Sunday, February 25, 2007

Designer Public Housing

Although poorly laid out the PAUs are amazing in their ability to provide a large amount of public housing through incentives for private developers. It also allows the city to hire some high quality architects. Unfortunately, for most its just a skin project as the layout already sticks them with a boxy plot (such as the reed clad FOA project pictured). Two projects that we saw which attempted to circumvent current trends in the PAU were the vertical block by MVRDV and the labyrinthine layout by Morphosis. Instead of the typical solid block with an open core MVRDV convinced the city to let them turn the block vertical to free up more ground space. They also placed a shared open space up in the air at the center of the block. For the Morphosis project the open space is interspersed through low density housing units in the center creating a heterogeneous space for communal interactions.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Madrid Trip

Our trip to Madrid was very enlightening. The city has been the subject of analysis since that start of the year. There is a housing shortage and the city is initiating large housing projects in huge tracts of empty land in the first rings around the historic core. We visited a few of these developments as well as three empty pieces of land that the city identified as potential future projects. These will be the sites for the next quarter's design project.
The design project will contain within it a critique of the existing development projects seeing them as failing to create a vital and active community. The developments (called PAUs) are an awkward mix of a suburban isolationism and a mid-rise higher density development. Plainly said the streets are too wide and the open spaces and commercial areas are poorly integrated leaving a sterile environment with people stranded in islands of housing blocks.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Depart for Madrid

Today the Research Studio departs for Madrid. We'll be spending a week in Madrid and then we'll split in to groups to travel to other European cities for a week. In Madrid we have a pretty busy schedule planned meeting with city officials, touring the sites, getting a special tour of the Prado, and meeting Spanish Architects like Moneo. We've bound our research in to books and we'll use it to present to the city on Monday. After Madrid I', flying up to Amsterdam for a few days and the on to Copenhagen.
ave the time and access to make a few posts while over there.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Research Studio- Brasilia

One aspect of the urban study for Research are case studies of utopian proposals. These include proposals by Corbusier, Team X, the Metabolists, as well as New Urbanist proposals. My case study is Brasilia the modern capital of Brazil created from the nothing in the 1950s. Analysis has been simply identifying regions of use, infrastructure layout and open/ built space in both 2d and 3d.


The tech project is a continuation of the summer investigation of form communicated through glow. The materials and methods will be similar but the challenge this time is to build it to the scale of a few storefronts on Hollywood Blvd. This time the lighting will also feature an interactive component, where the lights will be programmed to have a behavior. Due to the cost of the equipment the behavior will most likely be limited to a breathing (like when a computer goes to sleep) or blinking.
After choosing a minimal surface geometry to populate the window we started investigating a lattice assembly that can change to accommodate a second system and lighting infrastructure as well as have interior rigidity .