursive.
In our best practices and design studios we aspire and are required to create projects that are different each time - the repetition of scientific experimentation is the antithesis of our ideal of creativity, and the specificity of individual circumstances - each project, its constituents, site, and circumstances is different. How can inherently individual experiences and uniquely relevant in different circumstances, be measured to determine a success? In a world which aspires to absolutes and determinacy, how can designers assert the value of something that is intended to be variable, modifiable, indeterminate or fluid through time? Our creations are “plans”, ideas of what should be done and how to achieve it not “evaluations” or investigations of that which has already been done and its success. Our product is a “project” yet all too often, we forget the basis of the meaning of the word originally from Latin: to
In academia we pride ourselves with the task of preparing the next generation of designers to tackle the daunting yet exhilarating role as defined and to take on the leadership in this area. If it is our responsibility to better equipped our future through design in a world of ever increasing complexities, how do we evaluate whether our current efforts in academia and profession are enough? It is in this realm of exploration that the collaborative academic research between Columbia University in New York, USA, University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology in Australia was established. The exchange enabled a means of testing new ideas, instigating discussion in areas outside the purview of practical architecture, urban design and planning disciplines. Through redesigning the question of responsibility and
potentials, using our typical creative process, the studios presented here were designed to address the questions such as; how can we nourish from both academia and the profession, how the eventual manifestation of our design pedagogy can bring forth potential solutions, and how can they be tested effectively for further evaluation? The students from participating studios at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation were in their final semester of studies within the post-professional degree programs in urban design, architecture and urban planning. They all hold undergraduate degrees, many of which are professional degrees and many have professional work experience prior to returning for additional research and studies. The quality of work the students are capable of generating is, therefore, expected to be equivalent to the quality of work by any professional in their specific field. This brought a unique challenge to the organization of the studios
PREFACE | Mojdeh Baratloo | 15
and an on-going collaboration between the faculty and the student groups. Studios from the inception were viewed as a design project - an experimentation with field trips, organization of and interaction within conferences, and organization of various activities to investigate and to provoke. This experiment proved quite fruitful in several conference formats, where the interactions between students and experts were orchestrated such that the students posed a series of specific questions and the experts were able to respond and engage accordingly. The first Columbia studio of this series to engage Australia and South East Queensland was an urban design studio. The final discussion and conference at the University of Queensland resulting from the Fall 2004 studio, initiated the Australian Research Council (ARC)’s interest in an expanded research and design project. This attention and later support enabled continued research by Columbia University, University of Queensland and Queensland University
of Technology through a grant from ARC and two Australian railroad companies which focused the investigations to the topic of transit-oriented development. As a methodology, the human ability to understand complex topics is necessarily serviced by breaking them into parts - understanding each part individually, then the relationship between the parts, and finally reassembling the parts and relationships to achieve an approximation of understanding of the whole. Therefore, the exploration of the topic “transit-oriented development” expanded into a project that varied significantly over the course of the collaboration and through two new studios. The collection of investigations proved quite diverse as to be unrecognizable from its initial straight forward beginning, and was ultimately reorganized through the topics of Land, Water and Infrastructure. Through this organization we began to address issues that are integral to and simultaneously outside of the disciplines of architecture or urban design
as typically are considered topics of scientists, engineers, sociologists, politicians, marketers, etc. In the process we also realized categorization could generate the danger of simplification as a homogeneous check lists. Admittedly no such facile and straight forward solution exists, or is even desirable in the realm of urban design, as a large portion of the challenge lies in being able to find the areas within the grey that provide the right balance between professional expert responsibilities and academic freedom of experimentation and thought. Therefore the studios were developed in pairings of disciplines to gain broader perspective: one year enabling the relationship between architecture and urban planning to come forth, another year enabling architecture to engage with film studies and means of documentation and analysis. These new collaborations moved the projects beyond boundaries associated with a “site” and start to address larger issues, crossing many borders. Therefore, global interconnectivity
became a revealing agent in the webbed world, allowing the complexities of the environmental concerns, physical, social, etc. to be better engaged and comprehended, and enabling us to have new interpretations and discussions within our studios. It is this type of on-going dialogue that has simultaneously brought localized resource and knowledge into our studios along with much larger and broader topics. The specificity of a single location, a public street corner for instance, is at once cast into relationship with a global phenomenon – climate change. We have found that the emphasis on diversity of scale and diversity of expertise therefore – macro-to-micro understanding is a unique opportunity that we as architects and urban designers can capture to leverage our professional skills as multi-scalar creative problem-solvers, being simultaneously general and specific thinkers. Throughout our joint institutional collaboration, what we instigated most significantly as a methodology
has been to cross-fertilize and to create an on-going dialogue amongst all possible interested groups. This approach developed the crucial interface that we have enjoyed since between architecture, urban design, urban planning, environmental sciences, engineering, economics and a research based design pedagogy. This pedagogy has created an academic professional education based on untraditional systems that foster the exploration of new, innovative ideas. Admittedly, the methods explored may not satisfy established professional requirements, yet we believe they are absolutely necessary for the development of the profession. We assume that post-professional graduate students have a level of proficiency equal to a professional in practice – and therefore question how academia could differ from practicing in the traditional profession and, how it can contribute to its share of responsibility. How can the students with a broad range of backgrounds inform the process of creating, renewing, changing, adapting
design for cities and our environment unique from professional practice? The success of this collaboration is for your evaluation in this book. This book was designed as “a catalogue” model that can encapsulate a wide array of discourse, from student site documentation to written works by prominent thinkers in the discipline. Our dialogue is expected to continue, and additional resources are being sought for the next phase of this collaboration - where the sites focus on regions and topics integral to the condition within the United States and other global contexts, such as energy, economy and ecology. The publication of this work is not intended as a culmination of the effort but rather as an opening up of the discussion to the larger public. Consider the information displayed here as hypothesis rather than presentation. They are not final solutions, but projects.
PREFACE | Mojdeh Baratloo | 17
land Pronunciation: \land\ Function: noun 1 a: the solid part of the surface of the earth ; also : a corresponding part of a celestial body b: ground or soil of a specified situation, nature, or quality c: the surface of the earth and all its natural resources 2: a portion of the earth’s solid surface distinguishable by boundaries or ownership as a: country b: a rural area characterized by farming or ranching ; also : farming or ranching as a way of life 3: realm , domain, sometimes used in combination 4: the people of a country 5: an area of a partly machined surface (as the inside of a gun barrel) that is left without machining — land·less \ˈland-ləs\ adjective
LAND Mojdeh Baratloo with Marissa Gregory Human beings are terrestrial; we have few permanent aquatic habitations, and even fewer aerial (the international space station may be the only one). We live our lives, create our nations, establish our cities on terra firma: dry land. This habitation is so embedded in our species that it is nearly absurd to question it, and yet it shall increasingly be questioned. If anyone, globally, is asked what land is, an image comes immediately to mind. What are its edges? What is its depth? The character, climate? Is it bounded mentally, emotionally, physically? How is it valued? Further elaboration reveals a conceptual and tangible character infused with a rich diversity. Although embedded in our consciousness, land can be easily misunderstood and oversimplified. The term “land” is significant in human understanding, holding three parts of speech in its English form: noun (the land), verb (to land), and adjective (land-
less, land-locked, land-lover). We append “land” to other words to form additional meanings: homeland, wasteland, landscape, landmark. We use it to describe political and social realms: land of the free, Greenland, Swaziland, dreamland, playland. We appropriate it for commercial uses: Disneyland, TVland. It takes this amount of variation to describe the conceptual and physical form that is land. In different places, land has different associations. Various cultures utilize and appreciate it distinctly. The translocation of experience and knowledge of land generates opportunities for reinterpreting its importance, as two (or more) systems of understanding merge, collide, or overlay in the same physical space. When the Dutch arrived to inhabit Manhattan Island, in what is now New York City, their history of seafaring and manipulation of water to increase land, converting marshes to dry land, was translated to the area, although the Native American population already inhabiting the area
our terrains. How can we balance the advantages of this in the context of the complex systems involved? Architects are taught to draw grading plans—reshaping contours, flowing water away from some parts and toward others—but this is a gross oversimplification of processes that we may be disturbing or altering; how can we understand and create more appropriate responses? The technical, legal understanding of land is very different from emotional, biological, chemical, or other types of understanding. Land as property; owning land also includes the animal, vegetable, mineral, water, and air rights to the space above and below; land has depth and is much richer than just soil. The earth is multilayered and complex; is our legal understanding of property and property rights complex enough to fully encapsulate land? How can we better engage the complexities of the idea? To whose benefit should this be done? And what new concepts for understanding both land and property
are required in dynamic environments? Can the confines of legal systems that define property be challenged to appreciate the larger dynamic nature of land?
