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Dissolving Landscape: a topological activation of the coast of Havana, Cuba

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TUDelft MSc Arch design thesis …

TUDelft MSc Arch design thesis
Border Conditions studio: \'experimental architecture in a socio-political context\'. 2010


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  • 1. DISSOLVING LANDSCAPE A topological activation of the coastal boundary of Havana, Cuba Design thesis Victor Verhagen 26-01-2010 TUDelft, Holland Border Conditions Havana Studio tutors: Henriette Bier Oscar Rommens Suzanne Groenewold external examiner: Karel Vollers
  • 2. DISSOLVING LANDSCAPE A topological activation of the coastal boundary of Havana, Cuba Design thesis Victor Verhagen 26-01-2010 TUDelft, Holland Border Conditions Havana Studio tutors: Henriette Bier Oscar Rommens Suzanne Groenewold external examiner: Karel Vollers
  • 3. Border Conditions Studio Experimental architecture in a socio-political context. MSc3 theoretical framework essay: ‘emergent systems and intermediate places’ mapping research in Havana, Cuba [group and individual] presented in ‘border conditions HAVANA’ book MSc4 individual design based on the mapping research
  • 4. Mapping & research in Havana
  • 5. Mapping the Malecon A 8 Km WALK ALONG THE MALECON Havana, Cuba 21-10-08 11:37-13.12 LEGEND Malecon wall 0.60 meters high Malecon wall 1.20 meters high Malecon sidewalk accessible reef at low tide puddles of water on sidewalk high splashing waves recently repaired area X 13:12 sidewalk impossible to walk upon due to water and algea N distance of buildings to the sea 0 0,1 0.2 0,5 1km fishermen X start / finish
  • 6. 11:37 X HABANA
  • 7. Visibility of the sea 5km + A B + + + + + 2,5 Miramar LEGEND point of first ocean view in city + borderline of ocean viewpoints penetrating the city 1 conical views of the ocean from within the city 0,5 dead angles of the unfolded panoramic ocean view 0 maximum range of vision of horizon N construction lines of field of view
  • 8. G + + + + + + F ++ + + + + + na ++ + ba Ha + + ro + + + + + + + nt + C D Ce E + + + + + + + Vedado + + + + + + + + ew y
  • 9. Wind influence in city
  • 10. n s er it n un tt io el pa e od at od e l nc flo pu bl m s c s ee s ri ra s po ee nt ee et d fl / tr su de tr se om tr l ue ea in d w ta ci vi d in no ge ne re m to in ol w 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 Legend 39 inventory of existing context: 40 positions 41 position of old tree 42 43 position of young tree 44 position of no tree 45 46 diagrammatical analysis: 47 measurable zone of infleunce old tree 48 200m 49 young tree 50 51 no tree 52 53 speculation: influence of wind and water in 54 urban context 100 extremely high / obvious 55 56 varying / to be considered 40 57 N low / to be neglected 20 0
  • 11. Border condition: reef Border condition: wall
  • 12. Border condition: waves over wall Border condition: flood
  • 13. Mapping conclusion physical time-based morphological permanent point fixed periodical line fluid seasonal zone unpredictable gradient
  • 14. COASTLINES [seaward boundary of land] fixed permanent boundaries + + point of coastview from + + + + within the city + + + + ++ + edge of built city + ++ + + Malecon seawall + + + + + + SHORELINES [landward boundary of sea] fixed periodical boundaries low tide high tide SHOREZONES [landward boundary of sea] fluid seasonal zone flooded area SHOREZONES [landward boundary of sea] fluid unpredictable zone water splashing over Malecon wall SHOREZONES [landward boundary of sea] fluid unpredictable gradient critical wind influence
  • 15. Scenario 1. Recognition of the fact that seasonal floodings are unavoidable and hap- pening on a global scale across the whole coastline of Cuba, so the loca- tion at Havana has to be regarded as a local intervention. 2. Exacerbation of the paradoxal su- blime character of the sea, being both extremely beautiful and ex- tremely dangerous at the same time. 3. Recognition of the complixity and en- tanglement of all elements (water, wind, floods, rains) as a system ca- pable of producing emergent effects. 4. Site is considered as intermedi- air between city and sea, hand- ling flows of sea- and rainwa- ter as well as flows of people. 5. Utilizing flooding and salinity for creation of site specific experiences. 6. Creation of specific spaces that ena- ble one to reconsider and experience the relation between man and nature.
