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Public Space for the Extreme: Call for Papers

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+city+networkedurbanism+research+sustainability+Uncategorized+urbanism+work in progress

Woody Allen starring in The Front, Martin Ritt, 1976. Copyright of Columbia Pictures.

Woody Allen starring in The Front, Martin Ritt, 1976. Copyright of Columbia Pictures.

The Book

As you may have noticed from our last posts, it has been a while since we have started researching on the possibilities of designing better public spaces for those cities and regions that have to deal with extreme climate conditions. Extreme heat, very often combined with extreme humidity are conditions that, more or less seasonally, affect wide areas of the world. These regions, classified under the Köppen-Geiger climate map mainly as Equatorial and Arid (although with many sub-classifications) comprise various densely populated areas that all face a common problem: the harsh climate, combined with a generic design of the city, results in a scarce and difficult relationship of the citizens with the public space. Our goal is to publish a book that will serve as a design manual and reference for architects, urban planners, public administrators, decision makers, and citizens. This book, containing good practices examples, technical solutions and theoretical essays, will help designers imaging and designing better public spaces considering the local climate, the bioclimatic-comfort needs of the citizens and the responsiveness to the changing environmental conditions.

The Call

We would like to announce a call for papers inviting authors (architects, urban planners, designers, sociologists, engineers, scholars, etc.) to submit an abstract, no longer than 250 words, for a paper that will be published in the book. The content of the paper must necessarily be related with the topic of the book that can be summarized in the“design of bioclimatic responsive public spaces under extreme climate conditions” and can be either about a general original investigation on the topic or related to a more specific field within the main subject, like for example specific bioclimatic control techniques, technologies or principles, specific open air comfort conditions, the relationship between climate and public space usage, etc. Any other idea, even loosely connected with the main topic, that offers an original and innovative point of view is welcome and will be considered by the editors.
The abstracts will be blind reviewed by the editors: prof. Jose Luis Vallejo, prof. Belinda Tato and Marco Rizzetto; they must be written in English and be the result of an original and high quality research. Selected abstracts will be then discussed with the authors to develop the final paper according to the indications of the editorial board, the publication of the paper(s) will, in any case, depend on the quality of the final work.

The Deadlines

Deadline for the submission of the abstract: November 12th 2016
Notification of acceptance: November 19th 2016
Deadline for final paper submission: January 20th 2017

Submit!

If you are interested please send your abstract to sorry you have to write it down with the Subject: “Extreme Public Space CFP”

A street in Bahrain, photo by Emilio P. Doitzua

A street in Bahrain, photo by Emilio P. Doitzua

All submissions will be treated as confidential prior to publication in the proceedings; rejected submissions will be permanently treated as confidential.
The final book will be both digitally published under a CC-NC-SA licence and made available for download and physically printed, a limited number of copies will be distributed to key institutions related with design and planning all around the world, especially in regions directly interested by extreme climate conditions. The author, or authors, of the selected essays will be credited and acknowledged. For any other information or doubt please do not hesitate to contact us at the address provided below.

If you want to know something more about our current ongoing research you can take a look at the previous posts belonging to this same series:
01 – Defining the Extreme
02 – Public Space for the Extreme @ GSD Harvard
and stay tuned for upcoming updates.

 

Bonus link

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Public Space for the Extreme @ GSD-Harvard

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+city+networkedurbanism+research+sustainability+urbanism+work in progress

Breathing Streets, courtesy of Nan Liu and Adelene Yu Ling Tan

Breathing Streets, courtesy of Nan Liu and Adelene Yu Ling Tan

During 2015 spring semester Ecosistema Urbano principals Jose Luis Vallejo and Belinda Tato taught a studio at the GSD in Harvard, focused on the design of socio-environmentally responsive public spaces for the city center of Muharraq, in Bahrain. During the semester the students worked to develop ideas and designs to improve the few remaining public spaces in the city, almost completely wiped out by the continuous transformation of the antique city fabric into a contemporary -and rather generic- one, that basically followed the “wide car street + housing block” development pattern, during the last 50 years the city has completely lost its contact with the water, substituted by a wide belt of highways and also its interstitial, small public spaces, almost completely transformed into parking lots. Always considering the climatic conditions that can be easily defined harsh and extreme, the aim of those projects was to foster the use of public space, in a city where public space is not only often abandoned and absent but also where the right to meet and gather is strongly discouraged.