INTRODUCTION CU 21
hadn’t utilized this approach because culturally their understanding of territory and land did not require it. The importance of the land/water edge to trade and economy has been evident in cultures of various parts of the globe throughout time; a port city is very different from a city without commercial waterways. The coastal and riverine cities of the United States hold economic prominence over the heartland that is the center of the country, and this phenomenon is not limited to the U.S. In fact, projections show that the coastal cities of the world will continue to increase in population as people around the globe move from rural areas to cities, and coastal cities make up the majority of the world’s large cities. As climate change affects sea levels, these areas will experience unprecedented variation in their relationship to terra firma. As cultures globally face new relationships between land and water simultaneously, an exciting opportunity for a new lexicon of response is generated. Current technology enables us to move mountains, carve valleys, and otherwise restructure
CLIMATE + ECOLOGY Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel
1 Continental shifts 2 Settlement patterns 3
ABORIGINAL LANDS EUROPEAN LANDS MAJOR GOLD DISCOVERIES AREAS OF RESISTANCE TO EUROPEAN OCCUPATION
3 Foliage density in 1788: pre-European settlement geoscience australia 4 Foliage density in 1988: post-European settlement 100% 0 - 30%
5 Frequency of large bush fires 3 5 10 20 20+ 5
6 80,000 years ago: ocean level rises 7 Vegetation color winter 8 Vegetation color summer 9 Number of people moving to South East Queensland every week 10,000 people 20,000 people 40,000 people 80,000 people
10 2001 value of a single dwelling house www.abs.gov.au 2. http://www.deh.gov.au/ soe/2001/atmosphere/introduction-4.html 11 Rainfall winter 12 Rainfall summer 13 Kilometers of railways 14 Kilometers of roadways http://www.dotrs.gov.au/transprog/rail/history.htm 7
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BRISBANE 2057 AD John Byrne Sustainable city-making is a complex thing. It is multidimensional, interdisciplinary, twisting and turning…needing to be both reactive and proactive…and, ideally, both motivated by and aimed towards a coherent if not clear idea of what would constitute a better outcome. Some things change quickly, perhaps without much notice, and need to be responded to. Other things evolve more slowly and inexorably and can be seen coming or while happening, and the call must be whether to promote them, head them off, ignore them, or accept them.
Trends intersect and interact. Cities and societies are complex things, not a series of parallel, one-dimensional processes. The economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental spheres interact, and they do soon local, regional, and global levels. In the context of city-making and city governance, it is important to identify and understand the complex processes of change and the identifiable strands within them, and to have a logical and vision-inspired response. In doing that it is sometimes useful to analyze trends, whether individually or in small groups, and extrapolate from them to see where they might take us…a kind of city science fiction. This is not a new process and indeed has a long and honorable literary tradition, evolving eventually into the world of utopian and dystopian dramatic fiction, but it seems these days to be made more use of in the wonderful, technologically spellbinding world of the cinema than in city planning and governance or any other social -policy arena. There is probably not much debate about the sorts of changes that might be relevant to our cities, even if there are different political views about their appropriateness or acceptability. In Australia, for example, we have witnessed in the last decade or so our democratically elected national government deny for too long (and therefore fail to address) the reality of global warming, preside over the widening of the gap between rich and poor, weaken or strip the funding from a variety of decent, humane fundamental social support, housing, educational, and universal health programs (while talking
TRANSCITY Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel
Brisbane and its future can be understood in the context of the models of culture and form established by other cities. The connection has already been made: “Bris Vegas,” “Bris Angeles,” the numerous references to Miami…. What kind of city is Brisbane becoming?
The logic of development and patterns for living of a city are highly diverse. The abstract grid of the American city creates one kind of pattern and consequent economies, infrastructures, relationships to “natural” spaces. The Latin American city produces another, the Australian city a third. The rapid growth of Brisbane and South East Queensland’s population has of course transformed the territory of the city in its relationship to undeveloped spaces. Sprawl development has occurred in various configurations (sprawl sprawl and concentrated sprawl?) as evidenced by the figure-ground of the newly developed urban areas in SEQ.
The SEQ region’s cities and their growth have been determined mostly by the car. Will the transformation of Brisbane and the SEQ’s urbanism be directed by rail transport? How will the conflict between road and rail infrastructure play out in relation to density, open space, economy, and value, or in the imagination of the people living in SEQ? 1 Urban Patterns 2 Brisbane 3 Los Angeles 4 Detroit 5 New York 6 Brisbane Development from left to right: 1972, 1988, difference, figure-ground of transformed areas 7 Gold Coast Development from left to right: 1972, 1988, figure-ground of transformed areas 8 SEQ built areas 9 SEQ road 10 SEQ rail 11 Centers and markets
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about the virtues of promoting individual opportunity and rewarding initiative), walk away from involvement (let alone leadership) in the nation’s cities and warn of impending attacks upon Australian society from an increasingly unstable and ideologically violent world. At the same time, energy has become more expensive and water more scarce, the nature of jobs and workforce participation continues to change, and Australian society continues to become more multicultural and to age, with its households generally smaller and more child-free.
And, more than ever, Australia’s future is inextricably enmeshed with the world’s future. What happens, in the pursuit of understanding where we are and what we need to do, if we extrapolate some of these trends to see where they might lead us? In a recent seminar I, along with others, was invited to suggest what Brisbane’s community might be like in 50 years’ time. At short notice, I offered (in my allotted time of ten minutes!) five quick caricatures— or might they be cartoons of our future reality?—for Brisbane, 2057AD. Scenario One The economic base of society has changed radically. 11
By 2057, all manufacturing, most retail,
2004 Brisbane 2
Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel
Veranda Urbanism is a strategy to reconfigure the spatial and cultural logics that have defined the suburban, private city. The urban site and problem are defined as a bricolage of various low-density urban conditions and patterns within South East Queensland: the island suburbs of Moreton Bay, the outer suburbs of Brisbane, and the canal suburbs of the Gold Coast. The project uses this combined (sub)urban construct to pose a new mechanism to reconfigure existing and future development at the most basic level, the private home and the private lot. Lifestyle: “What is the problem here?”