  • 16. LOCATION: global scale The chosen intervention site is located along the Malecon boulevard which runs continuously for 8 km connecting the Vedado, Centro Habana and Habana Vieja neighborhoods.
  • 17. Infrastructural network The Malecon boulevard is designed as a ringroad that is connected at certain points to a system of main secundairy roads. These connect to tertiary roads which open up the urban fabric of the city grid. Along the 8 km Malecon ringroad, there are only 4 points where both lanes of the boulevard can be accessed from the secundairy roads, one of them being the intervention site. It is clear that the traffic connectivity is a force that can not be neglected in the design. Legend Malecon open public space secundairy road intervention site tertiary road connection city-Malecon city grid both tra c directions connected to city
  • 18. LOCATION: glocal scale The site lies in front of the hospital and is currently occupied by Parque Maceo. The boulevard running along the Hospital towards the coast is one of the main shopping and public facilities bou- levards of the city, dividing the Vedado and Centro Habana neighbourhoods.
  • 19. Public artery Boulevard Padre Varela is designed as the public artery that serves both Vedado and Centro Habana with public functions. Wal- king up the hill from the sea, the street provides shops for daily neccesities, school, cultural institutions, an occasi- onal bar, some Peso-food vending windows and most prominent, the towering Hospital.
  • 20. 3m 5m 10 m 15 m 20 m 22 m 1. Topography 2. Morphology
  • 21. 3. Housing 4. Shops
  • 22. 5. Medical 6. Educational
  • 23. 7. Bar / Hotel 8. Cultural
  • 24. LOCATION: local scale The site is bounded by two main car ar- teries and is provided with a important bus stop making it a very public space within the city.
  • 25. Inaccessible island In the current situation, the plaza between the Malecon and San Lazaro is fenced off and only accessible via an underground tunnel underneath the Malecon. In order to acces, first you have to cross the road which makes the fenced off area act like an unaccessible open space, a boundary between the city fabric and the sea.
  • 26. The site is bordered by two very busy roads which make it difficult to acces the space. Furthermore acces to the sea is blocked firstly by the Malecon road and secondly by the wall.
  • 27. Non-representative design “Today, the architectural project is not 2 designed, but negotiated.” Negotiating its way between forces and demands from the sea and the city, the desing will not draw its effect purely from its presence, but from its operative performance within its own context. In- stead of just a representative architec- ture, which is already completed by its own existence, this architecture is an active one, striving to produce effects out of itself. The aim of the design is to actualise virtual qualities inherent in the conditions that exist and the new blurred conditions that get created by the intervention, giving rise to a whole new realisation of becomings. In this active model of coexistence, the fragile boundary between city and sea is not seen as a static line but reconside- red as a constantly shifting zone of di- vergence. It becomes the place where two extremes meet: one the uninhabitable, the unphatomable, the other the epitome of habitation, the pinnacle of human planning and appropriation. Openness versus density. Natural versus manmade. 2 Gausa, Manuel - Guallart, Vicente - Müller, Willy This intermediate place gets affected by - Soriano, Federico - Porras, Fernando - Morales, José (2003) forces from both sides, negotiating the The Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture: City, demands of both entities into a single Technology and Society in the Information Age, Barcelona, yet heterogeneous multiplicity. ACTAR, p. 452.
  • 28. Urban intervention related to sea conditions and human behaviour
  • 29. Wind behaviour Winds are an expression of the weather system that produces different conditions that manifest themselves through fluctu- ations in winds but also in varying sea conditions, from very calm to the seasonal Hurricanes and floods. Wind itself is invisible. Only its effects on dynamic mediation subjects like leaves of a tree or water that gets wrinkled can be seen. In other words, wind needs some- thing to act upon in order to make itself visible.
  • 30. Water behaviour Water is both a visible and a tactile me- dium that is essentially formless and pas- sive, only showing particular qualities when interacting with its surroundings. By designing a fixed mediating substrate, potential virtual qualities inherent in water as a medium will get actualised at different moments and places. They will project themselves upon the mediating ar- chitecture in a symbiotic way, generating a blurred field of interaction between the design and the elements that is in a con- stant state of becoming rather than being.
