Abstract is a terrazzo concrete that unites the precious and the mundane.
The white concrete mixture contains fragments of several types of marble, as in the best tradition of this flooring, historically considered elegant and refined. Such minerals are combined with scraps of different nature. Brass bars and glass fragments add reflective power and transparency, making Abstract a reused material that combines everyday objects with precious stones.
This material can be seen as an urban fossil, where each fragment has specific characteristics, different geographical origins and a story to tell.
Abstract becomes a mineral anthology, where each piece witnesses an equally important point of view: from marble to broken glasses.
The mining heritage of the site is both visible in the geography of the area and in the low air quality: the site lies in the Black Triangle, one of the most polluted area in Europe.
Confronted by the ambiguity of the current lake contour, which is not natural, nor artificial, our design -defined by a rectangular geometry- overlaps with the existing coastline defining a new clear shape.
The project defines a highly flexible recreation-oriented system of paths and piers, from which – the Red Rectangle – unfolds.
The Rectangle organises the flows of pedestrians and cyclists enhancing the experience of nature while proposing a design that embeds the persuasive power of a logo. Lake Milada will be reconnected to the region and to the mining heritage of the area, while standing out as a unique entity, both symbolically and formally.
The goal is to transform vulnerabilities into opportunities: not only can nature-based tourism be expanded and diversified, but also the post-mining condition can be turned into an opportunity. The Red Triangle is a framework where best practices of post-mining remediation are displayed, nature based solutions are used as performative tools creating a new link between heritage with ecology.
Shenzhen Terraces, is a new part of the city, that will form the core of the thriving university neighbourhood in Universiade New Town, Longgang District, Shenzhen, acting as a new three-dimensional urban living room. The 101,300-square-metre, mixed-use development for the Shimao ShenKong International Centre contains more than 20 programs, including a small gallery, library, and outdoor theatre.
Shenzhen Terraces aims to bring vitality and innovation to the area through a seamless integration of landscape, leisure, commerce, and culture. Located in the heart of the Longgang district at the meeting point of high-rise housing, commercial complexes, and sports and educational facilities, the site is ideally located to serve as a defining public space within the region.
The central concept of Shenzhen Terraces is to merge the existing landscape with the new development by using stacked plateaus for its various buildings. The predominantly horizontal lines of the terraces contrast with the vertical lines of the surrounding high-rises to bring about a sense of tranquillity through their slow curving shapes.
Shenzhen is a metropolis defined by hills of lush vegetation. The topography of the city has allowed the presence of a number of ecological cores which act as islands. The design of the landscape is inspired by such green pockets, overgrown with multi-layered sub-tropical vegetation. Different pebbles compose a design that showcases and enhances local biodiversity, while offering a variety of open space programmatic opportunities.
The definition of the planting species has been led by a research aimed to re-propose the sub-tropical forest typology, bringing wild nature into the plot with several lush pockets which will contribute to make Shenzhen a city where naturare percolates, fostering a sharper encounter between the city and the wilderness.
Bringing wild nature into the plot with several lush pockets will contribute to make Shenzhen a city where naturare percolates, fostering a sharper encounter between the city and the wilderness.
The “Parco del Ponte” is not a single park: the park is made up of five distinct parks that alternate and intertwine, responding to the articulated complexity of Polcevera Valley. The project responds to the different -rather conflicting- identities of the valley, proactively avoiding any forced simplification which wouldn’t pay respect to the multiple souls of the site and the city. The community, the river, the industry, the railway and the hills are the elements that emerge as layers of a juxtapose palimpsest of a valley that has been and -must continue to be- one of the main driving forces of a city that seeks re-birth.
The “Parco del Ponte” is a large-scale urban strategy that proposes to intervene in the urban fabric with micro-interventions in order to generate a new urban structure centered around public space and ecology.
A thoughtful approach that addresses a bottom-up multi-folded strategy which complements the necessary top down approach of the infrastructural reality of the valley.
The project responds to the different -rather conflicting- identities of the valley, proactively avoiding any forced simplification which wouldn’t pay respect to the multiple souls of the site and the city
The project doesn’t challenge nor mimic the large-scale infrastructure of the new bridge but -rather, it looks downwards at the intimate human scale of the district life
The “Parco del Ponte” are an opportunity to consolidate a fragile territory by stabilizing hilly slopes, reducing river flood hazard and reclaiming a soil that has been polluted by the presence of over a century of massive industrial production.