The South East Queensland pattern of low-density development and the idealized Australian Dream “lifestyle” present key unresolved urban design issues and raises questions for the region given it’s large projected growth: Q1. Can the SEQ region handle large population growth while allowing for the current ideal of the ¼ acre lot? 1 Verandah elements: 4 dimensional territory 2 Property lines redefined: two private lots 3 Verandah strip 1D 4 Verandah strip 3D 5 Negotiated lawn 6 ‘Natural’ growth strip + 1 year 7 ‘Natural’ growth strip + 10 years 8 New spatial relationship: inside/outside 9 Queenslander house analysis CONSTRUCT vegetation WATER
10 Verandah typology 11 Before 12 After 13 Before 14 After PUBLIC PRIVATE
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and many other jobs are now undertaken by robots and computers with artificial intelligence. Relatively speaking, few people “work” on a regular basis or for many hours, except for those involved in public administration, who represent a small but influential middle stratum. Housing is therefore now largely unrelated for most to the location of work. Rich housing is preoccupied with overt amenity and is high tech, providing for a continuous diet of entertainment and the means of political influence.
Other housing is often small, substantially owned by the state, and has relatively fewer technological supports. There is therefore a big demand for public distractions, and many of the economically poorest 70 percent spend a lot of time in the public realm and in community events, although mainly in those that are closest to them, since transportation is limited. In most homes there is little preparation of food; people mainly buy their meals pre-prepared or eat in one of a number of franchised restaurants.
From time to time an informal, undercover work-based economy breaks out for a while, often involving unauthorised food and the making of decorative objects. With so much time available and with so many people “disconnected” from meaningful activity, a large number of new religions have evolved and need management. This informal economy consists of a network for orally transmitting ideas, myths, and traditions from one generation to another, away from the state-controlled electronic media that are everywhere and in which official news, manufactured truths, and massive entertainment mingle. There are controls on family size, and voluntary euthanasia is encouraged. Scenario Two The social divide has widened. After the reelection of the conservative government in 2007 and again in 2011, the evolving gap between rich and poor continued to widen and, by 2034, the majority of the community eventually fell below the previously defined poverty line.
VERANDAH URBANISM Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel
Q2. How will the urban footprint negotiate environmental and infrastructural systems that define the surface? 1 2001 SEQ population: 2,456,628 2 2040 projected doubled population 3 Gold Coast site photo 4 Gold Coast site photo 4
Workers are transported into the city daily from distant overnight camps beyond the urban fringe. Those camps have seen squatter expansions by people attempting to live off the land, and there are problems therefore with the registered owners. To the extent there is housing for key workers or the poor in the cities, it is largely in enormous warehouse structures on the rim of industrial estates. By 2057 there is massive gentrification around residential centers, around transit nodes, and around sources of water. The rich live there, in secure gated communities, both walled neighborhoods and secure, 150-story or higher towers marketed by developers as â€œvertical villagesâ€? (although, as was already true in 2007, shorter versions of them were equally secured fortress structures). The public safety net of social housing has, with population growth, declined from 5 percent in the late 20th century to 0.5 percent, although at election time the politicians still insist absolute numbers have been maintained. Scenario Three There have been three decades of terrorism and sporadic war. As a result, many parts of the major city centers are derelict, with many large buildings ruined and unlikely to be repaired. Investment has in large part fled the traditional major centers. People with the means live in gated communities and rural fortresses as scattered islands (occasionally connected by peninsulas of urban built form) in a sea of lawlessness. A substantially large army and police force struggle to maintain control in support of an authoritarian regime that nevertheless presents itself as a democracy at war. There are occasional skirmishes between the official forces and private vigilante armies formed by the new religious bishoplords. Movement between communities is limited and controlled, as is socializing between groups. Best-practice CPTED is thus by high walls, automatic laser curfews, and the remote monitoring of almost all citizens,
achieved systems, real-time who now
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Home ownership is down from its 2000 AD figure of 70 percent to an all-time low of 25 percent. Outright homelessness is high, civil unrest widespread, and the public realm unsafe.
wa•ter function: noun date: before 12th century 1 a: the liquid that descends from the clouds as rain, forms streams, lakes, and seas, and is a major constituent of all living matter and that when pure is an odorless, tasteless, very slightly compressible liquid oxide of hydrogen H2O which appears bluish in thick layers, freezes at 0° C and boils at 100° C, has a maximum density at 4° C and a high specific heat, is feebly ionized to hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, and is a poor conductor of electricity and a good solvent b: a natural mineral water —usually used in plural
WATER Mojdeh Baratloo with Skye Duncan The 20th Century poet W. H. Auden wrote, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” Two barely measurable hydrogen atoms, one not much larger oxygen atom, a couple of covalent bonds, and we have one of the most magical and intriguing chemical combinations that we know of— water. This multitalented substance interweaves its way, in varied states, through complex rhizomatic networks of exhaustive scales that contribute to almost every aspect of our lives. Its continuous dynamic journey sees it spill from our skies, run off our roads and buildings, flow into our rivers, and infiltrate the Earth’s layers into our aquifers. In various manners we then source this water to be consumed and expelled by almost every living organism on the planet, at which point it finds its way back into our oceans and lakes for evaporation into the atmosphere to repeat its never-ending process. For cen-
turies we have been slowly redesigning our lifestyles and our environments, disrupting and adapting this natural cycle for various consumptive purposes, and now that the planned and unplanned greed of portions of the population has clearly gotten out of control, we have arrived at a point of crisis. Water has the power to define our countries’ geographical extents with global oceans, while at the same time its raging rivers, storm clouds, and subterranean aquifers can disregard any notion of definite borders. Water’s forceful movements allow it to reduce land forms as it carves away canyons and coastlines, displacing particles along its journey that are then dumped to generate new landmasses in other locations. As water accumulates in varying volumes around the globe, each nation is presented with a constant challenge. They must work tirelessly at the local scale to collect, store, and distribute water in greatly varying quantity to both farmers and urban dwellers, embracing the latest technologies or the most primitive techniques. Quality is one hurdle,
and maintaining a safe potable drinking level devoid of contaminants is vital but not always possible, as we see when we consider countries poorer in this valuable resource. Quantity is of course the other major hurdle, whether confronted with surplus or scarcity. Therefore adequate supply and distribution of this resource for population consumption is of one the considerations affecting the urban design field. Another factor is finding a way to deal with the recent unpredictable water volume related to our sky, our land, and our oceans. In the past, coping with a lack of water, proneness to flooding, or existence on top of giant ice shelves might not have been as problematic; communities were familiar with such issues and equipped for the conditions. But with rapidly changing weather behavior and differing settlement patterns, we are now addressing conditions we have not experienced in the past, and ever more frequently confronting environmental events categorized as catastrophic. Water, as it embeds itself at every scale conceivable and is immeasurably broad and complex as a lens of a
methodology for design, and considered alongside other relevant topics, can be a helpful tool to grapple with the many other environmental matters. The role and impact of water in our designs at all scales, considering both its physical form and structure, as well as processes of its delivery and dispersal, can be a critical tool for understanding interconnectivities in our urban systems. The following projects were intended to position designers to accept the challenge and view the current situation as a series of opportunities to aid the adaptation of environments to cope with scarcity and surplus of water in South East Queensland. Perhaps reviewing Mother Natureâ€™s sophisticated design of plants and bugs that survive in the desert is a good place to start, and perhaps ancient human practices, such as rainwater harvesting, building on stilts in areas of flooding and monsoons, and contraptions to collect water from fog catchers that collect tiny particles from the cooler night
air in the desert, deserve a reevaluation. Reality of course ensures we will always be faced with the complications of making commendable initiatives a reality and dealing with the hierarchical bureaucracy of multiple agencies and stakeholders and the competing interests in both the public and private sectors of design. But a fundamental question for us now is, How can we have a proliferating effect, from peopleâ€™s daily habits to their lifestyles and beyond, while considering the impact our designs have on our limited global supply of scarce resources such as water?