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The heart of Asunción starts beating

Category: #followcreative+⚐ EN+architecture+art+city+creativity+news+publications+urbanism+work in progress

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Mural de Guache en el Hotel Armele, sobre Palma llegando a Colón / Foto: @marcosalonsophotography

A few months ago we ended one of the longest, intense and complex projects our office Ecosistema Urbano has done so far, the Masterplan of the Historic Downtown of Asunción, awarded in an international competition and developed with a multidisciplinary team between Madrid and the Mother of Cities, Asunción.

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Public Space for the Extreme: Defining the Extreme

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+city+networkedurbanism+research+sustainability+urbanism+work in progress

Manama, Bahrein. Photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

Four years ago Ecosistema Urbano held a workshop in Manama, Bahrain, to revitalize and improve the public space around the Bab al Bahrain souk, an area that is historically important for the city but that it is nowadays a mere street crossing rounded by parking lots, without any tree or shadow. The workshop was held in a remarkable temporary pavilion that for a few weeks converted a roundabout into a vivid and often crowded space, a light textile roof offered shadow and protection to the participants contributing to the success of the workshop. The workshop has been also the occasion for us to start a long term project on Bahrain, under the auspices of the UNESCO Arab Regional Center for World Heritage we started a research project mainly focused on the city of Muharraq, its antique public spaces and how could we revive and improve them. This research has been carried on during 2014 and 2015 spring semesters with the GSD-Harvard students and it emerged immediately that one of the main conditions to make use of the public space in Muharraq was the improvement of the extreme environmental conditions that, combined with a low quality design of the space, prevented and discouraged the people to go out and live the remaining public spaces.

Bab Al Bahrain Workshop 2012

Bab Al Bahrain Workshop 2012

Following this same path of research we are now working on a publication to finally release all the knowledge we have accumulated during these years of work, teaching, and research in the form of a book. Our objective is to address the problems that the designers have to face every time they are called to design a public space in an area with a particularly extreme climate (make it extremely hot, arid, tropical, etc.), we would like to provide decision makers, designers and citizens with a solid base of knowledge to help them consider new technologies and concepts to design public spaces optimized for a certain climate, responding to bio-climatic needs and site specific conditions making it more livable, comfortable and accessible.
Beginning today, we start a series of posts dedicated to the design of bio-climatic public spaces, we will periodically publish part of the content we have produced for the book exposing the problems and the good practices that we have found, our concerns, the work of our students, etc. We would like to foster a debate around these themes that might help us developing our book but also raise the awareness around the climatic comfort in public spaces which is a true challenge for architects and designers in many areas of the world.
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Ecosistema Urbano finalist of 2016 Taipei International Design Award

Category: ⚐ EN+competitions+Cuenca Red+design+espacio público

We are very pleased to inform you that Ecosistema Urbano is one of the finalists of the 2016 Taipei International Design Award

With the aim of enhancing the image of the capital of Taiwan as an international leader in design and innovation, Taipei City Government organizes this award, which is divided into three categories: Industrial Design, Visual Communication Design, and Public Space Design.

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Ecosistema urbano working for the urban transformation of Grenoble

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+competitions+ecosistema urbano+news+sustainability+urbanism+work in progress

accessibility

We are proud to share our success in the competition for the Master Plan for ZAC Flaubert in the city of Grenoble. It is the result of a collaboration with Sathy, TN Plus,  OGI (Engineering), Res Publica, and VPEAS. Our candidature has just been selected to lead this great urban transformation and revitalization process in the very center of Grenoble city.

The project deals with the urban transformation of an underused area: ZAC Flaubert. This is currently a 90 hectares transition area at the crossing of a North-South axis and an East-West one, both important for the city. Being a strategic part of the city and its inhabitants, this huge project has various stakes and raises one question: How to give an identity to this area which is now a cluster of micro-identities?

The mayor, from the Ecologist party, wants to integrate citizens in an ambitious co-construction process that would start with Flaubert to spread across the whole city. He is committed to involving residents, shop owners, citizens at each step of the co-construction project. In addition, various other stakeholders are to be involved in the process thanks to different formats such as debates and discussions to exchange points of view and possible visions for Flaubert’s future.

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New email subscription system

Category: ⚐ EN+ecosistema urbano+eu:live+news

We write this short post to tell you that we have slightly changed the way email subscription works in our blog. The system that sent every published post directly from our blog to your inbox has become outdated, so we have reconfigured the whole thing through a new, more powerful service.

