Variation and Transition
Building Extent and Urban Influence _ Silvio Carta
With the first issue of 2013 we ask ourselves what is the extent of architectures for the city today. How much does the operative sphere of a building range in extents? Some building presents characteristics that relate it to its immediate front, other with its surroundings. As the physical relationship (visual, spatial and material) expands, so the nature of the relationship becomes increasingly sparse and undefined. For certain projects it is difficult to indicate whether their scale of influence is the front street, their neighborhood or eventually the city.
Scenario for Urban Daily Life Experience
Scenario for Urban Daily Life Experience _ Paula Melâneo
In general terms, Neighborhood refers to the notion of nearness or proximity of an area or space to people, things or places. In this analysis we talk about inhabitants and their immediate surrounding.
Even before choosing a site for a building, the first thing that defines, characterizes or constrains the building’s relations with the neighborhood is its program and its use.
Secondly we must evaluate the historical context of the building: Does it already play a role in the neighborhood or will it trace a new one?
Then, the insertion site clarifies its relation with the immediate surroundings: Is the building isolated or inserted in a dense urban context? Is it built between existing constructions or in an empty plot?
After that, we can analyze if its shape, material or color will make it a reference in that space or if it will just be a mimesis or a discrete element of a set.
Finally, the visual performance of the building, its size and scale, and its experience inside out or vice-versa, can also explain the complexity of the connections with the city.
Facing the Street, I am (not) a Duck
Facing the Street, I am (not) a Duck _ Diego Terna
The projects presented here reflect the need to stand out, to emerge, in an urban territory made of a set of architectural works that compete, often vehemently, to bring attention to their own personalities, as the projects strive to achieve full recognizability. The city becomes a kind of architectural playing field, on which each player tries to surprise the visitor, impressing upon him or her the memory of this space, this shell, in the duel for lasting recognition.
Architecture is, in its essence, the emergence of an artificial system which differs clearly from the surrounding landscape, changing its characteristics in order to accommodate the people living inside it. Greek temples, Gothic cathedrals, American skyscrapers are spatial elements that make of their visual separation, their peculiar originality, their decorative and structural effort, the distinctive feature of their being. They are examples, however, of architecture with exceptional purposes, linking their peculiarity to the iconography of the functional program.
The projects we discuss below, however, emphasize the further trend of transforming architecture with “ordinary” functions into events of unbridled originality, in an attempt, in fact, to have them emerge from the urban fabric of the city, to become more or less historical.
These attempts can be reduced to two approaches which link their stories to the relationship with the surroundings: they may be developed via an explicit method, as a kind of scream into the street, or via a more veiled intervention, which tends to entice the curiosity of the viewer.
In either case, it may help us in explaining of these modes to relate the work to a film, a book, an exemplary built space.
Layering Active Urban Surface
Re-thinking the Ground Level(s) _ Simone Corda
Four recent examples of public space suggest how the urban landscape increases its social potential and visual appeal when its design process blurs the boundaries between the architectural object and its context, becoming a topographical matter.
Indeed, the partial insertion of a building into the ground enhances the relational value of the architecture, multiplying the building’s relationships with its surroundings. The dichotomy inside-outside is not sufficient to describe the multiple connections with the context, therefore the buried part (which is an inside with no physical links with the outside, but still in sequence with it) and the surface that encloses the building at the top must be considered.
The underground extension can be a world in itself and the ways it relates with the exterior often define the aspirations and the role of the facility in the urban fabric. For centuries the public space has been the representation of its society, in the same way, nowadays public buildings that are partly buried into the ground seem to describe best the complexity and the lack of full intelligibility of reality.
On the other hand the “roof” of the facility usually becomes another “floor”, a blank canvas for possibilities that can be articulated into a park, or a piazza, or a system of access.