We move through cities fragmented by different speeds, where quality of its public space surface is less of a priority. Reminiscence of a time where people used to go for a walk, cycling was an option only for the wealthy and traveling by train a social event.
Beyond restricted parking areas and traffic jams, we answer in everlasting movement powered by the sun (either after digesting some tapas or charging the battery). There comes a day when we run out of petrol and we don’t even realize.
The commuter is not someone worried about pollution, a contra-system either. It’s owner of his time; curator of what’s beautiful and efficient. She decides to win back an hour of each day. There is no parking in IKEA, the self-driving car will go to pick up the next user. He ordered a custom-made bicycle – as his suit.
They send postcards from the “Commuters Club” wagon. She doesn’t need to wear a cycling kit. There are showers in the office and in the wagon attached to the bike one. H&M, Cycle Me Home, Levi’s or Versace work with fabrics according the new movement. Many go out to the streets with this pijama that would be a pity if no one else would see.
The ones who take the train: invest the commuting time on dressing up, taking a haircut or reading while having something to drink in this itinerant space whose interior changes – to become another hall to the city – when it starts to be monotonous.
Pendulum movement of the after work/virtual reality. Anything could be under demand at cruising speed.
Madrid city hall starts a dissuasive campaign against the use of pijama in public – as Shanghai did during their Olympic games – which is nothing but a sign of its habitats understanding the street as an extension of their houses.
The Green Wave. Positive perception of distances for the ones who move at 20 km per hour, as they discover a green light sequence in the main venues of the metropolis at rush hour.
Buffer space. We draft a bike lane on each way of the inner city’s main roads. They become cycle highways. The thickness of a continuous line enables us to play with city’s topography.
Crosswalk. The firsts to restart are vehicles without motor. The new road plan affects sidewalks creating an atmosphere for exchange.
Interference. Empathy between people who doesn’t stop being nomads at their own city will bring down reckless overtaking. Impartial videocameras at intersections report the facts to the authorities under request.
Who influences you graphically?
While I was working on VELOTOPIA, I could enjoy few evenings around Constant’s New Babylon at Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid).
What prompted the project?
In 2016 cities air quality was a hot topic. I remember some projects which aimed to clean it, but the most feasible – in my opinion – would be cutting pollution/congestion sources from the root by updating city’s floorplan to current technology and life pace. And what’s more important: making the choice easier and cheaper, so smarter.
Could you define your perception of contemporary speed?
We move through cities fragmented by different speeds. Noise and interferences related to it, disappear with electric motor and the right gradation of velocities.
Nowadays I think it’s more about a positive perception of distances. “The Green wave” is an example: people moving at 20km per hour get a continuum feeling, as at this pace they cross a sequence of green lights in the main roads of the metropolis at rush hour.
What defined the language of the representation of the Project?
The aim was to cross CAD files with architectural representation techniques not taught at schools anymore, as an attempt to preserve them.
The approach of this urban plan had something to do with landscaping, I just didn’t want to mention green. Cyanotypes, also called blueprints – which I first saw on botanical books -, turned out to be a way to produce affordable posters without a printer.
Could you talk us though the development of the Project in relation to the production of images?
I made the research on the technique and gathered the materials (ferric ammonium citrate, potassium ferricyanide, distilled water, oxygenated water, glass frame, watercolor paper) at the same time I was making the drawings.
First I converted free 3D bicycles models from Bikecad in 2D and drew the rest of the plans on CAD. Then printed the matrix plans on transparent acetates – sometimes I drew over them with permanent pen-. What follows was done in a bathroom without natural light, otherwise it would activate the reaction and you wouldn’t get good contrast.
Once the chemicals are mixed it’s time for coating the papers with a flat brush, as if it was the base of a watercolor. You should be able to see a yellowish layer which will turn a little darker once it’s dry. Later on, you place one of the acetate matrix over the coated papers and press it with a glass, so the light doesn’t react under the lines of the drawing – that’s why they remain white -. Before you leave the darkroom, place the project inside a dark folder which should only be opened outdoors, when you want to start the exposure.
As it was the beginning of Madrid summer, it didn’t took more than 20 min. of direct sun exposure for each DIN A2 panel.
I had some extra hands to help. Meanwhile one was checking how the coating reacts turning the print brownish, the other was developing the previous panel.
For this purpose you soak the paper on a water bath mixed with some oxygenated water. You will see how the “burnt” area wash off showing the blueprint, while the lines that didn’t react remain white.
What is your take on the contemporary state of architectural drawing?
Plans and simple axonometric out of the 3D model, and conceptual photomontage over renders. Documents for assemble on the IKEA’s way.
How important are the classic orthogonal projection as the plan?
BIM as project tool for the studio and orthogonal projections on the construction site. Out there it’s a reliable way to communicate the project and take measurements, as doesn’t require much energy or complex tools.
Do you see this approach developing further?
Generic City’s problem is not the car – the bicycle or the gun – , but the animal based on custom.
Velotopia doesn’t exist anymore. It’s the ludic space of people raised at different speeds, who know how to enjoy them all.