Postindustrial Landscapes is a course of the Projects Workshop for advanced levels of the ETSAV (Vallès College of Architecture). All of the projects discussed in the workshop deal with contemporary cities, and strive to develop alternative proposals for improving urban habitability.
The objective of Postindustrial Landscapes is the analysis and planning of diverse abandoned spaces, which are located at the intersection of transportation infrastructures in the Barcelona metropolitan area and which create areas of discontinuity with built-up fragments of their setting, in order to integrate these spaces and avoid their consolidation as divisive factors.
Abandoned areas where the recuperation of fragile natural elements becomes strategic and decisive for the development of a necessary re-designation of the landscape –from Riu Sec to Badia del Vallès, from Riera de Palau to Terrassa Port Sud, from the Besós River to the Ronda Litoral.
Abandoned urban areas where the presence of obsolete large industrial complexes create an opportunity for the reconversion of disputed urban areas –such as Asland in Montcada i Reixach and Fecsa in Sant Adrià del Besòs.
Topics of Study
Four themes structure the contents of the course:
Accessibility: Interpreting the question of accessibility as a tool capable of facilitating urban connections as opposed to being a divisive factor within a city that has varied means of transportation and fragmented functions.
Reprogramming: Researching which types of programs can generate urban activity in the vacant infrastructural spaces and the obsolete industrial spaces, considering that the shift in usage that affects the urban space must be planned as a dynamic process and not a static one, planning a staggered timeline for implementations, integrating into the project the negotiation between the programming, the context and the project.
Rethinking energy usage: Measuring the project’s capacity for implementing energy saving strategies; reducing the amount of materials used by the buildings, implementing passive systems for saving energy, reusing the waste generated by the distribution of the project, reorganizing transportation systems in order to reduce the emission of polluting gases, among others.
Reconfiguration of the public space: Considering the potential of negative space -the existing empty spaces within the industrial complexes- as an element that gives shape to the project. It is necessary to assess the empty space because it becomes public space: an excessively large public space or an amorphous one can lead to insufficient use or disuse.
The working method consists of initially having the students analyze the urban area in order to assess the potential of the project site in relationship to its urban surroundings.
The goal of this analysis is to determine the spatial properties described in the topics and introduce a detailed program in order to bring to light the site’s potential, solving issues on both a local and metropolitan scale.
Phase 1: partial examination by groups of the site and its surrounding environment, according to a predetermined strategy, in order to collect and process information that will be useful for the entire course, and to define possible projects (potential architecture of the site).
Phase 2: with all the information at hand and in view of the possible projects, each group agrees on the project that they will develop for the rest of the course.
Phase 3: exhibition of the process and the final product.