The “Parco del Ponte” has the potential to revive the industrial identity by directing it towards small and medium-sized high-tech companies and thus catalyze the many research realities present in the territory.
Central Parks are green islands within cities, where a natural landscape contrasts with the surrounding urban setting. Such contrast -we believe- is where the quality lies and the limit between Park and City is where the transition can be more dramatically experienced. Our proposal for Central Park Kaliningrad, is an “Island in an Island”, where the insular identity of the park is maximized by digging a new canal, transforming the edge in a new rich and diverse urban experience.
Oktyabrsky island, is a partially artificial land which demanded massive investment to be realized. The project of the Park aims to be sustainable both financially and technically. The excavated land from the perimetrical canal, is reused in order to form landforms, unique symbols of the future park. The current acid soil, is diversified (by adding layers of alkaline one) in order to create a neutral and basic soils, in addition to the acid one. The resulting landscapes will follow the soil chemical composition avoiding a mere top-down, neo-pastoral approach but, rather generating a park genuinely part of the site ecosystem.
The urgency of the changing climate, alongside a new understanding of human responsibility, lead the project to be based on one of the main natural resources: soil. The varying acidity of the different layers provide the conditions for different habitats responding to the ground conditions, rather that recreating a fictitious scenography.
Our project takes the quality of the transition and multiply it by three. The transition becomes here not only a separation between city and park but, through the digging of a canal and the formation of an island, the edge becomes simultaneously city, waterfront, canal and park.
Bridges are not meant as simple infrastructures, but they are public spaces able to intercept the different target groups of Kaliningrad. The 4 main bridges (Cloud, Net, Triple, Smart) create the ground for specific social practices and recreational activities, while becoming new landmarks of accessibility.
Oktyabrsky island, is a partially artificial land which demanded massive investment to be realized. The project of the Park aims to be sustainable both financially and technically. The excavated land from the perimetrical canal, is reused in order to form a hill, unique symbol of the future park.
Located amid Lagodekhi Natural Reserve in eastern Georgia, the Tree Top Trail is meant to maximize the experience of nature, intended as -in the words of David Attenborough, “the greatest source of excitement, beauty and intellectual interest”. The trail, takes advantage of the topography in order to avoid the use of an elevator. The access point is located on a higher point of the uneven terrain and, from there, it ramps up to reach greater heights, gradually showcasing the forest as a vertical ecosystem.
Its defining circular shape, sharply contrasts with the forms of nature, avoiding any simplistic mimic; furthermore, the trail trajectory is always curving, constantly disappearing within the forest canopy, generating a desire to discover the forest, step by step.
Three main attractions are placed within the trail: a copper sphere which functions as a multimedia room for 360 degrees’ projections, a large net, for visitors to lay or play and a panoramic tower which allows a view over the forest, and integrates a half-spiral staircase to exit, as an alternative to walking back through the long ramp of the trail.
The columns of the structure are organized in clusters, abstract simplifications representing group of trees in the forest and are made from cor-ten steel. In total there are 17 column clusters that support the trail and the additional elements.
“Into the Forest”, has been awarded by World Landscape Architecture, with the “Award of Excellence”.
“The installation confronts the phenomena of climate tropicalisation and its catastrophic effects on the environment, by recreating a portion of post-apocalyptic landscape (using leftovers trunks of paper production-chain). Climate change is real, action is urgent.”
Kaliningrad is a city defined by a long and complex history: the palimpsest of the different trances of the past have been –for the most part- erased by the World War. Nevertheless, the project site is one of the few parts of the city that have survived, and is currently witness the different epochs that the city has gone through; the upper and lower pond of Teutonic’s Knights, the military defense infrastructures of the Prussians and the Soviet public park. Despite its cultural relevance, the park has been left abandoned for decades, and the historical infrastructures have turned into ruins.
“Revealing Geometries” takes shape physically and conceptually, from the fact that ruins can become –as a radical form of preservation- the matrix for a new identity, and similarly, untamed nature the matrix for a rich natural ecosystem. The recognition of the site as a form of archeological park – gives the opportunity to secure in time and space the traces of the past, transforming them into a new cultural/education infrastructure at public disposal.
While radical preservation defines the general approach, two design actions are re-defining the park(s): (1) retracing the former path system of the Prussian’s Wallpromeade and (2) defining new geometries that can enhance the rich cultural/environmental context of the area while hosting new programmatic opportunities.
