F - Porocity - Opening up Solidity October 26 , Our current cities are comprised of enclosed, distant and introverted architecture equally isolated from urban life and ecological context. How might we open these spaces? How might we introduce pockets of space capable of triggering social encounter Copy Paste is an invitation to copy with finesse and skill. Copy Paste understands the past as a vast archive on which we can and must Clearly organised by typology, it features full colour spreads with easily understood captions and information about the projects.
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Seminario de Nobles 4. Entreplanta dcha. E Madrid tel. Via N. Sauro Italia tel: fax: e-mail: info fiorucci-international. E El Escorial. Madrid Espana tel: fax: e-mail: distrubucion elcroquis. Ind Sta. Espana tel: Fossalta Modena. Inglaterra tel Ana Ricas Vaciamadrid. FAX: e-mail: info cp CBT Buenos Aires. Constituyentes, Lomas altas. Mexico D. Lima Peru telefax: e-mail: larcadia ex-red. Miami FL Estados Unidos tel Francisco solano.
Lourdes, piso 4. Oficina Sabana Grande. Caracas Venezuela tel: Suite Pierson Bd. Lebanon tel: In close collaboration the 3 principal architect directors produce designs and studies in the fields of architecture, urbanism and landscape design.
The grand variety of projects continues in the work of the office. Large scale visions for the future of greater Paris and the doubling in size of Dutch new town Almere are developed.
The more than sixty architects, designers and staff members of MVRDV are organized into teams headed by project leaders. To allow a wide range of commissions to be handled, special design teams are set up for individual commissions. Based on the scope of the work in the different phases designers and specialists will be added to the team. The senior architect is responsible for the day-to-day communication and organization.
The design team will be assisted by advisors in the fields of building and installation technology, building sciences, building management and building costs. Reactions to the first designs can be processed quickly, creating a high degree of support for the design and encouraging the sort of new insights that can lead to specific innovative solutions.
MVRDV works all over the world and therefore is used to collaborate with local architects, construction groups and specialists. MVRDV has a wide knowledge and experience in working with collective contracts, insurances and planning documents that create a base for collective approaches. MVRDV has permanent relationships with engineering firms to activate the exchange of up to date knowledge. MVRDV pursues a fascination for radical methodical research: on density and on public realms.
Through investigation and use of the complex amounts of data that accompany contemporary design processes, spaces are shaped methodically. Clients, users and specialists are intensively involved at an early stage of the design process. In this way our generalism and verve is linked with the specialization and thoroughness of the other team members.
The products of this approach can vary therefore completely. They range from buildings of all types and sizes, to urban designs, publications and installations, as well as the development of software programs.
Yes this year will actually be our seventeenth together. We had a kick start with a series of Dutch projects which culminated in the Expo-Pavilion, which was indeed a Dutch commission although it was in Germany. We had a Dutch contractor, a Dutch client, everything was Dutch except the site. After that our work attracted a great deal of publicity and also the whole architectural practice started to become more international. At that time we had enjoyed a certain momentum in architecture in the Netherlands, due to a favourable political situation.
For the first time in over half a century the Christian Democrats were not in government and this change was reflected in a more optimistic political and economic climate resulting in a series of extraordinary projects. Unfortunately this is now rather different.
When we started we had a large commission but quite a small office so we had to team up with technical architects. This way of working is more or less the same as when you work abroad and need a local architect, where you divide the work between the two firms, roughly on a basis.
In a traditional architectural office you had this kind of drawing room full of people doing the technical drawing. We are more design orientated — more concept orientated — and we happen to work in different places around the world. Would you agree with this and would you mind sharing some of the management strategies and technologies you employ to achieve this?
We try to keep it kind of normal, of course people work late but we hear from many people working for other offices that it gets too much, we tend to be relaxed relatively speaking. All architects are using space but you can do it in a very traditional way or you can do it literally in a space in a way when things go far out. In essence they are not that different, they are both interesting at the same time. In many ways you base your practice on the involvement of these forces by adopting the most common results of economics and consumption — density and arbitrariness, even banality — as your own tools.