If you were already subscribed, you don’t have to worry about anything: you are (hopefully) already getting this very same post in your email, and you’ll be receiving every new one from now on… just without the ocasional errors and in a much more attractive format :)

For those of you not yet following the blog by email, this is a good chance to do so. Many people are following it through social media (Facebook and Twitter) or RSS services like Feedly or Inoreader (which are still one of the best ways of following any blog out there). However, email is still a universal and easy-to-use format, allowing you to read any content in your inbox without having to visit a different site.

Subscription is done within seconds by using a form, and you can choose whether to receive posts in a specific language or in several of them.

Subscribe now to www.ecosistemaurbano.org!

Once subscription is done and activated, new articles will be sent when they are published. We hope this channel keeps being useful for many of you!

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Stortorget Square in Hamar is an incredibly lively place, even Sting says so !!

Category: ⚐ EN+dreamhamar+ecosistema urbano+events

sting_1920x1080_highres_m_logo-1

Do you remember those drawings of our preliminary design for Dreamhamar project? And how Stortorget Square, the main public square in Hamar, was represented as a flexible and dynamic place for public events, concerts and gatherings? one-thousand-squares-01

Well, as many of our readers may know, after that initial phase we developed a complex participatory process (narrated in detail in our publication Dreamhamar – a network design process for collectively reimagining public space), that led to the urban design we finalized in 2012. The final spatial configuration of the main public space of Hamar is characterized by the presence of the Social Ring, an arena used as an ice skating area during the winter and as stage/meeting area/urban beach during the summer.

social-ring

Since its construction was accomplished, Stortorget square fulfills its role as the main center of the urban life in the city. The Social Ring has truly become a landmark for Hamar and we are so pleased to discover at Stortorget’s Facebook page a great number of pictures showing so many different uses and users enjoying this reconquered public space.

Picture: Thomas Tapani Härkönen – from Facebook

Even if during last years Stortorget square hosted events of different kinds targeted at different social groups, satisfying the interests of many (kids playing gymnastics, classic music passionates, bikers, ice-skaters, Christmas tree lovers, etc…) without any doubt one of the most acclaimed event took place last August, gathering more than 8.000 people and completely filling the square at its maximum capacity.

Pictures from Facebook. Authors from top right: Glenn Sætre, Morten Aspeli (3 pictures), bottom: Torfinn Kringlebotn

On August 6th 2016 the concert of the world’s famous musician Sting took place at Stortorget. Local newspapers reported that it was a great success, and honestly, looking at the pictures it really seems so. We are so happy that one of our most loved public spaces, conceived with locals to be transformed into an icon of new ways of making urbanism, gained this visibility, not only because of the features of the place itself, but also for the importance of the event it hosted, becoming known to a larger audience.

Stortorget Square on the day of Sting’s concert. Source: http://www.h-a.no

Sting performing in Stortorget Square. Source: http://www.h-a.no/

Further information (in Norwegian, of course) at here, here and here.

We hope many other events will take place at Stortorget, and that it will continue to be a great and liveful place!

 

 

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Workshop ASF-UK Resilience by Design | Nepal 2016

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+design+humanitarian architecture

poster

Today we are happy to spread this call to Resilience by Design Workshop, organized by the Architecture Sans Frontières Uk, that will take place next september in Nepal.

ASF-UK, in partnership with ASF-Nepal and UN-Habitat are very excited to launch the next installment of Resilience by Design: Nepal 2016 – Reactivating traditional urban settlements through integrated design, planning and building strategies.

If you are a built environment practitioner, researcher or student, join us for a 12 day workshop 10th-23rd September 2016, details below.

Where? Kathmandu, Nepal / When? 10th – 23rd September / Who? Architects, engineers, planners and related built environment practitioners and researchers.
Application deadline: 4th July 2016 / How much? £800 [includes meals, accommodation and travel during the workshop. Flights and airport pick-up not included]
The workshop Resilience by Design Nepal 2016 counts towards Challenging Practice Stage B accreditation.
To apply: Application Form
Contact: resiliencebydesign@asf-uk.org

ASF-UK’s RbD programme, ASF Nepal and UN-Habitat are launching a call for a multidisciplinary* group of volunteers to support the ongoing post-earthquake reconstruction process in Bungamati, a badly-damaged historic town in the Kathmandu Valley with a wealth of traditional architecture, public spaces, heritage and cultural legacies.

