Design Studio Required Elective at semester(s) 6, 8, ECTS: 12
The studio will challenge the role of the ring road of Volos, the actual perimeter of the city, and its relation with the city center, studying the 1 km fragment in the North-East part of Volos. What is the role of the ring road? Is the ring road just a connection that links two points, or it is an inhabited infrastructure? The course aims to question the role of this infrastructure and its aesthetic investigating the opportunities that it may offer.
The course with deal with concept of sprawl, or better "the urban growth that spills out from the edge of the town" (Ingersoll, 2003), where the city loses its compact form and disunites towards the landscape as a collage of different elements in contrast. In this undetermined landscape, the ring road may be read like the strip, the definition used by Venturi and Scott Brown to identify main arteries along which are parking lots and singular frontages for gambling casinos, hotels, churches and bars that basically constitutes a "non-city." Questioning the ring road as an infrastructure, at the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale Mobility - a Room with A View, Mecanoo Architects investigated the role and impact of highway against the landscape: is it a linear connection between two points or it may be redefined as a new center on the perimeter of the city?
This course aims to deal with a fragment of the ring road of Volos in area where the city extends itself crossing this boundary towards Portaria and the mountain villages. Here the ring road is the main urban element as the urban form of the city appears fragmented and undefined.
The study area is almost 1 km long and it is defined at West by the river and at East by an electrical power plant. Mostly a residential area, there are also some small industrial and tertiary activities placed along the road. The main landmarks are three pedestrian bridges that link the two sides of the city. These bridges also highlight some abandoned and unused area: the presence of the bridges and available surfaces disclose the potential towards the development of an integrated system of open spaces, infrastructure and public facilities.
The given assignment requests initially to investigate this fragment of the ring road, its functions and its aesthetics, looking for terrain vagues inside the urban fabric and examining their relationship with this harsh boundary. On the basis of this study a strategy of intervention that will include public buildings and public space should be defined. The proposal should present a solution to transform the area in a new center along the ring road with collective values and public relevance. On the basis of the strategy, students will select a part of it to propose a program for a multifunctional center that links work to culture. The program should include offices, workshops, exhibitions, conference, temporary living, and public spaces.
Finally the proposal should envision new linkages with the existing buildings on the surrounding as well as the re-programming of surfaces for the formation of new public spaces. The proposals will explore the impact of middle-scale interventions and their consequences at the urban level, creating a transition between the small scale of existing residential unit plots and the 'bigness' of the infrastructure.
Students will work in groups of two. Final grades will be based on excercises in class, interim reviews and on a final presentation.
- Urban analysis 10%
- Strategic Design 15%
- Urban Design 15%
- Building Design 20%
- Final Presentation 40%
(Grades are orientativeand they offer the progresse of the students. The final grade my be different from the average grades)
S. Allen, M. McQuade, Landform Building: Architecture's New Terrain. Lars Muller, 2011.
J. Corner (ed.), Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999.
R. Ingersoll, Sprawltown, Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.
F. Lorraine, Drawing for Urban Analysis. London: Laurence King, 2011.
Mecanoo, Mobility - A Room with a View. Rotterdam Nai Publisher, 2003.
M. Mostafavi, G. Doherty, Ecological Urbanism. Lars Muller, 2010.
B. Tschumi, Architecture Concepts: Red is Not a Color. Rizzoli, 2012.
R. Venturi and D. Scott Brown, Learning from Las Vegas. Cambridge: MIT press, 1977