The University of Sheffield School of Architecture
Studio Cities in Transition Studio Cities in Transition investigates the contemporary challenges that architectural design must face in the process of urban shrinkage due to the economic downturn.Traditional tools to analyse the city and design spaces are no more effective within this transitional context so what are the tools to understand the reality that may be effective in the contemporary context? What features need to be mapped as relevant issues in the creative process? Cities in Transition studio tried to rediscover the hidden ‘beauty’ of forgotten places, re-activating urban fabrics, once characterized by lively intense community activities, interpreting memory of places and translating social needs into innovative design solutions, even by enhancing the balance between built environment and nature. We started our investigation from a testing-ground site close to Sheffield city centre, to test research methodologies and design approaches for such vulnerable places. Then we moved out attention to another case-study, located in Padova, Italy. Due to the contextual similarities among the two sites, it has been possible to get a preliminary understanding of the place, through a deductive process of thinking. The fieldwork has been useful to demonstrate the effectiveness of our reflective actions. At this stage, our studio started a long-distance collaboration with the students of the MA Building Engineering/Architecture at the University of Padova, dealing with the same project site and similar research issues. During our creative process, we tackled several research questions: What does it mean when cities go through a de-urbanisation process? What does it mean to design within a “return-to-nature” condition? Should we imagine and construct entirely different forms of economics, politics and culture? Will the increasing number of temporal uses and informal spaces be the solution? What is the meaning of social innovation in the process of urban transition? What kind of spatial layouts originate from it?
Studio Tutor Nadia Bertolino MAAD Students Betsabe Penaherrera Chun-Yin Lin Jiayang Lu Ling Zhou Meiyue Ren Qian Du Rui Yu Shulin Lai Wanqing Xu Wei Wang Wenqian Ni Yao Li Zin Zhao Collaborators Maryam Fazel Aya Musmar Visting Reviwers Luigi Stendardo Carlos Garcia Vazquez Doina Petrescu Cristina Cerulli Ioanni Delsante
01 Betsabe Penaherrera - Anti-Construction If shrinking is part of the life cycle, the solution is not the construction of a giant structure, but strategic actions that allow a better use of land and can better reveal the site’s potential. Architecture that answers to the law of evolution and is fully adaptable to change. It is not the most eccentric nor the most regular architecture the one that survives; it is the one that makes people’s experiences become memorable.
02 Rui Yu - Border Vacuum ‘Border Vacuum’ is a combination of three proposals that all aim connect each of the site’s districts. The first one reacting to the edge of the industrial area in order to reform the relationship between residential and industrial. The second one adds walking and cycling elements from the residential to the industrial, allowing local residents to walk through and enhancing the opportunities of interaction. The last one proposes the reuse of the existing building as a public bookstore and cafe, providing a space for communal activity and communication. 01 03 Ling Zhou - Coming Back to the City The site is an in-between space between the industrial area and the residential area. Research and analysis lead to the creation of three future scenarios for 10,20 and 50 years within the future, concluding to a vital need for design solutions that would enrich the area’s functions. One of the solutions was the development of a public office that would act as a catalyst for discussion and through local action lead to urban reactivation. 04 Xin Zhao - Post IKEA My design is post IKEA, which is about the deconstruction of the IKEA in Padova. My site is located near the artificial lake. It includes the lake, the under bridge area and IKEA. I plan to promote both the economical and natural environment to develop and solve the shrinking issue in Padova by introducing new possibilities for the residents to develop their individual, local business instead of the capitally controlled business. Moreover, by extending the natural environment to the commercial environment and by developing the argricultural land in the commercial place, my project aims to give people more chances to be closer to nature and enjoy nature. 05 Qian Du - Habitat This project aims to create a place where human and animals can co-exist, with ecological and sustainable development. Water plays an important role in creating this status. Architectural spaces will be harnessing the water cycle via technology to improve the environment. The improved environment will help architectural spaces to attract more users. It will contribute to form a sense of environment and stimulate local economy creating a balance between humans and nature. 02
Full catalogue of student work from the School of Architecture Summer Exhibition 2015.