Tag Archive: square

  1. Marconiplein
    Rotterdam | Netherlands

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    Traditionally, transport and public spaces are seen as conflicting systems, notion that has led to strategies oriented in separating mobility flows.
    But conditions are changing. The enhancement of slow mobility, the reduction of vehicular traffic, the technological improvements are leading to a sharp decrease of disturbance from transport sources. New scenarios are possible where vehicular transport and pedestrian areas can be integrated in new qualitative hybrid public spaces.

    Marconiplein is a Mixed-city hub typology: it is not located in the city center nor in the suburbs and can function as connection between the two. Such specific condition can play the role of connecting the adjacent districts together reinforcing the relevance of Marconiplein as a pivotal point, a new center, of the west.

     


    Currently Marconiplein is a large void in contrast with the adjacent districts charachertized by strong identities. The square is a transport-dominated space, defined by large number of mobility infrastructures, intersecting at different levels.
    Above all, Marconiplein is a dike, defending the city -below sea level- from the river fluctuations. Yet, the changing climate, poses a new challenge, as models indicate that the dike height may result insufficient, in the coming decades.

    The proposed vision aims to capitalise the strong and dynamic identities concentrated in the west of Rotterdam, changing the paradigm of Marconplein as a barrier. The need of re-thinbking the dike, is reflected in a new complex infrastructure, where the different neighbourhoods interface with the square in multiple ways. The hidden tridimensional nature of the square is unveiled and transformed into an articulated system of public spaces.

     

     

  2. Desio public spaces
    Desio | Italy

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    The project was opened to the public in Autumn 2020 during the COVID-19 Pandemic, when a large part of Northern Italy was subject to restrictive measures that severely limited the use of public open spaces. Emphasized by the emergency, the project demonstrates the importance and urgent need of active public spaces in local communities. By enhancing the conditions for rarified -yet crucial- encounters, the project creates the much-needed opportunity for basic interactions between people, which are crucial for a healthy urban society.

    Desio is a city located about 10 km north of Milan that has pledged to transform its car-oriented city center into a pedestrian/cyclist-oriented space. Vehicular access has been limited and “30km/h zones” have been established throughout the city. These changes have centered the public space structure around slow mobility.

     

    Our design interventions consists of three public spaces that vary in shapes and sizes, reflecting the complex palimpsest of the Desio historical center. In these pocket spaces, sensitive adoption of traditional pavement materials and patterns strategically blend the design with the rich mineral context, while actively and passively prioritizing pedestrian users over cars.
    Simple design solutions rendered in stone, wood and water avoid a rigid and over-programmed approach by favoring an informal and flexible use of public spaces. Elements such as grand-stands and water-jets function as over-scaled activators of the different spaces, which are conceived as programmable platforms that welcome unexpected encounters.

     

     

  3. Piazzale Loreto
    Milan | Italy

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    The new Loreto is based on 5 strategic and planning actions aimed at deeply reorganising the Piazzale and making it a meeting area for the district, a commercial and pedestrian area and a green junction of the city’s ecological infrastructure.
    1. Vehicle traffic, from central to peripheral. Limit vehicular traffic to the perimeter of the square
    2. From Piazzale to Piazza. An open square at mezzanine level (-3.5m)
    3. Retail: commercial mix and vitality of the square. Program the perimeter of the mezzanine with commercial functions
    4. A Green Ring. An area in continuity with the urban ecological infrastructure affecting the area
    5. The square: sports, game and events. A square for the neighbourhoods, multifunctional and programmable

    The new Loreto will become a hinge, a spatial and programmatic overlap of different identities: a common square shared by the varied population of that portion of Milan, a space of encounter and diversity.

     

     

    Piazzale Loreto will become a “piazza”, a platform for citizens, experienced through a wide range of spontaneous and organised activities

    The new Piazza is created by eliminating part of the current slab, at street level, thus transforming the current mezzanine into an open space at -3.5 meters, defined on the perimeter by a new commercial program.

     

     

     

     

  4. Gridgrounds
    Amsterdam | Netherlands

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    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.

     

     

  5. Into the Wild
    The Hague | Netherlands

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    Play is about finding ones place in the world and making sense of that world. We have created a plan that seeks to juxtapose two different worlds. The man made and the natural. The plan has an urban exterior and a wild natural interior, each space contains a different type of play.

    The formal exterior is a place for sports and structured ordered games, while inside the wild interior children are encouraged and free to construct and destruct their own play spaces using natural materials. A boundary “ribbon” between the two worlds wraps and protects the interior, while adapting towards the exterior to allow games and integrate traditional playground elements. This “ribbon” is the threshold, a place where children learn to move between the natural world and the man made world. The relationship between the man made and natural worlds is the essence of sustainability, forming an understanding of this dialogue through participatory play and creative interaction is an essential childhood experience currently missing in many urban areas.

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    concept

    The Ribbon separates the artificial and paved exterior from the internal natural part. Its shape creates a variety of pockets spaces that can interact with the urban context; it’s 3-dimensional character give to the ribbon extra playful quality, in-fact it can be climbed, crossed with a tunnel or slide, it serves as a sitting element and as a skating grind, and much more.

     

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    In exterior area, lines create the matrix for a playful and active appropriation of the space. Some sport fields are defined, but the lines also create an abstract pattern that can be interpreted and can serve to set new rules and boundaries for new games.

     

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  6. Planting democracy
    Cairo | Egypt

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    Jury report: ‘…the project seizes a vital feature of the site: a connection which goes beyond symbolical geometries and designed boundaries. It’s a landscape proposal with a remarkable botanical report that reminds the earthly garden, the reconciliation place par excellence. The tree is the unit, democracy a garden to look after.’
    Our idea is to give to Tahrir Square the shape of what it represents today and what it can be tomorrow. An icon to the critical role that open spaces play in revolution and post-revolution era. It symbolized the revolt, and now it deserves to symbolize the rebirth of a democratic Egypt. As a new icon and space for interaction New Tahrir has the potential to play a role in consolidating a common cultural-historical background which creates an underlying identity of a community.

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    Forestation is based on a selection of different trees that are relevant in the Egyptian tradition; the result is a sort of green museum, where each plant has its own specific history and symbolic role. The variety of trees aims to represent the wide variety of people who have gathered together during the riots for a common, unique idea.

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    To make Tahrir Square an aggregation space, there is an ineluctable necessity: the creation of shade. During the period of occupation of the square, citizens sought shelter under the few trees present and they erected temporary shading structures. The need is clear: to foster social interaction in the open spaces in Cairo, you must create the conditions for climate comfort.

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  7. Spread the Voice
    New York | USA

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    The memorial wants to pay respect for New Yorkers AIDS victims for each of the 5 NYC boroughs. Taking the move from the USA 70s campaign which motto was SILENCE IS DEATH, and had a pink triangle as logo, the remembrance of the victims becomes here an active park where everybody is free to talk, inform and perform on five speech podiums. This stages are surrounded by circular elements useful as sitting elements, beside being sculptures themselves, five steles representative of the five boroughs victims. These circles are the community remembrance and in the same time an active warning for the future: never again make the silence kill people: silence is death, communication is life!

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    Five circular pockets spaces are defined within the park. Five as the NYC boroughs, they create a continuous sitting element oriented to a central little stage. Such central element is a free speech podium, where anybody can stand up and express is thoughts and ideas, respectfully of the low, freely.

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