Ter[rains] is a hybrid between two interactive aspects of our spatial surroundings: terrain and rain. Both exist in the periphery of architectural design. But brought into the center of perception, they make the creation of unconventional architecture and urban spaces possible. This is an exploration of that possibility.
Ter[rains] is the final exhibition of the master studio Architecture and Urban Space Design, containing the work of the 2022 student group. It’s an exploration of the urban hybrid form. The result is 35 inquiries of nine imagined hybrid terrains, merging landscape, architecture, and infrastructure through the art of design.
All built structures are inevitably bound to interact with water. It's a natural force that affects our daily lives in and around the city. A relation that is vital for all human lives while simultaneously being a threat to both our way of living and designing. Urban planners do what they can to deal with, avoid and mitigate its potentially devastating floods and heavy rainfalls. With the climate changing, these threats will only grow stronger.
But what if water was not an obstacle, but an asset?
In 2023, the city of Gothenburg celebrates its 400 years jubilee. One of the main topics of the celebration is to embrace the city’s heavy rainfalls. As the city strives towards being the world’s best city when it rains, these questions are more relevant than ever.
Through the lens of imagination and radical testing, Ter[rains] explores new approaches to designing urban spaces. What if our designs would follow landscape, rather than human functions? Meaning to question our perceived thoughts on how cities are to be in order to find new ways of creating. As landscapes are made of surfaces with different inclinations and heights, could the vertical urban skyline be made of both vertical and horizontal silhouettes?
Working with a hybrid mindset and reimagination of architecture, infrastructure, and landscape as one, not three, nine new topographies have emerged in the city center of Gothenburg. Nine new and speculative ways of creating both interior and exterior spaces whilst managing increased amounts of water in newly imagined shapes.
Here, urban water interactions and terrain creation are at the center of the design. Both add value to the urban spaces, making them hydrosocial landscapes where water becomes a vital part of the city. The heavier the rainfall, the deeper the flood, the better the city.
The studio applies a hybrid way of working, where team cooperation and individual ideas are synthesized throughout the whole design process. The emphasis is on exploration and not finding the perfect solution. This generates a creative environment where the main limitation is your own imagination. The work moves between a macro and micro scale, mixing systematic thinking with imaginative design though three different design phases.
Phase 1 – System
The studio sets an unconventional starting point, where each group studies various hydrosocial systems, human social networks and water cycles intertwined and shaped by the students. Through this investigation, the functions for the overall project are fabricated. In this way, each group creates their own systematic framework for the project.
Phase 2 - Terrain
Before introducing the context for the projects, all groups start creating their own methodology of forging their terrain. Then, the site is introduced, and the hybrid landscape is formed based on the method of the terrain and the hydrosocial system. In this phase the work is done within a macro scale.
Phase 3 - Detail
The work moves on to a micro scale in the third and final design phase. Working individually within the groups to increase the resolution of different parts of the project area creates clarity and complexity for the overall design.