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2009 Autumn UCL Bartlett MArch Urban Design

intro: You are about to explore the portfolio of Mindaugas Skrupskelis studies at Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. It is a very first part of my MArch Urban Design studies. Please find the strategic and detailed design portfolio of Vitamin in colloboration with Vytautas JackeviÄ?ius.

CONTENT PART 1 BENVUD 1.1: URBAN MUTATIONS (RESEARCH) - Infrastructure Task: Required you to conduct, in six study groups, a broad survey of London from a number of different viewpoints


Task: Design diagrammatically some hypothetical fragments of urban fabric


Task: Use the analytical tools given to you, in his lectures, by Dr. Grahame Shane, to study significant aspects of urban morphology, based on an analysis of different sectors of London

Field trip - The Netherlands

Task: Live study of the towns we are going to visit. Take notes, collect information, take photos etc. after the field trip present to crits.

BENVUD 1.2: essay - Good Bye Lenin!

Task: The topic of the essay is “Urban fictions”. Choose a film that is particularly relevant in terms of urban design. Essays should be structured in given format.





In order to present the research material of London’s infrastructure. We decided to build a game for auditorium to play and experience themselves the complexity of subject. We took Monopoly as a base board and changed it’s fields to the main types of infrastructure in the city. After buying an object of infrastructure you could face an event or development opportunity. Events are to examine how city is dependant on each part of it’s infrastructure. And developments to understand how expensive maintenance and delayed investment is.

While auditorium is playing a game we are building the model of London to illustrate the change of city according to the random scenario of the game. In the end game proved London would collapse if we rely on destiny and do not apply complex governing to the existing systems.

< Complexity of Infrastructure City is very dependent on its infrastructure, failure of any kind of infrastructure may cause other services to stop and appears to be costly. However we rarely remember it, as most of infrastructureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s physical body is digged in the ground.


Fractal City


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A fractal is generally a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole, a property called self-similarity. - It has a fine structure at arbitrarily small scales. - It is too irregular to be easily described in traditional Euclidean geometric language. - It is self-similar (at least approximately or stochastically). - It has a Hausdorff dimension which is greater than its topological dimension. - It has a simple and recursive definition.

Even 2000 times magnification of the Mandelbrot set uncovers fine detail resembling the full set.



Approximate fractals are easily found in nature. These objects display selfsimilar structure over an extended, but finite, scale range. Examples include clouds, snow flakes, crystals, mountain ranges, lightning, river networks, cauliflower or broccoli, and systems of blood vessels and pulmonary vessels. Coastlines may be loosely considered fractal in nature. Applied fractal geometry could be the technology for creating extremely sufficient self organising, smart cities.




Fractal geometry will make you see everything differently. (Bamsley, 1988a, p. 1.) A formal framework for the geometry of the real world rather than for its abstraction into pure mathematics has been established which enables us to understand order and regularity in what, at first sight, appears irregular and disordered. Rather than starting with function and progressing to form, fractal geometry enables to search out functions and processes which give rise to the man-made and natural patterns we observe in the real world, thus helping us not only to describe and understand reality a little better but to progress our forecasts and predictions of how the real world might evolve.

FRACTAL CITY Vision of an extremely organised, real time changing, alive city. It is a programmed organism. Although it is described by a single formula, the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s structure may change to infinity variations. It consists. Of identical geometric shapes in various scales that can be split into several parts; change their scale, hierarchy, location, according to the needs. Elements, which modify themselves are changing the whole city pushing or pulling neighbour segments, but stay part of the system. Every change is made assuring the most efficient city existence. This kind of city could exist in an environment, which does not prevent the possibility of dynamic city transformation in three dimensional ways; it must be able to float freely in space.



we are as unique as leaves of the t r e e

Does such a thing as individuality exists? We build our personalities and intelligence bit by bit collecting experience. The way we think is complicated net of influences. The scheme of it should look like a 3D fractal. The more we accept the influence the bigger branch of it we build in our mind. The bigger branch we have the more smaller branches it holds. That means we are the parts of the whole system with a collection of itself parts. We are self copying, plagiarising, repetitive structures. We are as unique as leaves of the tree. Maybe encouraging people to believe they are unique from the childhood we are fouling ourselves? If city is a tree and we are leaves of it, the most important thing in the end is tree not the leave. Maybe the whole society should devotedly work for the good of system? Nowadays social structure is build to enslave people. We are made to work for a system because of wish to be different, to have more things to consume. It creates bubbles of isolation and alienation rather than unites us. Just like in the Fractal city. It is hard to imagine different world, but humanity is the most important after all not the human itself.

