Monday, April 23, 2007

Studio- Loose Knots

Over the past week we have had a series of reviews with Thom and now have ten days to crank for the midterm review. It hasn't been easy presenting the material due to its scope and scale. Typically we've allowed one aspect such as the infrastructure to progress past the programming, sustainability, open space, etc.

The ideograms above, while overly basic, proved very helpful in communicating the core ideas to Thom. Our 3.5 mile long site is a strip in Northern Madrid stretching from the inner ring M30 to the outer ring M40. On top of this, their is the possibility for a major transit hub on the site that could control automobile access in to the city as well as connect multiple transit networks including bus, metro, regional rail, the airport and a high speed intereuropean line.

A major strategy is to loosen the interstate exchanges at both ends of the site to obtain spatial opportunities out of the infrastructure and allow for a high degree of programming over top a major intersection of systems and routes. It goes back to the ironies of Koolhaas's Delirious New York- the simultaneous drive for congestion and access.

With a site so imbued with infrastructural connections we are using it to guide the site and trying to figure out how to program as much by time as by space. The past few days we have obtained commercial density measurements from comparisons with downtown (spatial densities), now we will return to questions of time and attempt to describe temporal densities such as traffic congestion and urban flows.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Studio- Infrastructure and Sci-Fi

Our urban design project in Madrid has focused thus far on large infrastructural moves, examining how parts of the city can be unplugged and reconnected. In part we are thinking of the site as a great automobile extractor for a downtown core that is over congested with traffic. As the scale of infrastructure increases in our world it becomes more viable to inject additional program enabling them to be routes as well as destinations.
Many of the cities pictured in science fiction have this densification of infrastructure, projecting the interactions of the city upwards- conceiving urban relationships in section more than plan. This massive vertical layering of the ground plane seems outrageous and unfeasible but it should be remembered that in most major cities today the accepted ground beneath our feet is both porous and artificial.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Party under the glow

Our fundraiser for the installation on Hollywood was Friday night and the turnout was very impressive, 150-200 people. The crowd was a good mix of fellow UCLA students as well as random people from the community. Hopefully it raised the profile of the project and will draw more to the opening in May.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Research Studio- Winter Final

Our Research Studio last quarter concluded with a two week charette for a new proposal for our chosen site. The studio to that point had primarily been a collection of statistics and analysis of the make-up of Madrid. The charette was intended to provide an immediate starting point for the Spring Quarter. The final review was based on presentation boards and 3d prints before a guest jury consisting of Robert Somol, Roger Sherman, Neil Denari, and Qingyun Ma (New dean at USC).

The research we've done shows the downtown of Madrid is hindered by automobile congestion both ecologically and economically. Given their extensive and well-funded public transit system we saw the site as a potential staging ground with the possibility of extracting automobile congestion from the center. This happens by locating new multi-tiered transit hubs at the intersection of major thoroughfares and clustering program around these transfer points to create flow in two directions- towards and away from the city center.