Tag Archive: urban

  1. Central Park
    Kaliningrad | Russia

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    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.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  2. Revealing Geometries
    Kaliningrad | Russia

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    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. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  3. Into the Forest
    Mantova | Italy

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    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

    “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.

     

     

     

    Mediterranean Forest

    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.

     

     

     

    Native Forest

    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.

     

     

  4. Commission | Jul 2018
    World Forum on Urban Forests
    Mantua | Italy

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    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.

  5. Commission | Jan 2018
    Litovsky Val
    Kaliningrad | Russia

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    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.

  6. 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.

     

     

  7. Archipelago of Knowledge
    Rotterdam | Netherlands

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    The Archipelago of Knowledge is a new spatial strategy for the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands, that reconsiders the relationship between port and city. Through the fragmentation of areas within the port, a series of islands are created, subsequently enabling the formation of a continuous, 100% accessible waterfront. Urban and ecological quality embedded in the direct relationship between city and water is re-established and enhanced, benefitting both citizens and the maritime cluster.

    The new linear waterfront finally brings water back to the city – a city that often lacks a direct relationship with its largest water body, the Maas River, despite its close proximity and historical and cultural significance. The new system goes beyond administrative boundaries and fragmentation, unifying ongoing efforts of port revitalization and creating one coherent urban vision. The strategy itself, before its implementation, can be seen as a tool to bring together a diverse group of actors; from the city, the maritime cluster, the port, and local communities. Additionally, the waterfront can become a shared space for negotiation where the interests and needs of various stakeholders are discussed in order to find points of intersection and mutual interest.

    The new islands are spatially defined areas where economic and planning scenarios unfold through time. Although their shape is fixed, their program, be it maritime, commercial, residential or recreational, can freely occupy the space according to future economic trends, needs, and decisions, ensuring a new beneficial relationship between port and city.

     

    The port areas are fragmented into islands, resulting in the formation of a continuous, 100% accessible, waterfront

    The waterfront is a system that goes beyond administrative borders and fragmentation but rather unifies the ongoing efforts of port revitalization into one, coherent urban vision

     

     

     

     

    Port expansion has always implied dramatic transformations of the river landscape. The port has expanded and transformed through time, occupying more and more surface. The time has come, now, with changing conditions of the port economy, to re-orient land transformations to the advantage of the city and its people.

     

  8. Lec­ture | Apr 2016
    FilBo
    Bogota | Colombia

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    Ortofoto

    In occasion of the ‘Filbo’ International Book Fair of Bogota, we are invited to present the office and relevant work of our practice on a presentation format, and take part in the workshop ‘New ways to develop Cities’ where the public sector will give us a “challenge” that needs to be solved by the participants and local developers and decision makers. These events will take place in the Dutch Pavilion, between April 25th and May 1st 2016. 

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  9. Lifelines
    Berat | Albania

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    Approaching an island doesn’t mean to approach a defined fragment of territory. An island is part of the larger organism of the river, and is the river the natural element under our spotlight. The dependence of the Osumi Island to its river is so evident that is not even possible to define the shape of the island, continuously transforming with the varying water levels to the extreme of disappearing. In our proposal we consequentially start by addressing a more resilient water system that can absorb risks and vulnerabilities and develop its own cultural and recreational identity. Osumi Island is part of it; its context makes the island unique. The Unesco heritage site and the urban context integrates with the natural system of the river generating a all new range of possible scenarios and a new cultural gravity which is urban, by nature. 

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    Our proposal aims to reconnect cities (in our case Berat) to the river, connection that has faded in many situations, if not even lost. Establish an interdependence is the trigger for addressing urbanites to sustainably take advantage of the water resource rather that a careless exploitation.

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    The project redefines the public space of the city of Berat, introducing more space for temporary and fixed uses, related to different programs. Following the logic inTroduced by the project the new bridge, the “frame” and the path connecting Bulvardi Repulika are considered “fixed /established” spaces that offer ground to “temporary / mobile” events.

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    The Island adapts itself to the different levels of the water generating an always- changing landscape around and in the pool. While the pool itself gives extra volume for the water to reduce flooding risk, it creates the conditions for a variety of new recreational scenarios.

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    The planting species are selected on the basis of different aspects. First of all species are all indigenous and part of the local riparian landscape. They are divided is three categories: (1) plants and trees above the water level, (2) plants on wet soil, temporary flooded, (3) plants constantly on wet soil, often flooded. The species selection is driven by their biological and aesthetic characteristic as capacity to: increase the water quality, consolidate the slopes and decrease the erosion, capability of attracting wildlife, blossoming quality.

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    The ‘filter embankment’ is the element that defines the new island. It consists of a layered structure of gravel and stones of different grain sizes. It works as a horizontal filter: the water of the river infiltrates into the embankment before gathering into the water basin. In the inner part, selected vegetation works as a second phytoremediation filter, oxygenating the water and reducing pollutants. The whole system is supported by a steel structure and has a path running on the top.

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    The waterfront is a performative urban edge. The runoff water is addressed to the edge, where stepped phytoremediation planting purifies the water before it flows into the river. The sidewalk is enlarged in order to improve the pedestrian experience, and the waterfront is accessible allowing people to finally ‘touch’ the water. An urban dike is added by raising the sidewalk to avoid flooding where the current water edge is too low.

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