The Stripe of Density
Elena Andonova, Natali Micevska, Hristina Mijalcheva & Marijana Kovachki @ Faculty of Architecture, Skopje University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, as part of the Patterns of Growth Studio: Unnatural Ecologies, tutors: Marija Mano Velevska, Slobodan Velevski, Nikola Gorgievski
The Patterns of Growth: Unnatural Ecologies explores the relation of the contemporary city, its infrastructure and landscape. It followed the phenomenon of the urban as an artificial product, testing the need of its recontextualization back into nature. As a result the project THE STRIPE OF DENSITY created a contradictory but also a functional model of an unnatural ecology that confirms the clashing characters of the natural and unnatural in an unique wholeness via the spatial idea for the northeast edge of the city of Skopje.
Скопје.The city continiues to expand until it connects two populated places. When it does, its expansion continiues in the opposite direction. But once the type is securely placed, the anti-type easilly follows i.e. a new society that is transformable in respect to the site and conditions it is in, where nothing is permanent, and its value is solely in connection with the landscape. In the speculative 6kmx6km map the strips that would bring order are implied much like Koolhaas’ Manhattan, while the 1kmx1km resembles his Cooney Island research.
The stripe of Density is the urban growth that connects the two suburban settlements and thus offering an organised, planned metabolistic expansion. This hipothetical master program isnt repetitive throughout the whole diagonal because it clashes with different context, and various antropogeographical characteristics of the site. In the center of the map we set realistic scenarios of functions and happenings. The concept of the anti-type is repetitive, but with a programatic indeterminacy that leaves options for further development. In the center of the diagonal stripe lies a heterogenous density of city and landscape, at the same time keeping the feel of the metropolitan experience and the sense of nature intact. A plethora of city programs and functions- temporary living,administrative buildings,recreational spaces, swimming pools as part of the existing lakes, market hall, plaza on the border of the urban and the wasteland, hotels,resaturants,manufactures, coworking spaces and start-ups is the strategy by which the metropolitan experience is enriched, a concept that is an open model for the unstable city’s borders.
The experience of the urban is in the perception of the city as a space of contradictoriness, programatic cohesions that contribute for a bigger urban mix, making the city a new social condenser that is much more that the simple encounter of the buil
Who influences you graphically?
It would not be easy to separate all the influences that gave the final representation of our project. Starting from the metabolistic influences on the local architecture scene, we continued on drawing a parallel with several worldwide known architectural projects from the same period. Along the process our drawings became more and more influenced by the works of OMA, Andrea Branzi, Dogma’s works of Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattaraetc. As an addition a great impact on the final result was gotten from LCLA Office, with whom we also had a chance to work and consult along the process. We would define the final graphical representation as a style that has a hint of Japanese purity and European punctuality.
In addition to Koolhaas’ New York, what the projects, research did you look at when developing the thesis?
We were strongly influenced by Skopje’s masterplan from 1963, where after the devastating earthquake that wiped the whole city, Skopje was rebuilt largely according to a master plan by Kenzo Tange, and his metabolistic design methodology. Furthermore, Branzi’s weak and diffused modernity, where he examines how transformations in the concept of modernity have changed project strategies following new territorial and social developments, and finally Kenneth Frampton’s megaform as urban landscape.
What lead you to the centre Pompidou?
The centre Pompidou is part of an assignment we made in the first stage of the project. “Object as Formation” was a task through which we had to recognize the spatial potentials of an architectonic gesture and its place in the wider context through the concepts of Fumihiko Maki and his Investigation in Collective Form. The centre Pompidou was an example with which we made a parallel with a similar architecture formation from our local scene, such as the City Trade Centre by Zivko Popovski, located in Skopje. These two examples were examined by the аct of reprogramming and recontextualization. The Centre Pompidou as an extroverted volume taught us the importance of contextual communication and the relations between the built forms.
What defined the language of representation of the project? What role do the classic orthogonal projections as the plan and section hold in relation to the perspective views?
The purity and stoicism of the plan and section in contrast to the playfulness of the views were used to transcribe that order can exist in the urban density and its performances.
What were the main objectives when constructing the views? What were these supposed to show /convey?
Our views were constructed to show a sequence of the reality that resides in the Stripe of Density and to emphasize the quality of space to the viewer. We chose the central perspective so that the viewer can immerse her/himself as much as possible in this reality as well as to give equal importance to the landscape and the built form. The main idea was to show an architecture of congestion at all levels, which inspires and encourages the formation of social linkages that together create a new cultural context, an urban expansion that creates spaces for testing ideas as social experiments.
What drew you to the site of Skopje?
Skopje is a never-ending laboratory of architectural and urban explorations. The layering of antic, Byzantine, Ottoman, Modern, Metabolistic, Contemporary etc. architecture and urbanism will never cease to surprise and amaze architects. Also the growing problem of the uncontrolled urban sprawl and the ignorance of the city’s edges was seen by our team as a design challenge both on an urban and architectural scale.
What is your take on the contemporary state of these megacities?
Megacities as they are today, scarcely controlled in terms of urban growth and density will surely collapse on themselves if immediate action is not taken to establish control on the said above urban parameters. We need to learn to respect and work with the surrounding landscape. Density explains the contemporary metropolitan way of life, urban activities that are un-static, overlapping and mutating. Therefore, the strategy is to predict a potential space for eternal variables and unpredictable activities that combine architectural specificity with program indeterminacy and see it as a contributing factor in urban planning rather than just a piece of wasteland to build on. Following the thoughts of Renzo Piano – “The big topic of today and of the next twenty years will be peripheries. How you can transform peripheries into a town. Peripheries are the city that will be. Or not. Or will never be. ”