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INTENSIFIED INFRASTRUCTURE Christina Tung + Rodrigo Prieto
Exploring the monetary and political systems that harness and distribute natural resources, we considered not only the situations in Austin and Bolivia (at difference scales and time) but also examined work in films: Syriana (2005), Lessons of Darkness (1992), Emerald Forest (1985), and Repo Man (1984). From these examples of consequences resulting from the symbiotic relationship between big business and big government, we then abstracted this nature to a set of rules and modeled it using Maya software with parameters of growth and constraint. We understand the nature of these systems to be viruslike, depleting an areaâ€™s resources and moving to another. In our approach, we have accepted capitalism as our new global theology, affording a particular lifestyle vis-Ă vis the efficient reallocation of natural resources. Commodities exchanges provide an efficient method for reallocating the capital and cash across global markets, according to the forces of supply and demand. These exchanges build on the infrastructure, credit, and settlement networks already established by global industries in order to provide liquidity to all types of products (from tangible products such as food goods to intangibles such as stocks and derivatives). Products and services have been traded on markets of varying scale and with varying degrees of success. Issues that present major difficulty for creators of such institutions are standardization (products must be standardized, parceled, and sold as specific unit types) and delivery (trading commodities is no different than trading any other physical 1 Structure and Silos Ultrafiltration
2 Differentiated Water Flow 3 Differentiated Water Flow Ultrafiltration
4 Purification Process Ultrafiltration
5 NEED CAPTION 6 NEED CAPTION 7 Site Plan 5
Landscapes of water Paola Viganò The projects I will discuss are related to several research and design experiences concerning water infrastructure. Led in different contexts, they have been the occasion to bring together ideas, positions, topics, key issues, and design approaches that slowly construct a common experience of Europe’s physical landscape as a research field. This first statement seems banal but it requires taking a step back to reconsider the actual condition of the European city and territory.
A second common idea is that we, architects, urbanists, and landscape architects, have to respond to changes with pragmatic and operable solutions. This research takes some risks in considering the existence of Europe’s landscape over time, which is crucial in reading and working at the scale of the territory and also crucial when reflecting on the deep mutations of its basic infrastructural support. The effort shows that time is not working against design activity but is one of its most important components, and that we cannot think of actualizing such transformations without broadening not only our spatial but also our temporal horizon.
A third quite diffused idea, related to the former one, is that to provide solutions is an activity that does not require an elaborate theoretical approach and that design operations in particular are only the application of knowledge formulated and established in other contexts. The design approach reveals to what extent, when working on the water theme, we are confronted with concepts, ideas, and scientific and technical paradigms, and finally with ideologies, political projects that are historically and culturally based. To confront them, we need to take a critical distance and reread them from a new, contemporary theoretical perspective, with the understanding that changes in paradigms are occurring in other disciplines: hydraulic and environmental engineers, for example, are today thinking
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One common idea is that European urban and territorial fabrics are almost concluded, after a long story of progressive densification and networking. These projects explore, on the contrary, the great changes that will affect European territory in the future, starting with problems related to water management, agricultural reduction, and structural evolution. The themes are not any easier to handle in the Italian state of Veneto than they are in Holland or in other parts of Europe, and many researchers are currently observing them from different points of view. What is sure is that Europe’s landscape is drastically changing and is in need of new concepts and visions.
INTENSIFIED INFRASTRUCTURE Christina Tung + Rodrigo Prieto product, and goods must be ultimately delivered safely and on time). This project proposes an urban strategy that ties together the dependent synergies of various global industries into a single water network. By having one industry’s waste output become another industry’s productive input, we challenged the traditional water paradigm through a stratification of water purity and an intensification of infrastructure.
In determining a site, the proximity of the port and airport were considered for their existing infrastructures. In response to the decreasing amounts of rainfall on Brisbane, we considered future cloud-seeding locations that could work in conjunction with the airport. Where the optimal heights and velocities of planes took place around the site, we calculated the major forces of the wind in the area. Because much of Brisbane’s park and preserved land has been taken over by industry, we focused on the borders between industry and recreation to determine how our proposal could change the urban morphology at the local and urban scales. Our site was a constant negotiation between park, water, industry, topology, and climate. At the thresholds, we hoped to discover a place for an opportunity for change. We envision bringing to Brisbane’s harbor everything from a semiconductor chip manufacturing plant, pharmaceutical, synthetic gas, food and beverage, and metals finishing, to a single site where water types are sorted, shared among opportunistically driven partners and integrated back into the urban fabric, sharing waters with adjacent commercial, agricultural, and public spaces. The impact of our design in the face of today’s water scarcity and driving technologies will gradually emerge a new modality of metropolitan order.
1 Air Traffic Patterns 2 Wind Patterns 3 Program 4 Sections 5 Experience 2
and acting differently than in the past, and a new alliance is possible. About Dispersion The projects presented here deal with the theme of requalification of a part of the Veneto Region —diffused, fragmented, and contaminated—starting with the complex system of its water resources. The territory of Veneto, like many contemporary locations, is a place of paratactic combinations of a great number of paradoxes. It is a mutating territory, like many European territories of dispersion, where significant causes of crisis come to light that are modifying the character traits of the diffused city. I am referring to the specific mix of housing and industry in an extended territory, usually involving people living in a single detached house and working in a small enterprise. This model of diffusion and of “development without fractures” (Fuà, Zacchia, 1983) has been described in Italy both by economists, sociologists, geographers, and urbanists starting from the end of the 1970s and especially during the last 20 years (Indovina, 1990, Secchi, 1991 and 2005).
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The different paradoxes and elements of crisis are deeply linked to the distinctive features of settlement dispersion, a long-term phenomenon that has invested a great part of the Veneto territory, within which specific infrastructural configurations were defined: for instance, the diffused networks of waterways and roads. Isotropy is among the most intriguing feature: an almost utopian, egalitarian condition that is at the same time individualist, in which resources and opportunities are uniformly and regularly distributed. Nevertheless, the isotropic territory reveals unsuspected rigidity, with themes of hierarchy and difference. The same functional mix of small productive complexes and housing, which is typical of the incremental growth of the widely dispersed micro-industries in Veneto, enters into crisis when new mobility infrastructures must be inserted: There the conflict with the waters and the lower “sponge” of roads and built fragments explodes.
A paradox of void spaces also emerges in this territory, particularly the paradox of the still vast agricultural lands, which, except for a few instances, remain marginal from an economic viewpoint. Differently from other areas of settlement dispersion like Flanders, where the built areas reach percentages close to 60%, the Veneto plains cover important agricultural extensions that still represent the largest part of the territory. Despite this, and with the exception of some strongly specialized agricultural areas like those for chicory crops or vineyards, the functional and symbolic role of the agricultural landscape remains limited.
2006 Dubai + Gold Coast
DUBAI IN EVERY CITY: The Waterfront + Speculative Real Estate Aimee Chang Homogenization of place is occurring globally at the expense of local context. Dubai is selling itself as the 21stcentury prototype global city, founded on excessive consumption of mass tourism and speculative construction. Dubai is presented by its architecture as “consumable, replaceable, disposable, and short-lived.” And architects are propagating this unsustainable, exploitative, and repressive phenomenon in cities worldwide! Is this all that architecture has to offer society today? Gold Coast is Australia’s fastest-growing city in terms of population growth and construction. 42km of natural coastline has been expanded by a factor of 10 along manmade canals to construct the most expensive real estate in the state. The morphology of the seascape and landscape is so fabricated that you cannot distinguish between the natural and constructed. The type of waterfront real estate development taking place in Dubai can be found in other emerging cities around the world. There is a Dubai in every developing city!