  • 31. Wind studies
  • 32. Vertical zoning Analogy with ocean tidal pool
  • 33. 1. Spray or splash zone this is the most dry zone, receiving water spray or vapour from the breaking waves only at high tide. This zone oc- casionally gets flooded during storms in 2. High tide zone this zone gets flooded only a few hours a day, when the tides reaches its peak. 3. Mid tide zone mostly submerged, this zone is the bio- tope of small plants and animals that rely on a continuous flow and ebb of the water. This zone is continually in 4. low tide zone almost always submerged, this zone is the biotope of marine vegetation and bigger sealife that rely on water depth
  • 34. Vertical zoning Applied to Havana Flood zone 2250 / 5700 + reef level Spray zone 750 / 2250 + reef level Tidal zone - 150 / 750 + reef level Low tide zone < 150 mm - reef level +5,8m 1. Flood zone +2,3m +0,8m 2. Storm Spray zone -0,2m 3. Tidal zone 4. Low tide
  • 35. Water morphology Inclined tide-flat Calm conditions: will get more and more covered with water as the tide rises. Water flowing up and down this surface creates a thin film that changes the physical appearance of the surface underneath it and shows effects made by sun and wind. Stormy conditions: works as a wavebreaker when the tide lowers and the waveheight reaches 0,8 times the water depth (theoretical breaking point). Inclined wavebreaker Waves will roll up and over this oblique surface and start to break with a forward motion, causing the zone behind this type of wavebrea- ker to flood with water. Vertical wavebreaker The vertical wall will make the wave splash up upon impact, cre- ating a salt vapour splash zone behind it, shaped by windspeed and winddirection. Spray gets produced during high tide, water will only splash over during storms. Declined wavebreaker locks up the wave and redirects it back into sea. No water and no va- pour behind this edge condition.
  • 36. x3 x2 x1 h +0,8m y3 0,8 h -0,2m y2 y1 +2,3m +0,8m -0,2m +2,3m +0,8m +5,8m +2,3m +0,8m -0,2m
  • 37. landscape typologies Windbehaviour and landscape typology smooth The design is conceptually based on the Davenport Wieringa classification system that relates surface roughness to windbe- sea snowcovered plain tide flat desert haviour. smoothly The different ‘landscape typologies’ have open each their own characteristic effect on windbehaviour and are the basis for the beach pack ice morass snowcovered field programmatic and architectural design descisions. open By translating the notion of different windbehaviour on different terrain typo- grass prairie farm field tundra heather logy, a meaningfull architectural model is developed that bypasses the abstract rough notion of wind but incorporates it in its very fundamental internal logic. high crops varied height scattered trees hedges very rough mixed farmfields forest clumps orchards scattered buildings closed large obstacles mature forests villages suburban houses chaotic town center city center irregular forest scattered clearings
  • 38. texture surface topology openness dispersion section plan condition of obstacles characteris- characteristics tics supersmooth single surface almost no open no obstacles condition topological changes smooth single/double fluid topologi- open no obstacles surface surface cal changes condition eld small surface differentiated fluid topologi- open no obstacles irregularities surface cal changes condition medium differentiated occasional semi open surface surface semi-hard obstacles scattered irregularities condition topological medium grouped changes permeable obstacles big surface surface - occasional semi closed orderly placed irregularities obstacles semi-hard and obstacles grouped hard topologi- hardly perme- obstacles cal changes able ings irregular obstacles on hard topologi- semi closed clusters of surface surface cal changes obstacles obstacles hardly perme- clusters of able open space ses chaotic obstacles, extreme closed obstacles surface unclear topological obstacles everywhere surface changes not permeable ings
  • 39. Model studies scale 1:2000 conceptual scale 1:1000
  • 40. Current condition Proposal DIVISION: sea vs. city MERGING: “seaty” The current condition of the site can be Instead of this hard division, the city regarded as “sea versus city”, man vs na- and the sea can be merged into one hy- ture, in which the sea is seen as a hos- brid, symbiotic entity: the “seaty”. tile entity for which mankind needs to be protected. The chosen architectural arti- Seaty proposes a generative, adaptive way culation of this situation is obviously of dealing with the place where these the Malecon wall. This very clearly arti- two extreme ‘landscapes’ meet. Its aim culated borderline separates the city from is to erase the distinction or boundary the sea in a defensive way. The morphology between infrastructure and reef, between of the wall generates a kind of hostile city and landscape, ultimately between pentration by the sea in the form of the land and sea to create a new kind of high splashing waves which suddenly rise blurred open space that supports the over the edge. Obviously, a fluid entity coexistence of multiple forces in one like the sea does not let itself be tamed field. Its mixed, impure nature makes it by such a simplistic model of division. capable of reacting to and creating di- vergent conditions.
