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Monday, 30 January 2012

Madrid Field Trip

As Unit A descended on Madrid for our field trip the fast paced world of architecture was quite literally translated to inform the determined stride we embarked upon. There was less of the drifting ‘dérive’ approach (despite perhaps the accidental trespassing incident) one might have expected, so whilst legs and feet may have not thanked us for it, it did mean we managed to see a lot in the brief time we had. Plus the walking was interspersed with chances for ‘rest’ as multiple opportunities for play revealed themselves throughout the city. 

Despite the playful approach it was definitely educational and by each being allocated a building beforehand it meant we were collectively prepared for what was in store. This meant we had an understanding of the concept and aims of the architecture and our preconceptions could be tested. We all had the opportunity to directly hear the design process of one of the projects we would be visiting as on the second day we were fortunate to be invited into the practice of Ecosistema Urbano. We were given a presentation of their recent projects and design philosophy. With a focus on urbanism and sustainability, they have an interest in public involvement in order to provide platforms for participation and creativity that are beneficial both socially and environmentally.

The following day we visited their project entitled ‘Eco Boulevard’. Situated within the ordered surroundings of recently master planned Pau de Vallecas, Eco Boulevard is an example where the architect’s control is passed over to the users allowing them to appropriate the space. As a platform for public expression and response it encourages active participation of local residents but also exists as a desirable location attracting interest from the wider context. The project arose out of necessity to ‘solve’ the existing which means its affects are limited because change possibly cannot be induced on the fixed housing, whereas conceptually as an initiator of growth in the area it provides a strong model of change and development in the city. Initially the Eco Boulevard was designed to be temporary, aiming to encourage urban growth until no longer required, however has since gained monument status. This rather detracts from the aim that the growth and change from the installation would expand and shift to the whole area in order for it to adapt and evolve of its own accord. However, the structures of the Eco Boulevard certainly allowed us to temporarily gain control of the space and produced a sense of freedom and interaction, similar only to that achieved by the play equipment in the Madrid Rio. 

Other highlights of the trip included the Na Sa de Guadalupe Church of which initial disappointment of its closure instantly vanished when access became available through the adjacent building. Descending allowed us to emerge directly inside the church where we were met by the stunning atmosphere created by the light through coloured stained glass on every wall. The UNED Escuelas Pías Biblioteca, a church converted into a library, was also a collective feature, the high level of detail and consideration allowed the new and existing to feel equal rather than disparate elements. The field trip allowed us a full on inspirational fix to start this term with and gratitude goes to Colin and Carsten for organising this fantastic experience and to Ibstock for subsidising the trip and Ken and Dale for accompanying and sharing with us our unit adventure.       

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Madrid field-trip January 2012

Madrid Barajas International Airport, Richard Rogers & Antonio Lamela
Caxia Forum, Herzog deMeuron
Warehouse 8b, Arturo Franco
Metadero Madrid - Contemporary Art Centre, ICA Arquitectura
Celosia Residence, MVRDV & Blanca lleo
Villaverde Social Housing, David Chipperfield
Temporary Market, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos
San Blas Usera Health Center, Estudio Entresitio
Carabanchel Housing, Foreign Office Architects
Prado Public Realm, Alvaro Siza & Juan Miguel Hernandez de Leon
New Cultural Centre (NCC), Fündc
Usera Public Library, Abalos & Herreros
ABC Museum, Aranguren & Gallegos Arquitectos
Skatepark - Madrid Rio, (location: Paseo de Yeserías, next to Puente de Praga bridge)
Na Sa de Guadalupe Church, Felix Candela & Enrique de la Mora
Twin Bridges - Madrid Rio, Invernadero & Matadero
Instituto del Patrimonio Historico Espanol, Arquitecto Lopez Otero
UNED Escuelas Pías Biblioteca, Meson de Paredes / J.I. Linazasoro
Prado Museum, Juan de Villanueva
Eco Boulevard, ecosistema urbano Arquitectos
Arganzuela footbridge - Madrid Rio, Dominique Perrault
El Mirador de Sanchinarro Housing, MVRDV
Tempio de Debod, Adjialamani o Azakheramon
Antiguo Mercado Central de Frutas y Verduras, Francisco Ferrer Ferrero
Puente del Rey Esplanade - Madrid Rio
Plaza de la Luna, Brut Deluxe

Thank you from Unit A to Carsten and Colin for showing us some great buildings and giving us a great time in Madrid.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Twisting Concrete

Syndicate Material Experimentation

'a limited set of five different templates was used to define sixty different shells. The combination of the templates follows a logic structural rule based on the forming of double curvature. The design decisions become limited in the overall form of the combination and the puzzle designs itself by following the basic rule.In terms of fabrication what is systematic is the components that generate each individual module and not the module itself. The external curves that define the dou�ble curvature within the cube are pre-defined and can be mass-produced. A set of templates that can be put together in different combinations according to the whole panel and generate individual parts that are different from each other.'

From Shin Egashira