Transforming The Space
“...i realized that, as i walked by, my mind filled the desert landscape with water!...this artifice sufficed to humanize for me a world that was dishearteningly dry, reconciling me with its rocks, its silence, its solitude, its sheet of sun gold hanging from the sky”..
philippe diolé, the most beautiful desert in the world
Isolation. Stortorvet is like a desert where the automobile city scale prevents us from life, contact and social experience. “faces and facial expressions of human beings are too small in scale to be perceived at all” Jan Gehl.
Suddenly the poet has transformed the desert into the memory of water. this invented immersion is experienced through two matters: the fluid (that floods the space around him) and everything that floats on it (rests of a shipwreck, branches, himself,...)
We move in the pedestrian space, in the heart of this luminous fluid, dense matter that floods Stortorvet and becomes dominant reconciling us with its traffic, parking, roundabout, bus stops...
the threshold is the place where the invitation for social contact starts and it is the seed of urbanity. it sets the boundaries between individual and community very precisely and it deserves a generous design so that communal activities can take place.
The floating items inhabit the place modulating the fluid space, creating spatial relationship with each other and with the frame (existing buildings). like in Robert Indiana’s love painting where floating letters change expected shape, rotate, get closer or separate to another letter or the frame,...in order to paint a background which is the heart of the painting, the public space, the life between buildings.
The miniature is the world of fairy tales. in order to enter into the writer’s domain of a house that can be set on a pea, we are forced to cross the threshold of absurdity. then, inside the miniature house, everything appears clear and we may see its vast number of rooms.
The miniatures can fill and define landscapes as in hieronymus bosch’s paintings but having at the same time an own imaginary encapsulated space. this snow globe encapsulated landscape has different nature in every miniature but its peculiarities make it as a desirable object for an urban collection at a “p-places square”.
“P-place” is a miniature encapsulated landscape which shows itself at the street level but expands towards the parking underground. they change the configuration of the square by diminishing the scale, grouping themselves, and offering new activities towards either the inner island of the square or the surrounding pedestrian space.
the use could be p-gallery, p-market, p-gym, p-town, p-coffee, p-park, p-books, p-kids, p-ball, p-info, p-greenhouse...the “p-places” are seeds that create urban life around, on the square, under the square, inside and outside. people can look through the windows without disturbing the activities below street level because the windows are placed high up.
they are lighthouses in the evenings which lighten the dark boring days. they become urban targets where people gather around.
Extending The City Centre
urban meets suburban. redefining the city centre.
Our vision for stortorvet and the neighbouring single family housing area is an extension of the domestic spaces towards stortorvet and the city centre, from small groups and spaces toward larger ones.
We propose, as part of the establishment of this social and physical structure, to subdivide the residential areas into smaller better defined units grouped around a semiprivate space which creates a stronger sense of belonging. these semi-private narrow spaces are quiet and protected, being a perfect playground for young children.
Space flows in gentle transition from these protected areas by people’s homes to the public spaces at stortorvet.
It is not about separating various traffic modes which results in boring path and road systems since we don’t consider these spaces as part of traffic but an extension of the threshold and the domestic life.
The goal is to break the “drive-in” patterns at the suburban areas where mass media and shopping centres have become virtually the only contact points with the outside world.
The size of the square suggests to us to introduce the domestic scale into stortorvet embracing it by the public pedestrian space and our “p-places” like the mother holding her child with all her body, clothes and hair in klimt’s painting.
A big challenge is to design public spaces for the cold and dark days in the autumn or winter. sunshine and protection from the wind outside are important factors but even indoor activities closely related to the square that would work as a mechanism for keeping the public space alive and attractive.
The position of our square and the new building can be considered strategic because they become a joint that rules the relationship between the urban and the suburban (single family housing area)
the building’s central conservatory is un- heated and has the character of a rain-free and wind-sheltered semi-private garden which is a part of the physical and social structure that we aim to introduce to link urban and suburban.
This semi outdoor space gains solar heat during the day and stores it after sunset. besides, it is the recipient of heat loss from the host rooms. the consequence is that in cold, overcast weather, or during the night, taking the supply of air for ventilation from the conservatory into the office spaces and homes constitutes a basic form of passive heat recovery.
Natural ventilation on the east façade reinforces sensory contact with the environment. on the other hand, noise from the traffic on the west façade may cause undue disturbance within the building and opening a window in windy conditions may be impractible.
Passive solutions to such dilemmas include an outer layer of glass, constituting a shield against ambient noise and wind. the gap between the two layers can vary in dimensions in order to provide some semi-outdoor space to the dwellings which work in a similar way to the main conservatory of the building.
The project illustrates a platform and a sketch for some tools with which to develop the place: While the project discusses the urban context, it holds some strategies and ideas for both the public square and the building.
The public square is built up with terrain as a small hill. This is possible to develop by simplifying and redesigning. The sections show intent to connect the ground level with the underground parking. The building is satisfactory as a scheme, because it limits the square and connects the square to the areas behind it.
The project has a plan for the main square, although in some respects it is overdone and formal. However it is commendable in its approach to building around the plaza where everything is turned into the center and yet still makes connections to the areas behind it.
team: Zero Architects
team leader: Jesus Mateo (Sp)
associates: Maximillian Martinenghi (It
Carretera de Benitez 9
28224 pozuelo de alarcon, Spain
+34 913 520 314