Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City
5 - 23 July 2010

Imaginal Cities: Kreuzberg's Spree waterfront

With Form rather than Program as the main tool for the understanding and intervening in the existing condition, this unit is essentially an investigation of Form through Form. The testing round for this investigation is located (in order to also engage the broader ANCB discussion on Demarcations)on the River Spree Waterfront in Kreuzberg, specifically on an inner island neighbour to Baddenschiff. The projects seek to transform this space into cultural endeavor(s) and in doing so find how architecture can engage with local discourse.

The Studio will stem form a 'critical approach' to the existing space. To attain this, abstract tools of analysis and design will be explored. This will provide the basis for a 'site construction' to be studied through design. The traditional problem-solving strategy for architecture is avoided with opportunity-driven strategies pursued instead. The second part of the studio develops a 'strategy of engagement' for the constructed site, and an 'architectural probe' to test and visualise the strategy. Programme becomes the means to test each proposition.

In terms of strategy,  the proposals should sustain a 'dialogical relation', rather than dialectic, towards the site (location on a broad sense, and its surroundings). A notion of 'multiple publics' should be introduced and extended beyond local idiosyncrasies. In doing so, the abstract objectives aimed at by planning authorities will be contemplated while, at the same time their limitations acknowledged.

The 'site construction' and the 'strategy of engagement' should explore the notion of 'fields of conscience' and 'homeomorfic equivalents' as an alternative to conceptual thinking, proposed as a more effective alternatives with which to articulate complexities of urban-landscape design. The 'architectural probe' should present an archetypal situation of the architecture created for the site and the same time it should become a formal proposition beyond the logic and mechanisms of 'modern design'. Proposals should “grow” from within the 'site construction', in a biological sense of the metaphor, even if the exercise is in itself a cultural transplant.

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