1 Dubai: Prototype 21st Century? 2 1960s Creek: Dubai 3 1990s - 1990s Expansion: Dubai 4 Projected Development of Waterfront: Dubai 5 Fabricated Iconic Landscape: Dubai 6 Lot Selection: Dubia 7 Dubai in Every City: Gold Coast Australia 8 Queensland Australia Coastline: Gold Coast 9 Surfer’s Paradise Coastline: Gold Coast 10 Canal Estates Coastline: Gold Coast 11 Fabricated Iconic Landscape: Gold Coast 12 Lot Selection: Gold Coast
The marginal, even if extended, void requires a new conceptualization that could invest more sense and meaning to the possible forms of public space related to the different practices of the territory. The changing geographies of centrality relegate the traditional forms of public spaces to tourist attractions, or as peripheral and insignificant. My hypothesis is that today the relations between the fundamental elements of territorial support and its uses are in a state of crisis, often deprived of any effective meaning whatsoever, as if a hiatus had been introduced between the land’s infrastructure and its society. Not only is there the crisis of what many perceived as a model of territorial, social, and economic organization, which obliges us to rethink the existing relations between society and territory, but the reasons for this crisis are also enrooted in the here and now.
The idea of territory as infrastructure solidifies and becomes concrete in the fundamental elements of its support: the natural and artificial water regime and road systems. Through these elements, we can read many of the processes of rationalization that were realized in the course of time, the various ideologies that inspired them, the various images of modernization that were pursued, and the crisis that affects them, and see a growing distance between a support constituted over a long period and society with its contemporary needs and desires. In what ways is water a shared or a fought-over resource in the dispersed territory of Veneto? How can it participate in the construction of a new landscape for living? About Water Rationalizations In this context it is important to recognize the various processes during which different forms of rationalities have been posited in the form of concrete infrastructure and objects. Today, this transformation and modernization process appears extraordinarily accelerated and requires the development of new hypotheses. “Water” includes natural and artificial flows, reclamation and irrigation devices, and draining systems. Water may not always be visible but is the underlying reason for the construction of the territory around Venice. The institutional representation of the metropolitan area itself nearly coincides with the drainage basin of the lagoon, the territory whose superficial waters enter the lagoon of Venice or have been deviated from it in the period of the Venetian Republic. The empty space of today’s lagoon remains at the center of the territory around, as it was when 16th-century hydraulic sciences were born in Venice. “Rational” here is used in the sense that society decided in a specific historical moment that a certain type of territorial modification
was useful and started a process of improvement. Different layers are stacked upon one another, often reversing the point of view and the idea of what had to be considered rational: large or incremental investments, as in the Roman aggeratio or in its pervasive and continuous modification over centuries; exercises of collective and individual power to reach collective or individual scopes, as in the transformations of the industrial and agricultural models; and the expression of changing ideologies.
In the 16th century, the second big attempt to rationalize the waters, the great diversion of rivers entering the lagoon, was started by the Venetian Republic in order to avoid filling the protective water surface with sand and gravel brought from the northern mountains. Rivers were displaced to the east and west of the lagoon and new canals were built in an incredible effort that is at the origin of the new science of hydrology. This moment also marks the entry of Venice into a new phase of globalization, more interested in land and agriculture than in sea commerce. The outcome of the long debate opposing “the reasons of the land” to “the reasons of the sea” came out in a new phase of rationalization. In the 1930s, the third moment of rationalization, during the Fascist period, big works of reclamation invested the low wet areas around the lagoon with procedures of polderization not unlike the Dutch ones. The works were strong enough to change completely the physical and ecological character of the land, using complex systems of dikes, ditches, and pumping stations, to create new areas for industrial agriculture.
If in the middle wet plain the problem is to expel the water, in the dry plain it is to bring it in to provide irrigation, avoiding its immediate infiltration into the water table. In a beautiful map by Anton Von Zach, made at the beginning of the 19th century, a system of canals was represented as an interconnected mesh. During the 1930s, the continuous mesh was transformed into a network of concrete canals, a tree structure in which the relation between vegetation and water was lost, and the accessibility to the cultivated fields was limited. This transformation was also the consequence of a wider project of industrialization: a new alliance between big industry, which needed electricity and power to develop the new petrochemical pole of Porto Marghera, and the farmers of the dry plain. Big dams were built in the mountains that needed important engineering works, and part of the water was given to new industrial agriculture developed out of a “desert of gravel” in the dry plain, depriving the Piave River of almost all its water. The landscape changed: The earth canal with trees on both sides disappeared or remained only as a fragment, and the new network of concrete reduced the agricultural richness and biodiversity of the area with a strong simplification of traditional associations. The comparison of the two structures, the mesh and the tree structure, on a contemporary map, shows the conflict between the two different ideas of rational use of water. Onsite, the contrast is even more striking: One discovers the conflicting relation between them and the difficulty in making them work together. About Centrality and Public Space Starting from the complex system of waters and from the need of a safer territory, our design research explores the possibility of giving more space to the water, both for stocking it and to prevent flooding. It envisages the integration of low-lying, cultivated land along a river, or abandoned gravel pits turned into water reservoirs and canals in a new system of open spaces for public and collective practices. How does centrality match with the idea of a dispersed territory? In an isotropic territory, is a dispersed system of water storage more rational then one big basin?
The roughly 700 hectares called Prà dei Gai are a natural depression that can have an important role in guided flooding operations on the Livenza river. Its tributary, the Meduna (an alpine river, different from the Livenza, which is a quiet river that originates from a spring), has very dangerous floods, and when it reaches the main river the force of its waters obstructs the flowing of the Liv-
Each rationalization created its own landscape: The aggeratio attaches a drainage system to a network of roads, rows of trees, and cultivated fields divided by minor draining lines. More recently, in the last four decades, it has also organized a landscape of houses and industries along the roads, and its pres-
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In a very short and simplified overview, one can recognize three main moments of rationalization in strict relation with the geological, topographical, and hydrogeological features, following which we can divide the plain into three strips from north to south: the dry plain of gravel crossed by alpine rivers; the middle wet plain below the spring line; the lower wet plain up to the lagoon. The first important rationalization was the Roman centuriatio: Starting from the 2nd century B.C., it developed simultaneously as a drainage system, plot subdivision, and road infrastructure. Along the middle wet plain, the centuriatio turns at different angles to accommodate slopes that allow water to flow away from the impermeable ground.
ence helps to reveal the conditions in which a new economy of small and medium enterprises are initiated along the grid.
WATER AS COMMODITY FOR TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS Aimee Chang
In the capitalist market, the ability to operate at all scales within world cycles and networks has been taken advantage of by transnational corporations. Global localization is a neoFordist strategy of downsizing to exploit peripheral economies within the world system. International institutions like the World Health Organization are filtering world territory into archipelagoes of constructed criteria—here, by urban populations with access to safe drinking water. This archipelago is further defined by developing nations and has become a strategic territory for occupation by Nestlé Corporation. Nestlé created a multisite concept to “answer the needs of emergent countries’ people waiting for healthy water” by manufacturing and distributing water locally in those nations. The first 12 sites of production have vastly different infrastructural landscapes, yet the same blueprint factory was dropped in all those locations to produce a bottled water with the exact same mineral composition and taste.
Capable of global deployment, Pure Life bottled water achieves autonomy at the expense of local homogenization.
