MARCH Blockbusting Studio, Fall 2012
Shifting Limits delimits (by demarcating and establishing limits) existing city boundaries (neighborhoods, socioeconomic divides, large avenues) and removes them through an architectural strategy of continuity, connectivity, and porosity. The intent is to create new continuous edge territories. At the urban scale, it straddles in between Cerda’s historical ideals of continuity and the contemporary needs for urban density and lightness. At the block scale, it straddles in between public street life and Barcelona’s hidden courtyards. The inversion of edges at the programmatic scale further blends interior life with public courtyard and city with neighborhood.
The system starts by planting initial “seed blocks” into Barcelona’s already dense and defined fabric, allowing for new edge territories to emerge while the centers of existing neighborhoods shift. The “seed block”, a corner condition that can only grow in two directions, stitches adjacent blocks together--condensing the urban block through physical continuity yet porosifying through circulation. This new, compressed connection inverts conventional boundaries of living (interior) and urban (exterior) programs (within the existing block and above it) and the overall hierarchical reading of edges-- the figure ground reading of Barcelona transforms into gray edge territories. In collaboration with: Sarah Lucy Estephan