The geometrical spatial definition of the “devices” -responding to the military defense infrastructure and Prussian landscape gardening design language- overlaps with the parks in seven different locations. They are as intensive design interventions centered around the main features of the site (water, ruins, topography, etc.); they are program-less objects that create the conditions for temporary occupation, while permanently highlighting the cultural and environmental diversity of the park, and more broadly, of the ring to-come.
The park is in-fact a system of 2 parks defined by autonomous identities: Kashtanovy Park and Litovsky Park, tight together by a comprehensive strategy. It bears the potential of rethinking the former ring as a whole: a new infrastructure that can host social and ecological interaction, while bringing back the historical layers as evidences to pass-on to future generations.
Openfabric has been selected to design the public spaces of Mantova city center in occasion of the first World Forum on Urban Forest (WFUF 2018) by FAO. The aim of the design is to engage with the two different levels of the forum: the academic one and the broad public. The project wants to critically represent a number of forest typologies rising both awareness on the importance of nature in urban environments and on the dramatic effects of climate change. Through the tools of ambiguity, juxtaposition, aesthetics and discomfort, Into the Forest aims to challenge the perception of nature and aspires to be adopted by cities, globally.
“Fallen Forest” is a memorial for the millions of trees victims of the cyclone that hit the North-Eastern regions of Italy on November 2nd, 2018. The installation confronts the phenomena of climate tropicalisation and its catastrophic effects on the environment, by recreating a portion of post-apocalyptic landscape. Climate change is real, action is urgent.
The Mediterranean sclerophyllous evergreen oak forest shapes the character of Mediterranean landscapes with a wide variety of formations and structures, according to climate, soil, and anthropogenic conditions. The dominant tree species are Quercus ilex, Quercus rotundifolia, Quercus suber, Laurus nobilis and Arbutus unedo, the latter two having rather often a shrub growth form. The evergreen oak woodlands have been a strategic resource along the history of human societies in the region, providing direct and indirect goods and benefits, as fuelwood, cork, food and fodder, timber, shelter. They range from sea level up to 800-900 a.s.l. and the tree and shrub species are generally very well drought- and fire-adapted.
The “Native Forest” recalls a fragment of the ancient forest formations widely covering the Po Valley (Pianura Padana) before the massive transformation to agriculture and urban land cover. In fact large part of Northern Italy was very likely covered by lowlands forests dominated by Quercus spp. and Carpinus betulus, referring to Sub-Atlantic and medio-European oak or oak-hornbeam forests of the Carpinion betuli, as classified by the European manual of habitats. The forests currently survive only in few, small patches, protected as nature reserves. The lowlands forests, although almost disappeared, should be considered for their strategic environmental value, as an intangible heritage of natural and cultural capital of local communities.
The “Parco della Reggia di Rivalta” although its empty appearance, is a ground that has been occupied by several functions over time: it has been administrated by several owners, and it has gone through both splendor and decay. In the public imaginary, the park is associated with the garden realized in the first half of the 18th century –now lost- where the reference to Versailles Garden was sharp and recognizable. Yet, the site has been witnessing a number of histories and not just one.
The plurality of the past traces become main ingredients of the design, a palimpsest which doesn’t give priority only to the historical garden, but also refers to the different epochs, including its rural past and its current use as a public park.
A perimetral boulevard hosts a number of ‘design intensities’ while assuring a complete accessibility of the site. The boulevard creates a frame that defines a inner rural park: agricultural land is here rendered accessible by diagonal paths, that refer to both the enlighten landscape design principles as much as to the agricultural pattern of the region.
The park becomes a platform for several programmatic scenarios, from local ones to national or even international events. The park aims to bridge the gap between conservation and change, reinterpreting the traces of the past in a contemporary park able to respond to the local yet global identity of Reggio Emilia.
Openfabric has been shortlisted, alongside Fresh Architectures and OBR, to proceed to final stage of Reinventing Cities competition, for the site of “Serio”, Milan, located at walking distance from Fondazione Prada.
Reinventing Cities is an unprecedented global competition organized by the C40 to drive carbon neutral and resilient urban regeneration.
Together 19 cities have identified 49 underutilized spaces, rapidly available for redevelopment.