1 16th C Mercantilism: functional pattern of pointless flows MARITIME RoUTES MARITIME CITIES HANSEATIC ToWNS
2 20th C Global Capitalization: networked 3 Development Doppler EMAAR NAKHEEL SUNLAND DEVELOPER HEADQUARTERS LINK SECONDARY PROPERTIES
4 Access to safe drinking water 5 Urban populations with access to safe drinking water 100% 75 - 99% 50 - 74% 25 - 49% 0 - 24%
6 Transnational corporate territory 7 Nestle pure life territory 4
enza, which then goes back, inundating the plain. The depression, immediately north of the confluence, could play a role in reducing the risk of flooding, but Prà dei Gai is also a vast grass surface along the river around which are located small centers, linear settlements, dispersed industrial activities, agriculture, and old Venetian villas transformed into four-star hotels. Existing dikes and paths are the frontier between this large and almost empty area, today flooded one or two times a year, and the rest of the territory. The hydraulic project will transform this depression in an anti-flooding basin for which it is necessary to separate the basin (the depression) from the river by way of a new dike and a new canal. This means that the Livenza river will split into two parts with different speeds, which can create interesting conditions for new ecosystems. The construction of canals and dikes (a strip about 60 meters long) can reach a ground balance.
What If? What would happen if the effort to retrofit the natural depressions became the beginning of a contemporary park? What If? What would happen if Prà dei Gai were considered the center of this territory instead of a marginal site?
The new canal, the new dikes, the bridges and paths, and the humid areas have been the starting point to design the relations between Prà dei Gai and its surrounding territory. Two main hypotheses come in to play: The first accepts the new dikes’ configuration and explores the patterns of interaction between the interior and the exterior of the new flooded area; the second reverses the engineering concept and proposes to use the new dikes to frame the built areas instead of the river and the flooding basin. The water can find new spaces between the built areas protected by new dikes, which can also become places to live and work. A process of phyto-depuration of white and grey water can be integrated along the dikes to solve the lack of a proper sewage system in some parts of the area. Although the second approach enlarges the concern of flooding to a wider territory, it is important to note that both environmental and hydraulic engineers agree about its rationality. From the spatial point of view, the two concepts define alternative configurations of extraordinary interest, in both cases based on the design of border and cross devices that mediate the relation between the living areas and the flooded ones. In both cases the grassland of Prà dei Gai, crossed by the Livenza river
CASE STUDY CU 69
Starting with these scenarios, we can see ideas developing for a space that integrates and reinterprets the engineering transformations.
in·fra·struc·ture function: noun Date: 1927 1: the underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization) 2: the permanent installations required for military purposes 3: the system of public works of a country, state, or region ; also : the resources (as personnel, buildings, or equipment) required for an activity “infra-” means below, within, below in a scale or series — in·fra·struc·tur·al \ adjective from the Merriam Webster Dictionary
INFRASTRUCTURE Mojdeh Baratloo with Marissa Gregory “Infrastructure” is only an 80-year-old term, first defined in 1927. Its original, and still official, definition applies to manmade systems, processes that we have created to organize the flow of materials, information, and people, though it was initially focused primarily on military and public-works facilities. The definition is a construct of its moment of generation and the processes that were then considered relevant. However, a core aspect of the term “infrastructure,” the establishment of underlying frameworks, has been an integral part of human society for millennia. The Aboriginal people of Australia formed a pedestrian transportation infrastructure of geographic mapping of their territories through the creation of songs that guide them through the landscape. The commonly understood infrastructure of road transportation in America, characterized by large amounts of asphalt paving and road signage, though much
more visible as a physical insertion into the landscape, is no more or less important an infrastructure than those songs are in their context. The perception of the term has, through time, broadened as our understanding has shifted; now we recognize social infrastructures, political infrastructures, temporal infrastructures, and anything loosely relating to connectivity or mobility as infrastructure. Is this truly the infrastructure of our era? Or is it, perhaps, something more that has yet to be fully understood? Galileo shifted human perception of astronomy from the commonly accepted geocentric conception to the heliocentric understanding we hold today. Many people, including Ian McHarg, have challenged the definition of infrastructure from human-centered systems to include the natural systems that are also significant though previously underconsidered. We are aware that our human-oriented infrastructures are only a small component of the infrastructures that make up the environments in which we live,
and relying too heavily on our human-centered benefits alone can actually lead to human devastation. This is not to say that we should sublimate the human species to all other natural creatures and processes; that is not a viable or desirable option. Rather, we must continually test our thinking; study, research, document the systems we may have an impact on—and continually add to the catalogue of systems we need to understand— so that we may find solutions for infrastructures that are more beneficial to us in the long-term big picture as well as the on the immediate and localized scale. We must also consider who “we” are, and understand that although infrastructures exist and are utilized in all human societies, they are not recognized or valued equally by all people. The understanding of infrastructure is directly tied to the way in which we represent it. At the planning and urban-design scale, the creation of maps extends back 4,000-plus years. Can we truly say
we have made 4,000 years’ worth of progress in this form of representation? What new physical, social, or intellectual infrastructures can we create to improve our expertise and understanding? Should urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning expand our internal, disciplined infrastructure to include a plethora of professions that we currently see as unrelated? What internal infrastructures must be created to make these external infrastructures most useful? As designers and creators of physical systems and space, we must continually add to the lexicon of nonphysical infrastructures we consider in our solutions. Though they may be nonphysical and therefore somewhat abstract, we should challenge ourselves to learn new ways to document, draw, and rethink the systems that are integral components of, or significantly affected by, our implementations. The information available through GIS (graphic information systems) databases can provide some insight. How we utilize it, conceptualize it, and represent it is essential to its
usefulness—yet is only beginning to be explored. It is necessary to challenge the temporal understanding of infrastructure as we expand the complexity of systems we create and impact. What means does a designer have to draw time? Do we take guidance from the film or animation industries, drawing a “frame” at a time to document a moment? Or are their new territories of representation and drawing that have yet to be generated or discovered?
INTRODUCTION CU 103
BRISBANALITY Oliver Valle + Emilia Ferri
How do Brisbanites envision their city in 10, 20, 30 years? With an estimated influx of 1,500 people a week, will the current infrastructure be able to accommodate this increase, or can it take on a new role? Does the quarter-acre lot that has become emblematic of the Brisbane “lifestyle” offer the greatest number of possibilities, socially and economically? How can public-space interventions at the architectural scale have an impact at the local, communal, and regional scales? The project’s intention is to explore the notion of city center and to bring forth the potentials of underdeveloped river areas and suburbs as additional nodes fostering new social, economic, and urban interventions.
Brisbane receives 1,500 new residents a week. With an estimated resident population of 13,604 people in 2001, Toowong was the largest SLA in the inner-west region, with 1.5% of Brisbane city’s population. Brisbane’s Center Formula: Footprint + Height = Center footprint = tangential rectangle height = max 250 meters
Under Brisbane’s City Plan, there is only one city center: the CBD. The others include: 1. Major centers: those that are often but not always dominated by a single major shopping mall 2. Suburban centers: a local shopping area comprising small shops and supermarkets 3. Convenience centers: four to six small shops, e.g. bakery, newsstand, pharmacy, greengrocer, takeout restaurants, etc. Toowong has been identiﬁed as a city center by Brisbane City developers. We identify Toowong as a unique and important urban center because of its following features: A. Unique position in proximity to the waterfront B. Intermodal transportation (rail, bus, ferry, bicycle, car, pedestrian) C. Diverse fabric of housing (house, six-pack, apartment, townhouse) D. Proximity to the University of Queensland E. Abundant greenscapes F. Potential for exchange, interaction, 1 Site construction 2 Threshold diagram 3 Physical crossing diagram 4 Armature and enclave diagram 5 Urban field diagram 6 Site plan and urban section
Megaform as Urban Landscape Kenneth Frampton Since 1961, when French geographer Jean Gottmann first employed the term “megalopolis” to refer to the northeast of the United States, the world’s population has become denser, with the result that most of us now live in some form of continuous urbanized region. One of the paradoxes of this population shift is that today we are largely unable to project urban form with any confidence, neither as a tabula rasa operation nor as a piecemeal aggregation to be achieved through such devices as zoning codes maintained over a long period of time. The expansion of highway infrastructure throughout the world continues to open up former agricultural land to suburban subdivision. Despite this endless development throughout the world and most particularly in North America, there remains the occasional capital city where some kind of urban planning process is still being maintained, such as Helsinki or the recent refurbishing of Barcelona, which is another example of an exception to the megalopolitan norm. In the main, however, the urban future tends to be projected in terms of remedial operations, as these may be applied to existing urban cores or, with less certainty, to selected parts of the megalopolis. Meanwhile the urbanized region continues to consolidate its hold over vast areas of land, as in the Randstadt in the Netherlands or the TokyoHokkaido corridor in Japan. These urbanized regions are subject to sporadic waves of urban expansion that either escalate out of control or enter periods of stagnation. It is a predicament that confronts the urbanist with an all but impossible task, one in which civic intervention has to be capable not only of sustaining a sense of place but also of serving as an effective catalyst for the further development of the region.
