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Architecture, City and Proyect.



Daniel García-Escudero




Tuesday 15:30 - 19:30


The city is presented to us as a collective fact, the nature of which is the participation of multiple and diverse agents —public and private— and systems road, land, building, legal, etc. Historical, cultural, social and environmental issues of all kinds influence their transformation. Concepts such as shape, scale, use or movement, and more recently flow, resilience, waste, climate or landscape, are part of the
game board of all professions dealing with urban environments. Among these professions, architecture, and more specifically its most common manifestation: buildings. Because as is obvious, most buildings occur next to other buildings, and among them streets, squares and infrastructures that connect them and to which they serve. As important are the shapes of those buildings as the shapes between the buildings.

In particular, the contemporary city, far from being comprehensible, homogeneous and closed, is presented to us as indeterminate, heterogeneous and fragmented. To approach the architectural project in these circumstances requires to be attentive to the transgressions, alterations and exceptions of the urban layout. The case of Barcelona, despite its apparent uniformity, is no exception. Ildefonso Cerdá defined a structured set in which each part has the same topology as the whole. This strategy gives the city a great potential complexity without renouncing the principles of regularity, repetition, isotropy and equivalence, which are its foundation. Cerdá’s great discovery was the unique geometric matrix for the whole of the Ensanche, with a single element that repeats itself indefinitely, while adapting to particular demands: this element is the apple, conceived as a form of mediation between the city and the house. The block, through its strict repetition, creates a rhythmic continuum overlaid by the structure of the building and the free spaces. But these blocks also have to face exceptional situations because of their collision with the irregularities of the plot, which occur at their edges and in the vicinity of the infrastructural roads that cross the city on the edge of the grid; in particular, La Diagonal, which will be the working area of the course.

Likewise, the course starts from the basis that any architectural research must take as the main object of study the works in their singularity and concretion. The aim is to discover the logical relationships that provide the projects with criteria of consistency: order, repetition, rhythm, unity, continuity, discontinuity, articulation, etc. It investigates the internal cohesion of the parts that make up the case studies, focusing —in our case— on those mechanisms of relationship with their immediate environment, trying to unveil the links and systems of relationship that make project and place inseparable. In short, it is a question of studying how the place transforms the project, and how it reveals and activates the attributes of the place. The goal is to understand architecture as the material that builds the city, and the relationships that the project establishes with the site.