In Venezuela 93% of the population live in cities, half of which inhabit urban slums. Upgrading initiatives to date have tended to focus on housing solutions to improve living conditions. However, graver issues affect the livelihood of slum dwellers on a daily basis. Alarmingly high homicide rates, frequent adolescent pregnancies and very high school dropout rates compromise every slum dweller´s quality of life and condemn them to a perpetual cycle of poverty. Health issues and low self dignity associated with living in severely degraded environmental conditions also diminish their livelihood. Improving the situation, therefore, goes beyond supplying mortar and brick to build better houses; it requires a holistic approach that seriously considers social and environmental deficiencies.
Last November we published the design concept for Santa Monica Palisades Garden Walk & Town Square by James Corner Field Operations. Recently, we learnt that the design for the Town Square has since been updated to reflect the Landmarks Commission conditions to be granted a Certificate Of Appropriateness “the retention, rehabilitation and/or relocation of certain existing historic character defining elements of the site, in addition to reconfiguring the site topography and grade, the installation of new landscaping and hardscape materials, a central water feature, new benches and seat walls, and lighting. Pursuant to Santa Monica Municipal Code, a Certificate of Appropriateness is required for any proposed alterations in whole or in part, of or to a Landmark or Landmark Parcel”. The design is currently waiting for final approval from the City Council. Continue reading Santa Monica Palisades Garden Walk & Town Square Update
The basic design concept was created by overlaying the images associated with the square, its use and its location. People flow through the built-up urban landscape, each like a water droplet in a river. The skaters have made this flow of people into a game. Quiet, long drawn-out stretches with large radiuses alternate with jumping at obstacles, like the flowing and spraying of water in a river. The location of the square on the Rhine places this image in an appropriate scenic context.
The implementation of this concept in reality is achieved by overlaying the area with a virtual grid which has uniform building areas at the cross-over points. The grid and building areas represent urban elements and are taken from the urban environment. However, to turn this stark grouping on a grid into a spontaneous arrangement that is optimal for this sport, the area had to be reorganised using a particular algorithm. This turned the building areas into structures of different sizes; they rise out of the landscape or sink into it to intersperse the space with green elements, meadows and trees. The basic structures are skate objects made from concrete and stand like stones covered by water in a river of flagstones. The ground combines with the skate objects using a template. Continue reading The long road to a new square | Cologne Germany | metrobox architekten