Workshop (In) Formal Dynamics: Mobility, infrastructure and housing 2

 

MEMORIAS

GRUPO 1 - Together: Collective landscapes of transformation

GRUPO 2 - Mobility, integration and services. Design research: a tool for exploring value generation and stakeholder engagement

GRUPO 3 - Bogotá : A layered geography

 

Introduction

This workshop is the result of an academic collaboration between the Housing & Urbanism Program (H&U) at
the Architectural Association Graduate School (AA), the Master of Architecture (MARQ) and the Bogotá Unit of
the Department of Architecture at the Universidad de Los Andes. This collaboration is organized as an elevenday
intensive international design workshop in the city of Bogotá from 27th of June to 7th of July. The workshop
will focus on real discussions undergoing in Bogotá: (IN)FORMAL DYNAMICS: Mobility infrastructure as the
spine of comprehensive urban strategies addressing issues of housing, public space, mixed uses, urban
revitalization, among others. In particular, this year the workshop will be focus on working along the infrastructure
Transmilenio corridors (strips) in the NQS AV. Area.

Design Workshop: background, structure and objectives

Bogotá, an 8 million people city, sets an interesting field for urban design and research. The city has suffered
most problems of cities in the developing world such as informal growth, corruption, backwardness in mobility
infrastructure, social housing deficit, lack of public space, etc. However, in early 2000`s Bogota undertook
innovative urban strategies involving citizen`s culture, new transport systems, public spaces and sanitation
programs. Again in 2017, Bogotá is center of the urban debate in Colombia; as massive investments in mobility
infrastructure (1st line of Metro, extending Transmilenio BRT), and housing programs (80.000 subsidize new
housing units) will be done in the next few years both by local and national government. This juncture sets an
invaluable opportunity for architecture and urban design to contribute and take the lead voice in the construction
of future Bogotá. Under current situation, the Bogotá international urban design workshop will focus on the place
on design and spatial reasoning in addressing the challenges faced by the city on mobility infrastructure and
housing provision, but in this year, we want to put a special emphasis in the (in)formal dynamics. In particular,
the consideration about massive infrastructure projects and its impact on the surrounded urban areas; as well as
the reflection on appropriate spatial approaches to the articulation of the inexorable link of housing (or mixed
uses) and the production of the city in the provision of affordable spaces for the people.
Two areas will be studied. On the one hand the impact of infrastructures and transmilenio on the urban dynamics
along the mobility corridors (NQS). It is interesting to review the neighborhoods and economic activities that are
found along this great avenue, as large clusters or monofunctional districts and with very particular social logics.
On the other hand, the impact of this Avenue, related to some industrial (some ofthem abandoned) that are
loaded with everyday life and collisions between the definition of the formal and the informal.
More than 40 students will be mixed and divided in four groups with an average of 3 tutors per group. Rather
than a detailed brief, each group will be asked to identify potential drivers of an urban spatial strategy and project
in which the architecture or urban project would act as the structuring and anchoring component of such a
strategy. The expected outcome will be four distinct spatial approaches, with different urban drivers, different
combination of programs and mixes of uses and with different ways of articulating questions of density, typology
and/or urban intensification.

Urban Design Workshop background

The model of the intensive design workshop is one that the H&U program has been using for many years,
working in many different cities worldwide. It aims at collaborating with local academic institutions to address
challenging urban conditions, often in the context of real plans and projects, and always engaging all the relevant
stakeholders, private and public. These workshops are a central part of a pedagogy that attempts not only to
expose the students to the pressures, complexities and politics of real projects and plans, but also to expose
them to other pedagogic approaches to the urban project as well as other understandings of urbanism itself.
Indeed, pedagogy as intense contrasting of pedagogies and conceptual perspectives.

The structure and intensity of the workshops provide one model for testing a critical approach to urban
conditions. The aim is to explore both the conceptual tolls and the spatial strategies of urban design,
investigating how drawing can be a way of thinking rather than just a representation of a condition or of
proposals. This means trying to draw the question, to draw ideas for responding, as well as drawing proposals to
test the ideas. It means working at many scales in parallel, graphically and conceptually, and testing ideas at all
scales. It also means working very fast and effectively in order to be able to contribute something useful in such
a short period of research and proposition.

The goal is to make spatial and design proposals that relate to an argument about how to intervene in the urban
condition. It is not about finished designs. The scale of this work is neither the architectural project nor the fixed
model of master plans. The proposals aim to develop an architectural urbanism to inform methods of
intervention in the urban condition, and to debate this with a broad range of stakeholders in the real situation. If
these proposals influence public policy and plans or the action of any of the stakeholders, this is a most
welcomed outcome, which testifies to the relevance, of what is primarily an academic exercise.