We have been selected to design the public spaces of city center Mantova (Italy) in the occasion of the “First World Forum on Urban Forests 2018”. The Forum is promoted by FAO and organized with the support of Comune di Mantova, Politecnico di Milano and Sisef, and will be held from November 28th to December 1st 2018. The goal of the event is to bring together a great number of international experts from different disciplines and backgrounds to discuss how to make cities greener, healthier and happier places.
“Altitudes” is a rural strategy for the Selva Central region in Peru. The region is in a unique geographical condition, being simultaneously part of the Andes mountain range and also the Amazon river basin. The region is defined by the extensive production of coffee, around which the local economy is completely reliant. The urge for a spatial vision is enhanced by the changing climate: because of rising temperatures the agricultural landscape is a ‘migrating’ one. In-fact, producers are moving the coffee plantations uphill, whilst – in lower altitudes – former productive areas are rendered vacant and available for future scenarios. As coffee production is defined by specific geographical and environmental conditions, the study goes beyond the given site-boundaries and elaborates on a global condition: the condition of resource extraction.
The aim of ‘Altitudes’ is to reorganise a currently inefficient coffee production chain, demonstrating the touristic potential of the area, whilst creating the conditions for the region to move beyond the monoculture of coffee and its fragile single-commodity economy. The economy of coffee is extremely volatile – a condition evident in the annual glaring discontinuity of supply and demand – and this imbalance is heightened by the patterns of the changing climate.
The study aims to create the conditions for the region to move beyond the monoculture of coffee and its fragile single-commodity economy
The condition for a mix-polyculture can be created through enhancing the vertical economy of the “Selva”. Whilst the coffee shrubs are maintained as an undergrowth layer, new species can be introduced in order to increase the agro-diversity and expand agricultural export opportunities.
The coffee production chain and touristic accessibility is unfolded and re-organised. A new hierarchy is given to the distribution and processing infrastructure which is now defined in 3 steps: the producers, coffee collection facilities and the cooperatives. Furthermore, circularities are highlighted such as the production of energy from solid waste, new marketable by-products and compost to feed back to producers.
We are happy to share that we have been commissioned to design the City Wall Park of Kaliningrad, Russia. The Walls are one of the few parts of the city that have survived the war. Constructed by the Prussian in the 19th century, when the city was called Königsberg, they have become one of the main public spaces of the city during the soviet period, before falling in the current state of decay.
Kaliningrad is now undergoing a period of change, centered around public spaces. Other project areas have been currently commissioned, under the same program, to offices such as Topotek 1, West 8, De Urbanisten, Oasi Architects.
The “Theatre of Wonders” is a form of public space where the “audience” become the active part of the play, and where functions become performances. The ambition is to give a new –horizontal- landmark to Moscow celebrating its users and the vibrant life that it hosts, while aligning to the experimental tradition of Gorky Park, since the 1923 Exhibition.
Our Pushkinskaya embankment proposal, enhances the connection with Gorky Park, becoming its mineral counterpart: a space for organized and occasional events and performances of varying scales.
The “Theatre of Wonders” aims in-fact to rebalance the ratio between leisure and culture, reinforcing the latter, by re-interpreting the original principles of CPKIO (Central Park of Leisure and Culture).
On the central part of the embankment, an extended and light metal structure is located. The Frame is the infrastructure that integrates scenographic lighting typologies, creating dramatic effects in night time, while reducing the need of temporary structures for events, and therefore limiting the disruptive logistics of the assembly/disassembly.
The Frame creates a new horizontal surface where, besides the lighting, objects as art installations can be hung, giving extra space for exhibitions and products showcase.
Zhangjiang Future Park will become a new focal point for Pudong with communal public facilities combining nature, culture and entertainment with green landscaped buildings and a public park blending into its surrounding.
Located in Pudong, Shanghai, Zhangjiang Future Park is part of a high-technology and innovation district for both national and international companies hosting over 100,000 workers. Aside from being a business and industrial park, the area provides residences for workers and their families who live nearby. The competition-winning design combines 10,000m2 of public plazas and 37,000m2 of four distinct venues – a library, an art centre, a performance centre and a sports centre. Furthermore, 56,000m2 of public park will be created which blends in and draws from the natural green surrounding landscapes.