PROPOSAL CU 105
Owing to the dissolution of the city as a bounded domain, dating from the mid-19th century, architects have long been aware that any contribution they might make to the urban form would of necessity be limited. This resignation is already implicit in Camillo Sitte’s remedial urban strategy of 1889, his book, City Planning According to Artistic Principles, in which he attempted to respond to the “space-endlessness” of the Viennese Ringstrasse by recommending the redefinition of the Ring in terms of bounded form. Sitte was disturbed by the fact that the main monuments of the Ring had been built as free-standing objects, and he recommended enclosing them with built fabric in order to establish relationships similar to those that had once existed in the medieval city, such as that between the parvis and the cathedral.
BRISBANALITY Oliver Valle + Emilia Ferri
This project challenges the notion of “city center” by redefining the relationship between city and its existing centers through the filter of mobility and density. Mobility here is not limited to just movement in regard to multiple transit points but also the movement of information, people, and, most important, ideas. 1
By deemphasizing the dichotomy between the CBD and the surrounding suburbs and redefining the city as an urban field, we can begin to understand the physical environment as a heterogeneous field/zone/ arena of flows and exchanges that are interwoven in a comprehensive fabric of infrastructure, built form, and landscape. This patchwork reveals and unpacks the hidden potential for new public domains while addressing issues of density and new civic identity. Creating new civic amenities such as a new library and plaza and emphasizing a new identifiable entry point, Toowong will operate on multiple scales. On a local scale, the entry becomes a way-finder and gateway into a new pedestrian riverfront promenade and park that can serve pedestrians as a gathering place for leisure. On a metropolitan scale it demarcates a redeveloped entry corridor that runs through a reactivated streetscape and provides Brisbane with a new library. On a global level it links the city to potential university and research facilities. Open plazas can offer a multiuse space for activities such as outside markets, festivals, and exhibitions. The riverfront promenade will also introduce new uses by providing pedestrian accessibility that encourages a cross-river dialogue between the district of West End and Toowong by the installation of a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge and additional ferry stations. Existing Brisbane city centers have been defined by a formulated system of building footprint and the heights of retail market developments. We have reinterpreted the notion of “city center” not through political or economical boundaries but through a patchwork of 1 Urban marker: entry 2 New Toowong urban space 3 Riverside Walk 4 Viewing platform 5 Pedestrian loop 6 New urban space
Inspired by Sitte’s revisionism, I have coined the term “megaform” to refer to the formgiving potential of certain kinds of horizontal urban fabric capable of effecting topographic transformation in the megalopolitan landscape. It has to be admitted at the outset that this term may read as being synonymous with the term megastructure, as this was first coined in the 1960s. In my view, the two terms may be differentiated in terms of the relative continuity of their form. Thus while a megaform may incorporate a megastructure, a megastructure is not necessarily a megaform. One may illustrate this distinction by comparing the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which is surely a megastructure, to Arthur Ericson’s Robson Square development in Vancouver, which is ultimately a megaform, largely due to the way in which its continuously stepped layered form modulates and unifies the existing urban fabric of downtown Vancouver. This particular example also happens to have been enriched by a fertile collaboration between its architect, Arthur Erickson, and landscape architect, Cornelia Oberlander. Our capacity to imagine megaforms may have originated with our first experiences of the world as seen from the air. This, on his own admission, was the catalyst behind Le Corbusier’s Plan Obus for Algiers of 1931, directly inspired by the volcanic topography of Rio de Janeiro, which he first surveyed from the air in 1929 (Figs:7,8). This panorama led him to imagine a continuous urban form in which one could no longer discriminate between the building and the landscape. A corollary to this topographic approach was to treat the built fabric as a form of artificial ground, upon and within which the occupant would be free to build in whatever way he saw fit. Hence while postulating the continuity of the megaform, Le Corbusier left its interstitial fabric open and accessible to popular taste. In its failure to conform to any received urban model the Plan Obus was hardly a feasible proposal from either a productive or a cultural standpoint. It was totally removed, let us say, from Joseph Stubben’s codification of regularized urban space as set forth in his book Die Stadtebau of 1890. Nor did it owe anything to the perimeter block type, as this would be applied to urban extensions from around 1890 to 1924, of which Berlage’s Amsterdam South plan of 1914–30 is a prime example (Fig. 9). At the same time it did not conform to the Zeilenbau rowhouse model, as was adopted in the Weimar Republic and elsewhere from around 1924 onwards.
PROPOSAL CU 107
For our purposes, the megaform may be defined as displaying the following characteristics. (1) A large form extending horizontally rather than vertically. (2) A complex form which, unlike the megastructure, is
RESIDENTIAL CHARACTER James Fenwick + Tanya Ryan
1 Pre-1880’s photographic distribution 2 Pre-1880’s geographic distribution 3 Post-1880’s photographic distribution 4 Post-1880’s geographic distribution 2
not necessarily articulated into a series of structural and mechanical subsets, as we find in the Centre Pompidou. (3) A form capable of inflecting the existing urban landscape as found because of its strong topographic character. (4) A form that is not freestanding but rather insinuates itself as a continuation of the surrounding topography, and last but not least, (5) a form that is oriented towards a densification of the urban fabric. Beyond the dense historical core, a megaform may be identified as an urban nexus set within the “space-endless” of the megalopolis. Henri Ciriani’s concept of une pièce urbaine, as first formulated in his socalled Barre à Marne or Noissy I complex, realized in Marne la Vallée in 1980 (Fig. 10), seems to have been conceived along these lines, and something similar may be claimed for Rafael Moneo and Manuel de Sola Morales’ L’Illa Block, as realized in Barcelona in 1997.
