ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN SPACE DESIGN

Hybridity as pedagogical tool in architectural education

Architecture and Urban Space Design is a design studio that approaches urban space as a result of countless overlapping layers of different character, all of them with implications in terms of social, cultural, environmental and economical parameters. That situation has important consequences on our physical environment, in relation to architecture, public space, infrastructure and landscape. The result is a diversity of conflicts, distortions, needs, concerns, and involves different sensibilities and epistemologies.

 

Hence, to understand and address such a complexity we need a transversal approach that embraces different scales and complementary disciplines. The aim of the studio is to gain a deep understanding of the different aspects that conform a complex urban space and to acquire tools that can help us to transform it holistically.

 

In the course, we interpret urban layers defined by the physical environment to experiment with new types of urban structures that are defined as urban hybrids. They represent new spatial prototypes that, without predetermined scales or typologies, will define new qualities and the linkage of the proposals with the adjacent areas. As we understand the city as an entity, as a whole urban structure and not as an aggregation of parts, the scope of intended transitions is studied to improve the physical relationship to the place and working on a human scale.

 

The concept of hybrid architecture functions as the overarching approach that permeates the Architecture and Urban Space Design course, highlighting its potential as a tool for urban transformation. Alhusban and Alhusban (2020) describe hybridity as a ”concept used everywhere to describe new shapes created from mixing (combining, joining, blending or merging) of two forms or species we recognize”. The same authors state that “a hybrid finds itself in an intermediate position that derives the two well-known forms while it is not a copy of any of them”. The concept of hybridization can be interpreted both from the perspective of a process (Alhusban and Alhusban, 2020) but also from the perspective of projects or design (Zanni, 2012).

 

This course draws on the interpretation of hybrid architecture given by Pinto de Freitas (2011). According to her perspective, hybrid architecture is at once an architectural object, landscape and infrastructure. Such a vision of architecture shows commonalities with landscape urbanism. In fact, hybrid spaces can be considered as ”multifunctional architectural and landscape entities, designed by applying the landscape urbanism approach and having the spatial connectivity with adjacent areas” (Krasilinikova and Klimov, 2016).

 

Gothenburg, as many other industrial cities, is an example of a fragmented city. Along its river structures, across its urban areas, we find many different layers in an unbalanced coexistence. The relationship between landscape, buildings and infrastructure forming a system recurs in different parts of the city e.g. Göta Älv, Mölndalsån, Kvarnby etc... The course takes advantage of such a context with its diversity of rivers to learn from such an unbalanced situation of the built environment and to propose new scenarios of urban reconnection and effective coexistence between systems.