The four distinct buildings are at the heart of this development and offer within walking distance an array of cultural and entertainment facilities. They all have activated roofs forming an elevated area connected together with pedestrianized bridges, acting as a second city layer that provides views of the river and neighborhood and picnic areas. The design proposes a recognizable collection of buildings that emerge seemingly like silhouetted cracks in the landscape and provide different perspectives depending on where one is located on the site. The green roofs program not only offers a lively and biodiverse park program integrated into the building’s function but they provide sustainable benefits including stormwater drainage, cleaner air, noise reduction and energy savings due to thermal insulation.
“Caporalato” is a system of illegal recruitment of agricultural workers, diffuse in Italy and elsewhere. Although is relatively little known phenomenon, it is extensively diffuse and integral part of the food chain of several Italian products, some of which are considered excellence and exported all ‘over Europe.
“Emergent Farm” proposal takes shape from the assumption that “Caporalato” is a form of slavery that should, with multilateral efforts, supplanted with legal forms of organization of agricultural labor. Although “Emergent Farm” can not intervene on the endemic causes of “Caporalato”, it can contribute to the formalization of seasonal settlements by proposing a new model of agricultural complex. Emergent Farm is a legal, flexible and integrated alternative to the current condition; its aim is to become a speculative tool, in contrast with the “diffuse-slum” condition.
Caporalato is a illegal system of recruitment of agricultural workers; it’s extensively diffuse and integral part of the food chain of several Italian agro-produces, some of which are considered excellence and exported all ‘over Europe
The different illegal settlements spread in the Italian countryside respond to three typologies: 1. the Slum (made of temporary shacks), 2. the pulviscular slum (occupation of old rural complexes), 3. The greenhouse system (where accommodation are embedded in the greenhouse areas)
“Emergent Farm” proposal takes shape from the assumption that “Caporalato” is a form of slavery that should, with multilateral efforts, supplanted with legal forms of organization of agricultural labor. Although “Emergent Farm” can not intervene on the endemic causes of “Caporalato”, it can contribute to the formalization of seasonal settlements by proposing a new model of agricultural complex. Emergent Farm can become a legal, flexible and integrated alternative to the current condition; its aim is to become a speculative tool, in contrast with the “diffuse-slum” condition.
A linear shed works as a shading element, collecting rainwater and producing solar energy. Temporary wooden modules can be built and dismantled according to seasonal needs and, a large central vegetable garden foster self-sustainability and creates the conditions for a new sense of rural community. This structure can be linked to traditional abandoned buildings that can become markets for locally harvested products.
Emergent Farm is a flexible and integrated alternative to the current condition; its aim is to become a speculative tool, in contrast with the “diffuse-slum” condition.
Het Breed is a modernist neighbourhood defined by rational residential blocks, 5 stories with ‘streets in the sky’ in Amsterdam North designed by the architect Frans Van Gool in 1963.
Our proposal ‘Gridgrounds’ creates an elongated public square of 88m x 17m, stretched across the central space so all paths converge here defining a new center for the neighbourhood. The asphalt square is based upon the original neighbourhood grid and the grid is made visual and tangible through the white marking lines running through the space. At the points of the grid we placed different play elements in-spired by the modernist playgrounds of Aldo van Eyck in Amsterdam. To create coherence all objects are painted Breedveld orange and blue, two colours that have been used in a recent renovation of the adjacent buildings. Through the cohesion of the colour, each object achieves a new identity, independent works that collectively form an open-air museum of play elements.
The austerity and monotony of the context is broken by the new playscape while employing the same ele-ments and the layout of the Van Gool plan.
The square is framed by the grid of plane trees and grass and planting along the sides, the rectilinear form is punctured at three points by two green circles (active play space developed with local schools and pas-sive green space that acts as a sustainable drainage point) and a rectangular multifunctional sports court.
Given the very limited budget we chose to focus on primarily creating a good functioning public space, a meeting point for all residents at the centre of the neighbourhood. The careful placement of the elements creates different gathering points for groups big or small. Our material palette takes inspiration from road infrastructure, considerably cheaper than usual open space design materials, asphalt surfaces, white road marking lines and “traffic orange” (Ral 2009) and “traffic blue” (Ral 5017) colours. Colourful landmarks make the space identifiable from a distance, an important factor in children’s spatial awareness.
The low cost materials don’t compromise the quality of the space and the range of possible activities, but rather –here in Breedveld- create a solid and durable playscape that can be use in many unpredictable ways by the many visitors, with a relatively limited economical investment.
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