I believe that the future belongs to supreme collective intelligence where humans works for system, system works for humanity.


London Heterotopias


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Heterotopia. Michel Foucault uses the idea of a mirror as a metaphor for the duality and contradictions, the reality and the unreality of utopian projects. A mirror is metaphor for utopia because the image that you see in it does not exist, but it is also a heterotopia because the mirror is a real object that shapes the way you relate to your own image.

The philosopher calls for a society with many heterotopias (FOUCAULT, M. Des espace autres. 1967), not only as a space with several places of/for the affirmation of difference, but also as a means of escape from authoritarianism and repression, stating metaphorically that if we take the ship as the utmost heterotopia, a society without ships is inherently a repressive one, in a clear reference to Stalinism.

Space Ship On River Bed. Even in such a dense and crowded cities like London some people choose big cars. May it be the declaration of their exceptional social status? Most likely they would claim their recognition on the roads. Landing your space ship on the river bed could be more convincing... Picture from walks in search of heterotopias.

QUEENS WALK. Ships for society


Our group was given West London sector to investigate heterotopias. After splitting into parts I have chosen Chiswick area. < Map of walks in search of heterotopias.




Beer factory

Queens walk

Barnes Bridge


Heterotopia can be a single real place that juxtaposes several spaces. A garden is a heterotopia because it is a real space meant to be a microcosm of different environments with plants from around the world. The possessions in Chiswick waterfront carries something really strange. The house gardens faces the water, but garden itself is separated from the house by public road. It could be also refered to a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;crisis heterotopiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; as a separated space where activities take place out of sight. < Map of cut through the possessions. < Photos of gates facing separated spaces.


Chiswick Waterfronts


Wetland is artificially made ‘‘wild nature’’ park in the surroundings of urban developments. Families with children and others come to explore the nature from which they are disconnected. It is a mirror of our imaginary out-of-city picture. Wetland’s role here is more like a theme park.




The Netherlands


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The planned nature of Netherlands - including polders, waterways, urban fabric and infrastructure - allows for extensive oversight and developed land. Before habitation, the water has to be drained and diked to specifications. The definition of the exposed land is dependent upon the planning of the municipality in terms of design and function. The framework determined by these regions is site specific, and land use efficient. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is not certain whether these regions belongs to the land or the sea.â&#x20AC;&#x153; (Sijmons, 2002)



Boat Trip

The most interesting part of the journey. Investigating new city developments on artificial-human made land.





OMA Masterplan Of Almere Center

“The plan is to a certain degree an attack on everything Almere is: Almere is low, the plan is high; Almere is a grid, the plan is full of diagonals; Almere is low density, the plan is high density. More than anything the plan wants to be different to Almere.” Rem Koolhaas

OMA have separated programs in a simple method: housing on top, and retail below. It seems as the housing on top of the retail is disconnected with attempts to exist as a green-land utopia.

Built architecture gives an indication of both the freedoms and dangers generated by the OMA’s masterplan. Buildings are freestanding, with individual elevational treatment, they have no fronts and backs. The effect is something like a sculpture park; like forbidden fruit - so tempting and never tasted before. Even Koolhaas himself admits that: “The threat of the heterogeneous as a dominant dogma is self-evident, namely that in the end everything will become so similar that the attractions of a more homogeneous approach may come to the fore.” The scheme is a brilliant, the cranes all over the city centre testify that this provocation stacks up commercially. But the question remain: is this going to feel like a real place? New town in the Polder

public spaces urban fabric








The development made possible only by gradual port shift to the west. Project is significant because of its role in city revitalising. Kop van Zuid stands as a gate to the new part of the city developing towards the South. The new Erasmus Bridge not only connects city centre with southern part, but also booms sections on its western banks.

restructured old port Kop van Zuid


BENVUD 1.2: essay

Good Bye Lenin!

