Exploring Through All Architectural and Representational Scales
Filippo Edoni and Samuele Xompero
More than thirteen years ago the building of “Estacion Central General Artigas” closed his doors to the community of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, with the idea that a new urbanistic plan, called “Plan Fenix” – which turned out to be a massive failure -, could be the solution of an area that suffered of a slow and inexorable decay.
Regardless politic and economic problems, analyzing the ex-terminal as monument builded at the end of the XIX century, we realized that the relationships between the station and the city and – even more – the citizens themselves, in more than 100 years of history, are so many that is necessary to believe in a new regeneration.
The station is the head of a new infrastructure, the “Urban Artifact”, as Rossi said, and it can be able to reshape in a positive way the environs for the next generations.
The project is developed on an area of 64 000 m2, and that is why it’s quite necessary to understand all the components parts.
Like the most of the traditional Uruguayan architectures of the XIX century, the old building has an eclectic style, both of the principal façades are finely decorated, and the huge space on the back side of the terminal reflects the wonder of who came to the capitol in the past century. An extensive green area stretches on a long strip where the trains used to interchange the rails closed by older warehouses with no architectural value.
Five hundred meters further north, the Uruguayan Railways Company builded a new main station in the beginning of the 2000, supplying the national rail traffic. Close to it, there’s the Telecommunication Center Antel, a contemporary complex designed by the architect Carlos Ott, with a 157 meters high building, trying to being a new reference point for the city’s skyline.
All this elements are confined into the colonial grid of the city, within the rackety harbor and fast street on the West, the old city center on the South, and the neighborhood “La Aguada” that is still waiting for a renovation.
Rethinking a new part of the city is not a question of single or strong gestures, it is about a complete understanding of the spirit of the area; for this reason the project believes in an interconnection between the urbanistic vision and the human scale.
The general composition addresses the landscape, the ground is the first generator of new possibilities, the strongest connection between the old artefact and the new contemporary complex.
Starting from the idea of the “plan libre”, we designed a park able to create gathering points under the linear structure of the university building.
The corps of the school follow the idea of straightness but the split in two axes creates a space in-between, who wants to be the main street of the campus, the “Avenida”, where the university’s life reflects itself. The interior space resumes the same idea, becoming the generator of a clear distribution: so the east side is about aggregation, the west side is where the students can studying and working.
The refurbishment of the station coexists with the new scholastic function but the integration wants to eliminate the first floor of both wing, while the insertion of a series of volumes fits to artistic workshops and special classrooms.
Who influences you graphically?
We are constantly drowned by tons of graphical clues on the internet, books and architecture magazines, so the answer is not easy. We could say we are interested in a clear and easy graphic language, to set a critical relationship between us and the audience who must understand the drawings, including a bunch of information you can’t explain with words.
Our graphic references are related to the work of Bureau Bas Smets for the urbanistic part, and offices likes OMMX, OFFICE KGDVS, FELT for the use of the images.
How does the graphic language of the images relate and reflect the proposal/spirit of the area?
The project’s site is part of a Latin American reality which is stuck since the radical transformations happened during the urbanistic revolution at the end of the XIX century.
A slow and constant decay made possible that a place with a huge potential urban development lost his qualities in terms of social renovation.
The spirit of our drawings is the exactly opposite to what we perceived in the area: from the beginning our intention was to give the city back its credit and beauty, and this is what these images are trying to convey, a radical change in the social and urban conditions of Montevideo.
What dictated the choice of views and drawings you reveal your proposal through?
The representation choice is weighted and was born from the desire to tell a story that follows chapters and reflects our decisions.
Central perspective views provide a wide range frame and prove the strong link between the “plan libre” of the park and the university.
You explore your proposal through all means of representation, do you trust that only like this is it possible to fully convey a project?
Yes, exploring the project with different typologies of representations was one of our first design choices, and it comes with the will to explore the project in all the architectural scales.
We believe this is the natural way to explain the proposal in detail for its considerable complexity; we don’t exclude the possibility that a single method of representation can be equally effective, but probably wouldn’t been able to demonstrate the strength of our project.
How could an animation bring to life the vibrant intervention where the drawings seek to do so?
Because it is closer to a possible and conceivable reality, leading an emotional charge that often a render fails to convey
Filippo Edoni and Samuele Xompero, graduated from the School of Architecture of Venice in 2013. Diploma in Architecture Construction and Preservetion at the University of Venice in 2016.