We are very excited to share with all of you the final document of our proposal for West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.A.
March 23, 2017
April 26, 2016
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
+ 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.
+ 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.
+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.
May 28, 2015
During the past months, in the framework of a shortlisted competition for a new working+retail space in the Middle East, we developed a research about the possibilities of contemporary workspace and how the digital layer influences the physical configuration, enhancing and multiplying the possibilities.
Last Fall we were teaching at the Master in Workspace Design at IE University, leading the Technology Lab; so this exploration became a continuation of our previous research and work.
We have been studying the contemporary way of working / thinking / living, analyzing the current phenomena affecting the spaces where the working activities take place. We believe that the digital revolution and contemporary socio-political dynamics call for reflection on the way we work. Spaces and instruments for working, methods and hierarchies, places and distances have all been brought into question. Beyond and around working, there is an ongoing change of paradigm that involves almost every aspect of culture and society. The way we address and manage processes, products and knowledge is evolving aided by new technological possibilities and critical “meta” reflections: From competition to collaboration and cooperation; from centralization to P2P; from pyramidal structures to grassroots, horizontal ones; from professional secret to transparency; from private R&D to crowdsourcing; from intellectual property restrictions to copyleft and free/open source initiatives, from well finished products or services to open roadmaps that embrace perpetual beta…
Our research focused on the following challenges:
How can architectural, physical work space, aided by its digital equivalent through hybrid interfaces, incorporate those emerging ways in order to support further exploration?
How can we, architects/designers, provide the best built environment for these emerging impulses to become fully developed?
Our philosophical approach divided the subject into three main spheres of research:
+ The Physical Sphere
Understanding the contemporary workspace as an innovative and experimental balance between design (size, material, color, behaviour, structure, relative position between elements,…) and conditioning (hygrothermal comfort, privacy, noise levels, lighting,…) to be implemented so as to be responsive and truly supportive.
+ The Digital Sphere
We focused on the digital “cloud” associated to each space to enable experimental environments, unprecedented interactions and ways of communicating, or wider, faster, more open-access to knowledge. We considered the digital sphere in workspaces as a unique open environment, extremely user-friendly, flexible and customised according to the specific circumstances it will be used for: supporting internal work, influencing digital marketing strategies, involving customers and external visitors, instigating social activities.
+ Physical-Digital Interaction
We design spaces that enable the best interaction between users relying on a physical comfort and the digital layer. We focus our work on how mutual management, communication, control, connection and interaction can work between the physical and the digital. This specifically involves physical interfaces that operate on the digital side and digital interfaces that influence the physical space.
In order to achieve the integration of physical and digital spatial configuration, we developed a design strategy around four main actions we believe as relevant for an innovative workspace:
Innovation requires firstly an inspiring environment in order to provide an experimental incitement to creativity through different channels.
We believe in the possibility of feeding creativity through a series of activities that inspire our brain and stimulate it to go beyond boundaries and create big ideas.
– Well Being
A workspace should provide a high comfort level for the people using it. The environment should be equipped with all the facilities that ensure the best ambience for every particular situation and need.
Being satisfied by its own conditions, sometimes is not the best way to bring innovation. The only possibility to improve is going beyond and accepting challenges. In the contemporary work scene, innovation is an indisputable fact. But, for instance, how to stimulate a company that is already in the innovation sector to exceed and excel constantly? We believe that a good training in accepting new challenges even in the small everyday things could help a lot. Through simple dynamics that boost self confidence, cooperation between members of a team, enthusiasm towards the new and unknown and establishing an informal and playful way to invent new solutions for everyday issues as well as exceptional conditions is an excellent way of ensuring high levels of performance.
We believe the strength of a successful company is in the quality of its structure and components, but just as important is the network that is able to create, expanding its connections and sharing an learning with/from others.
We keep this line of research open. So, if you want to contribute with it, by sharing a paper or article around the topic, we will be happy to publish it, to spread the ideas and inspire others!
May 13, 2015
Last February we were invited by the Art Institute of Chicago, the second largest museum of United States after the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to participate in the exhibition Chatter: Architecture Talks Back, an exhibition curated by Karen Kice and Iker Gil. The exhibition explores the new possibilities that technology offers to communication in architecture, aiming to establish an ideal dialogue between architecture’s present and past. The thesis of the exhibition is that Chatter is the new way for architects to communicate their ideas; social media as Twitter and Instagram are nowadays working tools for architects to produce and present their work. The exhibition focuses on the creative process of some international architectural firms, such as: Bureau Spectacular, Erin Besler, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, Formlessfinder, and John Szot Studio; and highlights how they conceive new designs and ideas that reflect upon and expand the legacy of their field.
