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Luanda, Urban Superimposition

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Luanda, Urban Superimposition 

Andrea Calcaterra

The global urbanization nowadays faces a natural population growth concentrated in developing countries, which involves a constant and uncontrolled expansion of slums and informal settlements. Such an important issue needs to be addressed, it cannot be ignored, and the demolition and relocation in decentralized areas are rarely the solution. In fact, what the sphere of demolishing destroys are not only the buildings, but also a dense network of personal relationships, memories and thoughts, which, together with what has grown over a long period, create the spirit of the place and the community.
The emblem of the phenomenon is the African continent, in particular the project is located in Luanda, Angola where the real need for new living spaces led me to address this present issue.
The action of the superimposition and the adding of habitable structure and aerial walkways creates new connection patterns that are inserted into the not consolidated existing urban built up texture, outlining a slower local development, but steady and gradual. The method of construction on pilotis create the overlap of a new layer giving a new aerial dimension that change the prospective and the visual perceptions of the existing one floor flat neighborhood. The proposed action is born from the background, setting the goal to outline an experimental intervention strategy, remaining practical, that can be improved and enlarged according to the needs of the inhabitants themselves.
This type of small scale and interconnected architecture has the ambition to be able to be implemented and contextualized on a large scale, and to make changes that result in a new shared and procedural aesthetic.

Interview

Who influences you graphically?

After a study and training experience in Portugal, I was partly influenced by the “portuguese school”, so architectural firms like Bak Gordon, Aires Mateus, Barbas Lopes, Fala atelier, Camilo Rebelo and others. While on the international scene I greatly look up to firms like Homu, Atelier Branco, Amunt, Georges Candilis, Baukuh, PioveneFabi, KolmanBoye, Yona Friedman, Dogma, Pascal Flammer, BeL…Anyway all the graphical research was conducted following the idea of simplification inspired by the theories of Masanobu Fukuoka, without neglecting the clarity and completeness of expression.

What is the purpose of the round format?

The round format wants to underline a rest moment from the narration of the design proposal. The round format is a kind of hand lens that allows to have a zoom in a particular selected details from the views, axonometric or architectural drawings.

You explore your proposal through all means of representation, to what extent do you believe that only in this manner is it possible to fully convey a proposal?

I am aware that the key elements of the proposal can be fully understood only with a frame of few selected drawings, but only ranging among various representative methods I thought possible show the completeness of the design process. This multiplicity was used to embody the changing shift in scale, from the macro-scale of the masterplan to the micro-scale of the exploded isometric architectural detail, selecting the most appropriate method to better underline the information intended.

What is your take on the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?

I think that the axonometric is the most clear and immediate form of representation, it can be considered the meeting point from the architectural and the artistic drawings, I appreciate this versatility, which makes it easy to use from architectural details, masterplans, single viewpoints, artistic expression, exploded and everything you prefer.

How could the introduction of colour help in identity your intervention on top of the existing fabric?

I chose to use colours only in the realistic views, this decision come from the necessity to show the materials selected for the intervention, so this materiality given by different textures was useful both to let emerge the projected element from the existing fabric but at the same time to show its ease of amalgamation with the context. The selection and balance between the colours creates a realistic crayon effect.

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