In Architectural Design classes as in Architectural everyday practice, preliminary urban analysis is a mandatory step of the design process in the understanding of opportunities and constraints of a project for an urban site. Classic analysis based on the study of existing cartography and on the production of abstract diagrams is no longer appropriate. In order to fully engage the rising complexity of contemporary globalized cities, a more experiential and perceptual approach is needed in order to define better “mapping” strategies which will allow for a holistic assimilation of peculiar urban conditions. In this presentation, I will illustrate the outcomes of the first assignment given to students for my 5th year Architectural Design Studio called “Space[Less]City” at the American University of Sharjah. The site for their project, a recent developed neighborhood in the outskirts of central Sharjah, shows all the issues of contemporary globalized peripheries due to a severe lack of community facilities. Moreover, the quality of buildings and architectural solutions is very low, contributing to the perception of a generic and ordinary “image of the city” (Lynch, 1960) which alienates the sense of belonging to a specific place. In the first week of the course, students were asked to observe and analyze the site as personal and perceptive journey to identify the complex sublime aesthetic of this peculiar area. They were free to choose the media of representation of their holistic urban analysis. Artistic performances, on-site installations, and a public event were pedagogical outcomes of the assignment.
Cristiano Luchetti, American University of Sharjah, UAE
Stream: Education for interdisciplinary thinking
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