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Coming from post soviet country I have come with the idea to choose this film quite naturally. West Berlin was standing proudly as a window to freedom which was perceived as a kind of the mirror reflecting inconsiderably distorted system of orders, punishment and illusionary freedom. Then the questions arise such as how far can government and finance infrastructure push humanity to use speculative methods of putting labels with signs of freedom, keeping us away from being critical and sober minded? If we perceive our images of the city today that are influenced by appearance and presentation of the media, so how much of it is real? Can we judge projections of the city objectively?

Berlin is a city at once of monumental sites of memory, past structures that remain present and can continue to act as memorials, and of emptied spaces, sites of removal or displacement, what Andreas Huyssen (1997) has called the voids of Berlin. These voids, at once physical and ideological, also correspond to those spaces that may have buildings and life in them but are effaced from the city in its representative sense: hidden places where alternative cultural meanings are produced. Both the voids and the hidden spaces have the potential to act as counter-sites to the official sites or realms of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s memory. distorted reality / ostalgie



The final piece of heroic modernist architecture, the Berlin Wall was constructed just at the time than the Utopian political ambitions had begun to wane. By then, with the eastward spread of modernism during the Khrushchev years, the ideological modernism had come to an end, making East-West, modern - antimodern harder to distinguish. Still, the architects of the Berlin Wall hoped it would change society. As the Wall was being constructed in Berlin, Situationists in Paris and elsewhere were advocating for radical changes in cities as a means of preserving urban life. For them, the aesthetics of modernism and the forces of modernity were destroying urbanity itself. In his 1972 thesis Rem Koolhaas found a way of reconciling modernism with Situationism through the figure of the Wall. Suggesting that the Wall might be exported to London and made to encircle it, Koolhaas writes, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The inhabitants of this architecture, those strong enough to love it, would become its Voluntary Prisoners, ecstatic in the freedom of their architectural confines.â&#x20AC;? On June 17, 1979, Riita Eklaf, a Swedish woman, married the Berlin Wall, taking Wall Winther Berliner-Mauer as her name. Her love for the Wall is far from abstract. For Berliner- Mauer, objects arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t inert but rather can possess souls and become individuals to fall in love with. Berliner- Mauer sees the Wall as a noble being and says she is erotically attracted to its horizontal lines and sheer presence. Many people choose to love objects over their friends, their spouses, or themselves. The Wall is a loving presence in her life, and she loves it in return.



As planned economics of the soviet countries proved to be inflexible and harmful, so was the policy of totally regulated built form and city planning. Built form as everything in socialistic countries had to reflect the ideology of classless, united and equal society. Theory was to bring each individual a typical apartment. So functions and typologies were strictly separated. Uniform living idea brought to the repetitive architecture of residential housing, where architects ‘who know better’ were polluting the entire planet with identical, unimaginative multistory apartment buildings - of the sort that can in fact be found in the suburbs of every city and town across the former Soviet Union. Realisation of the same project for apartment buildings was repeated millions of times from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The problem of the relative uniformity of Soviet public architecture was perfectly criticized in a soviet comedy-drama movie - Irony of Fate (Russian: Ирония судьбы 1971). In a way system self plagiarised itself at all stages, without giving the opportunity for change and evolution, which was one of the factors of it’s collapse. This typology of residential housing is no stranger for West culture also. After the industrial revolution the terrace ‘style’ spread widely in the UK. Terrace house was used for working class housing in industrial districts during the great industrial boom following the industrial revolution, and was the usual form of high density residential housing up to World War II, though the ‘19th century need for expressive individuality inspired variation of facade details and floor-plans reversed with those of each neighboring pair, to offer variety within the standardized format.’


Urban Design 2009 Autumn UCL Bartlett MArch Urban Design

Bartlett portfolio of Mindaugas Skrupskelis  

You are about to explore the portfolio of Mindaugas Skrupskelis studies at Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. It is a very first part of m...

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