Temple in Bungamati – foto: mapio.net

During this workshop, volunteers will learn and work alongside the residents and 15 community architects and engineers, by co-designing reactivating strategies for three neighbourhood clusters in Bungamati, focusing on design, planning and building techniques. Each cluster is composed by distinct housing typologies, social and spiritual public spaces, as well as cultural practices. The strategies will then be discussed with the municipality and the different stakeholders involved in the larger reconstruction programme of the Kathmandu Valley.

Join us for 12 days to support an inclusive, safe and sustainable reconstruction process rooted on community empowerment and the safeguard of the heritage and cultural wealth of the Kathmandu Valley.

Resilience by Design 2016 is an initiative by Architecture Sans Frontières UK in partnership with Architecture Sans Frontières Nepal and UN-Habitat, as part of a larger long term reconstruction and recovery collaboration for urban settlements in the Kathmandu Valley.

The workshop is part of RIBA CPD Providers Assessed Material and RIBA CPD Core Curriculum.

VOLUNTEER POSITIONS AVAILABLE IN NEPAL AFTER THE WORKSHOP

We are opening a selection process for 3 Volunteer positions in Nepal available after the workshop, working with ASF Nepal and the RbD team to develop the projects towards implementation. Accommodation and meals will be provided! More info and application process: resiliencebydesign@asf-uk.org

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City Splash! for Copa Cagrana Neue | ecosistema urbano + transform.city proposal for Vienna

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+city+ecosistema urbano+landscape+news+sustainability+technologies+urbanism



Last November we were selected, in collaboration with Transform.city, to participate in the Neue Copa Cagrana International shortlisted competition in Vienna (Austria). The scope of the competition was the urban revitalization and definition of the Master Plan in the area Neue Copa Cagrana defining an urban proposal and the relationship of this part of the city with the river.
We were selected along with other 8 teams, including renowned firms such as Dominique Perrault, AZPML, or West 8.

The context: Donau City, Vienna

The study area is located next to Donau City, on the left bank of the new Danube Canal, Neue Donau, passing through the city of Vienna. It is a neighborhood of mainly tertiary character with office buildings of great height, developed in the last 20 years, including the Vienna International Centre.

Copa Cagrana – the intervention area, between the Danube and the new urban area with the D. Perrault’s tower

Despite the good connection with the city center, the large number of buildings and the excellent existing natural qualities, the area is almost deserted during day and night. This is mainly due to the lack of variety of uses, commercial facilities and recreational areas.
The proposal develops a series of strategies to revitalize an area that already has the optimal conditions to become a landmark for the city of Vienna:

FOUR OBJECTIVES

1 – Increase density and urban mixture

The proposal aims to incorporate urban, commercial and leisure life at a time when Vienna is starting to look for other forms of identity for the river area. It is important to bring new residents to help to create urban activity throughout day and night, summer and winter seasons by permanent and temporary uses. The mixed-use and residential functions in the first row, including the urban boulevard, have the potential to complete and complement the existing urban fabric and establish, for the first time, the necessary connections to make Donau City a functioning and exciting neighbourhood.

Activity diagram for the different seasons

The project proposes a high density urban prosthesis, combining housing, office, commercial and public space, in order to create an active urban spot connected to the surrounding, improving its identity and multiplying the possibilities of use.
The proposal seeks to make Donau City easier to be understood and perceived, with a clear connection to Danube river and its waterfront. Therefore, the proposal is the missing link to the completion of the Donaustadt and is, at the same time, the necessary catalyst to enable the urban regeneration in the area.

2 – Create new urban spots

Copa Cagrana will be an exciting new urban spot in Wien, which is perfectly connected to the city network thanks to the transport connectivity and subway line. Through the physical proximity with existing Donau City, Donau Insel and surrounding neighborhoods, the area will increase popularity and will offer more attractions to the users.
The newly created waterfront will be an urban catalyser with a variety of urban functions, with uses according to the seasons and day and night time:
The FILTER ZONE is a more quiet area free of commercial activities.
The TEMPORARY ZONE changes according the different seasons, with beach bars in the summer, pop-up restaurants, terraces and platforms, etc.
The WATERFRONT is an enjoyable walkable strip with piers and exciting water activities for summer and winter.

