MA 5Y: Re-claiming the Roads.

Re-claiming the Roads.
MA Architecture: Fifth Year.

The city is made of islands. What defines these islands are roads. However, are all roads necessary?

Some roads have little traffic and are mainly used to park cars. The network of the city reaches its optimum use during rush hours. After rush hours many roads become quieter. Can these roads be used as effective space to accommodate programs that occur outside of rush hours?

This quick scheme shows how the city can begin to reclaim roads to support programs at specific times.

urban syntax

map of Berlin using space syntax [http://www.spacesyntax.net/]

I used a some software called space syntax [http://www.spacesyntax.net/] to generate this map showing the roads of Berlin. The sotware predicts the use of each road. The whiter the road, the more it is used. As you can see the software clearly defines the main arteries of the city.

I was skeptical that a program can predict such things, so as an indicator I overlaid a map of the bus routes of Berlin – and the bus routes lay on the main arteries predicted! Computers are amazing things!

overlaid bus routes and space syntax.

overlaid bus routes and space syntax.

From the maps above we can create new rules for a strategy that reclaims the roads. These rules are:

1. during rush hours all roads must allow vehicular traffic to run on them as the network of the city must be at its optimum.

2. before and after rush hours the roads can be reclaimed by the people of the city. New programs can exist thus creating a more localised and densified city only at specific times.

To introduce these new rules I used the method of a canopy. The simple idea of sheltering roads and making the outside inside would be enough to generate new life on the roads.

canopy new urban fabric

a canopy

new urban fabric

What this begins to do is allow for a new dialogue between permanent and temporary. Peoples homes would be permanent space, and they could go to work or school on the road outside.

The relationship between island and road.

The relationship between island and road.

rush hour traffic. Canopy closed to indicate rush hours.

rush hour traffic. Canopy closed to indicate rush hours.

canopy deployed to indicate life on the streets.

canopy deployed to indicate life on the streets.

This canopy deploys itself to indicate life on the streets.

canopy closed ALL

arteries of the city. Canopy is closed during rush hours. Permanent residential buildings are slowly becoming empty as people are going to work and school.

Canopy open after rush hours. Residential buildings are emptied and programs occur on the streets and in existing buildings.

Canopy open after rush hours. Residential buildings are emptied and programs occur on the streets and in existing buildings.

Underneath the canopy. A new habitable network exists on the roads. Small city islands group together to make larger ones.

Underneath the canopy. A new habitable network exists on the roads. Small city islands group together to make larger ones. Maybe the spaces deploy themselves from street furniture?

The drawings above show what can occur on a daily basis that is based around the routine of going to work. However, the situation can become more complex if we take other tempos into account. The space syntax below of the immediate site predicts the use of the surrounding areas. There is a clear hierarchy of space being established. Specific programs based on duration can begin to inhabit spaces that are thought of as ‘dead space’ where as programs based on a daily week day routine can inhabit the roads.

a hierarchy of use

a hierarchy of use

Another option to re-claiming the roads.

Another method of re-inhabiting the roads would be the use of deployable inhabitable structures.

closed.

closed.

open. Some structures can connect to the existing.

open. Some structures can connect to the existing.

plan. Paving of the street can mark the territory of the temporary space.

plan. Paving of the street can mark the territory of the temporary space.

street elevation

street elevation

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