*Design Studio with Integrated Discipline*
ETH Zurich | DARCH | FS 2012
Prof. Alfredo Brillembourg & Prof. Hubert Klumpner
Assts: Michael Contento & Lindsey Sherman
How do we move through the contemporary city?
In this research and design studio, students will create comprehensive, multi-modal, and multi-scalar systems of mobility that operate as catalysts of integration, innovative frameworks for growth, and supports for new program/use – prototypes for the 21st century city.
Mobility systems are often realized (built) and perceived (conceptualized) as large-scale infrastructures, systems that may connect important nodes at the urban, regional, and international scales, but that also neglect marginalized or informal urban areas of contemporary cities. In many cases these systems act as the very mechanism of marginalization. The ironic reality is the close proximity of these marginal zones to large, central transportation infrastructures. Some systems have long served a contingent purpose as a framework for informal settlements – both in their construction process (demand for cheap labor) and after completion (“available”, ancillary land) – but most rarely operate as an integrating force. They act as a division between varying realities and are a physical representation of existing economic, political, and social inequality. Mobility systems provide a peculiar interface – they operate simultaneously as a spatial representation of marginalization as well as a space for the marginalized.
Mobility is a key element of how a city operates and of how a city grows. Large-scale infrastructures represent economic and political values held by officials, and for contemporary cities to operate effectively, these systems must address the question of integration at multiple scales. New systems of mobility should serve as catalysts of integration and as flexible frameworks of effective growth – physical systems that extend their influence to social mobility as well. These systems should be multi-modal, as singular systems are ineffective in the face of the complexity of the contemporary city.
As Rio de Janeiro prepares itself for several upcoming global events (Rio+20 – United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, FIFA Confederation’s Cup, FIFA World Cup, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games), new layers and systems of mobility will be necessary to accommodate the temporary populations. These events present the city with significant challenges but also with important opportunities to rethink systems of mobility in Rio de Janeiro, not only for the immediate future but also beyond the horizon of these events. As cities continue to densify, the horizontal spread of highways no longer accommodates all necessary scales of mobility, and new systems are needed – multimodal and multi-scalar, horizontal and vertical.
The goal of this research and design studio is to discover and unfold these new potentials of multi-modal and multi-scalar systems of mobility – systems that operate as catalysts of integration (between formal and informal) and as strategies for new frameworks of positive growth. The research portion involves examining existing conditions and finding new potentials. The design portion involves developing innovative strategies at a range of scales, from overall systems to the design of stations. The task is to change the perception of mobility systems to potent opportunities and frameworks for growth.
How can we make comprehensive, multi-modal systems that operate on and integrate multiple scales?
How can we tie physical mobility to social mobility?
How can mobility infrastructure address questions of sustainability – both ecological and social?
How can systems of mobility provide new, flexible frameworks of urban growth?
How can we rethink urbanized systems of mobility, systems that adapt to accepted realities of the 21st century – traffic congestion, accidents, waiting time, etc.?
How are stocks and flows changing our lifestyles?
How can we translate these findings concerning urbanized mobility to increasingly important secondary cities?
** This design studio is also planned in conjunction with the Seminar Week trip to Rio de Janeiro through the Brillembourg/Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design. Enrollment in the Rio de Janeiro seminar week is NOT required but is highly recommended as an essential part of the studio and necessary to maximize design output.