The FILTER ZONE

3 – Renaturing (urban+nature landscape)

A new urban and natural environment intrinsically connected with surrounding nature.
It will be the connecting environment between Donauinsel and Donau Park but also extending its limits over the water landscape of Neue Donau to create a vibrant and diverse waterscape.

 

Masterplan 1:1000

4 – Digital Identity – web app strategy

It is important to create the communication channels in order to advertise and share information about the ongoing activities and as a way to share potential ideas to be implemented. This web APP is thought to work as a social network that provides information for the citizens of Copa Cagrana on what kind of activities they can do on this renewed urban area.
Users will be able to register and create a user profile, with this, they will have the opportunity of proposing activities that will make use of the beautiful surroundings and installations of this urban space. The commercial sector will also have their own space. They will have the possibility of creating a profile which will allow them to publicize their products and business, as well as invite and inform citizens about special deals, offers, events and other celebrations.

 

FIVE NEW URBAN ZONES

Cross Section

Seeking to achieve these four objectives, the proposal creates 5 zones acting together and related to each other:

Zone C+: Infiltration city

The energy of city life will splash towards Donau City and the urban plinth will extend its limits to bring activity and reconfigure the public spaces around the corporative and residential buildings. These urban tentacles will extend urban plinth limits with linear and small scale pavilions, pop-up stores and cafes, etc. reconnecting and renewing the pedestrian pathways of the Donau city.

Elevation

Zone C: Social life city

Zone C proposal is the most powerful urban energy boost, as it provides a large amount of overlapped new programs and public spaces easily accessible at different levels.
Areas:
Urban plinth: fragmented construction from 1 to 4 stories high, multiple programs with predominance of commercial spaces overlapped with public spaces at different levels.
Vertical ecosystems: housing towers with a myriad of different typologies to create a diverse neighbourhood. The housing units help to create a dense neighbourhood with urban life throughout the day.
Urban bridge: On the tenth floor, same level as the top terrace of the existing linear building of social housing, a bridge is creating connections between semi public spaces, with diverse programs within the vertical ecosystems.
Public peaks: the top floor of the different towers is also part of the network of semi public spaces within the vertical ecosystems. These spaces can hold multiple programs and part of their success will be the privileged point of view of the city (terraces, cafes, common spaces,… )

Zone B: nature city

This is a zone where nature is predominant and the urban plinth is melting its limits with the landscape. At the same time, the natural character of this area helps to make the transition between the bigger, urban scale of zone C and both the lower scale of zone B and the waterscape towards Donauinsel, combining natural areas with paths for soft mobility.

Different cross sections in zones A and B

Zone A: Leisure city

Leisure cityscape to allow the transition between the formal city and the vibrant and ever changing new waterscape of zone C+. It will hold multiple permanent uses but also temporary programs and seasonal activities. There are multiple temporary and permanent uses in small buildings with similar language, as well as a new riverside walk that will extend to create a comfortable linear space. The relationship with water and the elevation difference will be resolved with a wooden platform that will act as an urban sofa to relax and enjoy the presence and proximity of the river.

Zone A+: Water city

Vibrant and ever changing waterscape in continuous evolution. It will extend the activities of the new urban spot towards the water.

Masterplan 1:2000

+ water pier: permanent pier, water thematic. Light structure with indoor and outdoor spaces to allow the creation of different bathing experiences. The use will change seasonally, during the winter, outdoor and indoor climatized pools will allow the user to be in connection with the surrounding natural landscape while having a pleasant bathing experience.

The water pier for summer activities

+ ice pier: permanent pier, ice and climbing sports oriented. Light structure with a strong seasonal connection. During the winter, part of the structure will be a huge frozen and faceted vertical surface to practice ice climbing, while the lower platform will host different ice skating outdoor rinks to practice in connection with the water and natural landscape. During the summer the ice surface is transformed into a huge waterfall falling from the upper level into the river.

ice pier_con nieve

The ice pier for winter climbing

+The urban archipelago: big modular and floating ever changing extension of the waterfront. The different seasons and uses will dramatically transform its configuration. This mutant landscape is built with modular floating platforms/barges that can be combined to create larger flat surfaces if necessary. These platforms can be connected to the limit line of the waterfront to extend its surface.

If you want to know more about the proposals you can download the competition panels here:
Panel 1   Panel 2   Panel 3   Panel 4