If one looks for the origin of the megaform in the history of the Modern Movement one tends to find it in Northern Europe rather
SITE DOCUMENTATION UQ 109
The idea of megaform is also implicit as a strategy in Vittorio Gregotti’s concept of the anthrogeographic landscape as this is set forth in his book Il territorio di architettura of 1966. Drawing on the work of the German geographer Friedrich Ratzel, who first coined the term anthrogeographic, Gregotti was able to evolve a territorial approach to urban design that, among his Neo-Rationalist colleagues, put him in a class apart. While not opposing the Neo-Rationalist project of reconstructing the neoclassical European city along traditional, typological lines (the hypothesis of Aldo Rossi, Leon Krier, et al.). Gregotti was more intent on responding to the challenge of the megalopolis at a regional scale, a scale closer to that of Le Corbusier’s Plan Obus, which he recognized as a precedent. Hence his Zen housing scheme for Palermo of 1965, which may be seen as combining the Zeilenbau pattern of Weimar with the perimeter block approach of Amsterdam, and hence also his scheme for the University of Florence two years later, which was much more territorial, with long blocks running out into the agrarian landscape. This approach took on an even more expansive geographic dimension in his proposal for the University of Calabria of 1973, where the “spine” of the university cuts across five hills between an exit from the regional highway and a railroad station. Partially realized, this infrastructure remains a canonical piece in as much as it is both ordered and yet open to random development. Blocks may be freely attached to the spine without compromising its ability to impinge on the landscape at a panoramic scale.
than the Mediterranean. One encounters it in Bruno Taut’s concept of the “city crown,” as this appears in his book Die Stadtkrone of 1919. This becomes manifest in the ensuing decade in the German cult of the big building form, as this appears in the work of a number of Expressionist architects of the 1920s. I have in mind such figures as Hans Scharoun, Hugo Haring, Fritz Höger, and Hans Poelzig. One finds in these men a predisposition for creating large, dynamic urban entities in opposition to the dematerialized spatial dynamics of the 20th-century avant garde. One thinks of such canonical works as Hans Poelzig’s House of Friendship, projected for Istanbul in 1916, Hugo Haring’s Gut Garkau of 1924, Fritz Höger’s Chilehaus, Hamburg, of 1925, and Hans Scharoun’s Breslau Werkbund Exhibition building of 1929. In the case of Poelzig’s Istanbul project, one is struck by the way in which the silhouette of the building rises diagonally out of the horizontal profile of the city, so that it assumes the form of an artificial escarpment, replete with hanging gardens. There were of course other German architects in this period who were to embrace a similar topographic strategy, above all Erich Mendelsohn, whose project for Alexanderplatz, Berlin, of 1927 rises out of this existing street fabric like a dynamic force. The megaform seems to be an embryonic presence in almost all of Mendelsohn’s work, from his diminutive Einstein Tower in Potsdam of 1920 to his commercial center for Haifa of 1924 and his heroic Hadassah Hospital, projected as part of Hebrew University on Mount Scorpus in 1935. The megaform was also evident in the work of the Austrian architect Lois Welzenbacher, above all in his competition for entry for Berlin Hazelhorst housing of 1928. Among Scandinavian architects, the one who lies closest to this German tradition is Alvar Aalto, as is evident from his Baker Dormitory, completed on the edge of the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1944. However, a topographic syndrome is manifest in Aalto’s work throughout his mature career, from the “tented-mountain” he projected for the Vogelweidplatz sports center in Vienna in 1953 to the Pensions Institute realized in Helsinki in 1956. A stress upon megaform is also evident in his proposal of the mid-’60s for a new cultural district in the Tooloo area of Helsinki, wherein a terraced highway system transforms the morphology of the center serving as a topographic link and dynamic binder between a series of cultural buildings lining the lake and the major railhead entering the city. Something
2004 Toowong VIDEO ANALYSIS Luke Watson
strategy may also be found in the work of Team X, above all perhaps in Jacob Bakema’s Bochum University proposal of 1962, his plan for Tel Aviv of 1963, and his Pampas Plan for Rotterdam of 1965. Both Bakema and the British architects Alison and Peter Smithson seem to have regarded the highway infrastructure as the sole element that could be depended on when projecting the future of urban form. This accounts for the Smithsons’ London Roads Study of 1953 and also for the “walled” enclosure that flanks the Smithsons’ Berlin Haupstadt Competition entry of 1958. The megaform theme also plays a role in the work of Ralph Erskine, above all in his Svappavaara Housing, Lapland, Sweden of 1964 and in his later Byker Wall housing complex, completed in Newcastle, England, of 1981. To my knowledge the term “megaform” as opposed to “megastructure” is first used, coincidentally, by Fumihiko Maki and Masato Ohtaka in their essay “Some Thoughts on Collective Form” of 1965. They introduce the term when writing an appreciation of Kenzo Tange’s Tokyo Bay Project of 1960: “One of the most interesting developments of the megaform has been suggested by Kenzo Tange in connection with the Tokyo Bay Project. He presents a proposal for a mass-human scale form which includes a megaform and discrete, rapidly changing, functional units which fit within the larger framework. He reasons that short-lived items are becoming more and more short-lived and the cycle of change is shrinking at a corresponding rate. On the other hand, the accumulation of capital has made it possible to build in large scale operations.…”
Maki’s subsequent work has contributed to the theme of the megaform because, like the “city-crown” projects of Jørn Utzon, it is a form that generally manifests itself at two levels, so that while it emphasizes the importance of the podium/earthwork, it also
The Ticinese Neo-Rationalist architects of the early ’70s also gravitated toward the megaform. This is particularly true for the urban projects designed by Mario Botta and Luigi Snozzi, above all their “viaduct” block proposal for a new administration center in Perugia of 1977 and their air-rights project for the Zurich rail terminal of 1981. Perugia is particularly interesting in this regard for, like the aforementioned L’Illa Block in Barcelona, it posited a long orthogonal structure containing a flexible space-form within. One end of this “viaduct” was fed by parking silos that were connected to the hilltown of Perugia by a teleferico. Adhering to a similar format, the Botta/Snozzi project for the Zurich terminus not only denoted the line of the buried Sihl river but also provided new ticketing facilities while being connected to a large, multistory parking garage, built over the rail tracks entering the station. This proposal would have revitalized the rail network by linking it directly to the road infrastructure, while at the same time maintaining the old terminus and restoring a trace of the original topography, namely a tributary to the Limmat that was covered over by the railhead in the 19th century. Large building forms are particularly evident at an urban scale in the work of Rafael Moneo, from his Roman Museum, erected in Mérida in 1986, to his Atocha Station, completed in Madrid in 1992, and his recent proposal for twin auditoria on a podium overlooking the seafront in San Sebastian, the socalled Kursaal project. In each instance, the morphology of the structure gives a particular inflection to the surrounding topography. In Madrid, the hypostyle of the new highspeed train shed slides into the rear of the old station in such a way as to render the overall form legible over a much wider area. Megaforms are also in evident in the work of a number of Catalan architects, including Esteven Bonell and Francesc Rius, whose velodrome d’Horta, built in the Val d’Hebron neighborhood of Barcelona in 1986, establishes a particularly powerful landmark in the midst of urban chaos (Fig. 28). Here it is the question of a bounding ring of auxiliary spaces enclosing the elliptical form of the bicycle track within. The Catalan architect and Enric Miralles has also always striven to give his architecture a
SITE DOCUMENTATION UQ 111
For Maki and Ohtaka, the megaform concept depended upon the idea that change would occur less rapidly in some realms than in others. On this basis, they introduced the idea of group form, with the notion that a podium may be inserted into an urban fabric in order to provide for long-term stability while the structures on its surface would be subject to a faster cycle of change and replacement. This concept was exemplified at the time in their joint proposal for the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, in which they proposed building a podium around the Shinjuku transit terminal, while at the same time introducing new shopping facilities at grade with parking beneath and rather random, medium-rise offices and residential structures above.
depends almost as a precondition on the roofwork as an element that is essential to the hill-like character of the final form, as we find in Bruno Taut’s vision of the “city crown.” This double paradigm of earthwork/ roofwork first fully emerged in Maki’s Fujisawa Gymnasium of 1980 and reappeared in his Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium of 1985 and in his Makahari Convention Center, Chiba of 1989.
With essays by Kenneth Frampton, Mark Jarzombek, Mark Wigley, Gwendolyn Wright, Richard Plunz, Dennis Dollens, Sigurd Grava, Malcolm Snow, J...
Published on Aug 3, 2010
With essays by Kenneth Frampton, Mark Jarzombek, Mark Wigley, Gwendolyn Wright, Richard Plunz, Dennis Dollens, Sigurd Grava, Malcolm Snow, J...