The Typological Remix
The city is always caught between the need of mixing and the desire for exclusivity. The representation of this paradox is the conflict between the enclaves and the field – an infinite space of architectural conditions punctuated by dense moments of congestion. We propose to see Curitiba not as a metropolis, but as the megalopolis it is: from its design of centralities to the creation of islands of high density amidst a sea of generic spaces.
By questioning what makes a centrality a desirable spot, we face ourselves with the meaning of public space: what are its forms? Is an architectural element public? Through typological classifications, we can redesign the urban space, remixing existing types – generic by nature – in a specific manner, using architecture as the construction of new spatial forms, and in many senses, public.
The image we have of the city today does not correspond to the city we are building. The polinuclear development model, by “centralities”, imitates the typological development of the megalopolis (in opposition to the unique centre of the metropolis), creating the relationship between dense structured cores and the sprawl, interstitial urban spaces. The contemporary city – the megalopolis – arises from an emergent, bottom-up process, from a self-structuring logic – the (mega)block as the organizational element of the urban form. By ignoring this logic, when we project the forms of the building – we have as a result the residual junkspace. We keep designing using logics of form, while in reality, the urban condition is guided by the logic of space.
We propose a megalopolitan Curitiba designed by hybrids composed from the relationship between form and space. To design from the question: how the (architectural, secondary) form can generate the (urban, primary) space? How the developments of urban form in questions like density, program, typology, etc. can influence the urban space?
Through the creation of a catalogue of urban strategies, organized from the analysis of different architectural strategies present in canonical buildings in other contexts – and from the point of view of the many spheres of the being public – we propose an architectonic process based on the typological remix, in which new hybrid typologies not only generates the form of the building, but the urban space – in a collective and public manner. An attitude both/and, inclusive, instead of the reductive either/or . This space is defined as much by history, politics, economy as by the discipline of architecture – factors that generate the form as well are created by it – and make up the catalogue of strategies.
As a hypothesis, we proposed a critical intervention on the new Carmo Centrality defined by the city’s masterplan, a space identified by our research where only the conventional process would not be enough to create new possibilities of events. By applying out catalogue of strategies in buildings believed to be public, but that waste the potential of their collectivity by becoming buildings closed in themselves, we propose a typological correction, when old architectural forms can create new urban spaces.
*This project was presented as part of the exhibition Arquitetura para Curitiba, Expo2017 at the Museu Municipal de Arte in Curitiba, May-Aug. 2017 – www.arquiteturaparacuritiba.com
The argument was developed based solely on one drawing for the proposal (and a few for the diagnosis/analysis) and the model – meaning that not only did the studio have to be precise on the design concept as well as advance an argument through the architectural representation (for example, “remixing” existing people from Rem’s La Villette in our own park proposal).
Who influences you graphically?
I think that the idea of understanding different approaches to different narratives is a key concept of how we develop our output. In our office we have laying around mostly drawings from 20’s soviet architects, like Ivan Leonidov and Konstantin Melnikov, as well as their development and use in people like Stirling, Eisenman, Tschumi and Koolhaas.
Also some contemporary architects such as MOS and Bureau Spectacular are frequently checked for their use of color and detailing. Another interesting influence comes from design agencies like Pentagram and 2×4 with their use of narrative.
What is your take on the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?
The axonometric for us is the most interesting drawing for it releases the pressure of the authorship – for example in mechanical drawings where what matters is the present, measurable time. We try to empty the drawing of preconceived content to put it into a larger timeline, where we can focus on the essential aspects of the typological object, that can in turn be used within the project as a form of agency of the architectural process, by remixing it into other stories. The possibility to keep the object distortion-less can free us to deform the context surrounding it.
What defined the method of representation of the proposal? What lead you to focus on one specific drawing?
The first problem was the context: the exhibition asked us to use only two boards and a model to present our project, so we decided early on to use this constrain as a guiding principle for the drawings, and pack the largest amount of information with the least (visual) effort possible. We were inspired by Neutelings Riedijk cartoons and their text on Laziness, where simple constrain/inputs can have a large array of meanings. Due to that, we repeated the axonometric drawings for our catalogue of precedents, erasing specificities like materials, context, scale, etc. and focusing on their essential type.
Later we replicated this logic to the drawing of the proposal – by using uniform line weight and colors, we could create a dialogue with the precedents and our future proposal – while subverting it when we used the very sketchy people to create the possible events that animate the spaces (we even used OMA’s drawing from the La Villette proposal as our own, remixing the typology not only of objects as well as subjects).
What is your take on colour?
We believe that color is a fundamental part of the architectural project – not only as a material element but as a picturesque, artificial construction of narratives. We are not embarrassed to try different color compositions throughout our projects, and in this case, we settled for a palette that linked the drawings with the model (blue styrofoam and pink felt), reinforcing the connection between the different media.
How did the model help to explore the proposal differently, what was its objective?
The model was fundamental as a tool to develop the project. It was where we created the spaces after cataloguing and analyzing the precedent typologies in the drawings. We believe that the use of models is fundamental to architecture since it is the only form of representation actually in three dimensions – the concept of time is blurred and we can see a manifold of operations in the model that are much more controlled in the creation of a perspective rendering or a video for that matter, resulting in less “imperfect unexpected potentials”.
We also tried to create different narratives for the model, for example when we turned the bandstand into a string-flying hot-air ballon (an homage to Leonidov/Sergio Bernardes/WorkAC) and put the little model-guy as if proposing for his model-girlfriend.
N8Studio is an architecture and design office based in Curitiba interested in the formal research of contemporary architectural spaces, founded by Humberto Carta (M.Arch candidate UFRGS) and Thiago Maso (MsAAD Columbia GSAPP).