In this framework we were invited to exhibit our project Dreamhamar in the Gallery 283, in the section curated by Iker Gil, Director of the design publication Mas Context. In this part of the exhibition, that explores the multiple ways in which architecture can be communicated, our work represented the section “Empowering”, one of the concepts used to support the thesis of this section, together with others as “Challenging”, “Satirical”, “Collective”, “Revealing” and “Diagnostic“.
The projects presented in this space were produced by a range of practitioners worldwide: Ecosistema Urbano; over, under and pinkcomma; Mimi Zeiger and Neil Donnelly with the School of Visual Arts Summer Design Writing and Research Intensive; Koldo Lus Arana (Klaus); Project_ with Sarah Hirschman; 300.000km/s with Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona; Luis Úrculo; and Christopher Baker.
If you are planning to go to Chicago, don’t miss it! It will be open from April 11th, 2015, through July 12th, 2015 in the Architecture and Design galleries in the museum’s Modern Wing.
January 14, 2015
Remember Bikeline, our awarded idea for a cycling app? We’ve been thinking about it lately, and decided to make a post about some other smartphone apps that might be interesting for urban cyclists.
You may have already heard of names like CityMapper, Strava or CycleMeter. It seems like most of the cycling related apps available fall on the category of route planners, sports or trackers. So we decided to talk about other types of apps, both available or soon-to-be lauched.
Every person that rides a bike knows that some mechanic skills will eventually come in handy. This app will teach you all you need to know about maintenance and repairing of your bicycle. It consists in 58 step-by-step guides and 95 tips and tricks, also about riding-related aches and pains. One important thing: all of these repairs don’t require special tools; in other words, it’s accessible to beginner cyclists.
Price: 2.26€ / 3.20€
Fill That Hole
Even if this app is only available in the UK, it had to be part of this list because it emphasizes the importance of public participation and collaboration for a better city. This app, developed by the National Cycling Charity, enables you to take photos of potholes (one of the worst enemies for a cyclist) and other hazards in the street, and uses the phone GPS location to send the info to the local authorities. A FixMyStreet for bicycles!
Platform: iOS, Android in development
This app is a game that motivates you to ride your bicycle even more. In RiderState you’ll be conquering your street, neighborhood and city, based on how much and where you’re riding. The app will register your activity in real-time, and when you’re finished it will show a map of your conquered territory as well as stats of your game and ride, like the avoided CO2 emissions. Interesting take on mobility and gamification.
BikeTap was born from the effort to change the way people view cycling as part of their lifestyle, from recreational to social. It’s based on social interaction and basically you gain points and rewards by each trip you’re making by bike. You can challenge your friends for bike rides, arrange a meeting with them, know if they are going by bike or if the destination has parking infrastructures. Local businesses will be able notify users, and you can also know about trends in cycling. With this app you will find additional motivation through shared experience to get you cycling more often.
Platform: iOS (not lauched yet)
While Kappo also means to encourage cycling by gaming, it is an interesting tool for institutions and governments as well. The concept is basically the same as the previous, everytime you ride your bike the app measures the time, speed and also weather and jumps. If it’s raining, for example, you’ll be getting more points to level up and more bikecoins to use on your profile. The graphics are very appealing and the game looks entertaining; you can compete with your friends, players from all around the world and also complete some very interesting challenging achievements.
The most interesting part of Kappo is that, while it is a game for the users, it also provides data for the local authorities. They will get insights about local urban cyclists, being able to understand patterns and behavior, in order to act better towards their needs. A very interesting win-win model, with a (yet to be fully explored) potential around the ‘bikecoin’ concept.
The first thing we must say about this app concept is that the creator wants to make bike the most popular transportation mode by 2030. Bold statement! The second thing is that it’s all open-based. Bikestorming is (or will be) a collaborative platform intended to promote urban cycling everywhere.
It’s designed to be fun and cool. Basically there is a Map and Missions. The Map shows more info available for urban cyclists than any other map, and the missions are a way to expand it. In other words, beside using the info of your city, you will also be posting about parking spots, safe streets or how do you integrate bike and public transport, among other missions. All the data is open to reuse.
Platform: Soon to be on every smartphone and lightsaber
Bikes have remained mostly the same during decades, but contemporary technology is slowly finding its way on everyone’s handlebar, with great potential. Apart of the visual aid and information that such apps can provide, there are also some interesting explorations of a sharing economy going on here. The mix of social coins, gamification, social interaction and crowdsourcing of urban data is a very promising one.
There are some limitations, though. For example, enabling your GPS (required for almost every biking app) while you ride may take you to your destination… and leave you with an empty battery. As these applications get more popular, systems for in-bike charging will probably be popping up, as well as more and better ways to attach the phone to your bike.
This is just the beginning!