Although these factors are often associated with alienation even brutality, you have proven that they can be used to create surprising yet dignified public spaces and intimate dwellings. Do you feel that by choosing to tweak the ordinary or banal, you create buildings more grounded in contemporary culture, showing how it could be creatively enhanced as opposed to being replaced or temporarily excluded?
You could explain this in many ways; I think good architecture should have many levels of communication. It comes from a hands-on approach and also a curiosity and open mindedness so we also take on certain questions and ask ourselves why is it working like that? As architects we are all space oriented but unlike some we work scalelessly. Perhaps this stems from our education in the office where we had this study story from Jacob Bakema, who did a series of studies from stools, chair to city.
This scalelessness, it came back in the study, you had to do master planning, to cover all scales, we kept doing that somehow. Variety can really make cities more attractive and therefore more sustainable because they last longer and work better. If you look at the most attractive neighbourhoods they are almost always where you have a mixture of working and living, flexibility and use; places like Soho, New York and in some districts of Amsterdam. The buildings have the ability to change from residential to commercial and remain attractive while single purpose districts often fall out of fashion.
There are all sorts of regulations to do with sound, zoning and so on. A lot of people get obnoxious and can make things really impossible, as bylaws and regulations accumulate and often remain long after they cease to be useful. How have you found working in distant locations for people with different customs? Is there anywhere in particular where you found a natural affinity for your ideas of density or adaptation and conservation of landscape?
You have to be careful when thinking and talking about a Dutch national identity but there might be a certain mental attitude linked to Holland. We can work in Europe and build projects in Japan. It would be boring to work with just one type of material or a certain shape. At the moment, due to urbanisation and emerging global economies, there seems to be much greater building opportunities outside Europe.
However, as fuel prices rise and we are forced to adapt to the effects of climate change, it is credible to imagine major restructuring and rebuilding in Europe too. Instead, people are questioning how can we make sustainable cities but not directly in one way, that they are functioning well and on the other hand that they are not too much polluting.
So that the energy the people who live there use, they also produce on site. Due to the population and construction boom in Spain the firm was able to continue their interests and research and apply their innovativeness towards the realm of social housing.
In the small city of Madrid the firm was given two plots of land to explore the social interactions between inhabitants while designing an architectural space that separates itself from the mundane nature of the housing blocks in Madrid.
What you came up with were two very successful projects, El Mirador and Celosia that begin to talk about the problems with existent social housing. With the recruitment of the EMVT comes the escape from the apartment block in the northeastern tip of Sanchinarro. With their normative exploration of shifted and stacked spaces they continue their research interests with these two proposals of social housing. The first proposal for the social housing in Spain flips the normal six story office block to create a series of vertical neighborhoods that presents itself as a series of nine superblocks.
Each containing apartments for different life styles and offer the residents high standards in terms of habitable space, natural light, panoramic views and comfort of fixtures. The emphasis spatially is placed in the center of the project in the form a a void that becomes a communal viewing platform that frames the Guadarrama Mountains.
The social agenda relies on the inhabitants to utilize this sky plaza and transforming it into a readily used community space. The inhabitants of the social housing blocks can enjoy this sky plaza which makes it essentially interactive with the residents to creating a social space instead of the traditional housing block that has began to penetrate all corners of the city in a result similar to the suburban sprawl.
The product of this interest becomes the vertical stacked block that provides the area with the urban density that this portion of Madrid now lacks but also creates a series of mini neighborhoods.
El Croquis 115+116 – Mansilla + Tuñon
MVRDV engages globally in providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues. A research based and highly collaborative design method engages experts from all fields, clients and stakeholders in the creative process. The results are exemplary and outspoken buildings, urban plans, studies and objects, which enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future. MVRDV develops its work in a conceptual way, the changing condition is visualised and discussed through designs, sometimes literally through the design and construction of a diagram. The office continually pursues its fascination and methodical research on density using a method of shaping space through complex amounts of data that accompany contemporary building and design processes. The 75 architects, designers and staff members conceive projects in a multi-disciplinary collaborative design process and apply highest technological and sustainable standards.
El Croquis 86+111: MVRDV hb