  • 41. Multiple boundary lines Blur boundaries per strip Boundary cut in pieces Edge controlled per strip By cutting the continuous line of the Each strip can now be manipulated accor- boundary between land and sea in smaller ding to local conditions concerning wa- pieces which can be dispositioned, a wo- ter penetration / city expansion, crea- ven pattern of strips of land and strips ting a complicated patchwork of land and of watter emerges which is at the same water that is generated out of the line- time heterogeneous and homogeneous, full air strips. Vertical zoning is the first and empty, regular and irregular, open step in the process of control over the and closed. penetration of the water in the city: the This system of strips works as a code, higher a place is relative to the seale- which has an internal order that is vel, the harder it is to get flooded. based on their similar directionality. Accessability is the second major opera- A system of strips is neither exact nor tion. repetitive and is based on adaptation and evolution instead of repetition.
  • 42. Model studies landscape typologies scale 1:200 Landscape 1 - smooth - urban masses - social - ACCES Landscape 2 - uneven - crowd - semi-social - URBAN B
  • 43. l - ACCESS Landscape 3 - rough - group - semi-private - POOL AND WATER PLAZA - URBAN BEACH Landscape 4 - chaotic - personal - intimate - DRESSIGROOMS
  • 44. Model studies masterplan scale 1:500
  • 45. Morphological studies beach Beach morphology composed of inclined planes ... resulting in a gradual flooding of the between diagonal pathways that step down to entire plain starting from the middle... be lowest in the middle of the beach... ... dramatizing the effect of the rising ... untill the nodes themselves also get tide on the usability of the space... flooded during rough weather conditions with higher water levels and waves.
  • 46. ... causing the main connection path over the ... leaving the connection nodes at both ends beach to dissapear slowly from the middle... of the path above water but unconnected... The paths are composed in a diagonal connec- ... rhythm and to generate a patterned ef- tivity whereby each component is put 150 mm fect with the rising water on the surfaces higher then the other in order to generate a between the paths which all have slightly stepped... different slopes.
  • 47. Design methodology Design rules Adaptive mesh refinement: hierarchy of A set of clear rules is implemented to levels of refinement, resolution. generate a coherent design on all scales. Site as a field to operate upon Width of the strip: Based on scale of the horizontal grid of Striation, generating a unidirectional the mesh refinement. field op adjacent strips. 10.000 mm Global Deformation these strips by folding ac- 5.000 mm Glocal cording to inherent and local iterations 2.500 mm Local and singularities, creating a field of 1.250 mm Personal gradients that is composed from bottom- --------------------- up, in a dispositioned way. 1.000 mm Detail 750 mm 500 mm Disposition: 250 mm • the way in which something is placed or arranged, especially in relation to Thickness of the strip: other things. Responding to structural tectonics, based on a 150 mm vertical grid division. By dispositioning - a placement based on relation to other elements in a system Height of control points: rather then absolute coordinates - the Based on 150 mm vertical grid division. design adresses contemporary notions of nonlineair processes and flux in sys- Minimum angle: tems which modernist, rationalised sys- Ramp: 2500 mm / 150 mm = fixed 3’ tems based on local position or classi- cist models based on composition and the hierarchy between parts, do not adress.
  • 48. Design tools Plan: voxeled disposition of strips Section: folding, control points based on 2500 x 2500 x 150 mm grid - Diagonal fold: ramp - Pinched fold: structure - Pull up: capture / release water - Pull down: capture / release water - Wrap: enclose - Cut / bifurcate: 2nd layer
  • 49. 3D-grid: voxels and folds The design is based on a three dimensional grid that guides all deformations into one coherent proportional system. The main deformation tools used are voxels in plan and folds in section. Voxeled in plan dispositioned strips based on a rectan- m m gular grid of 1,25 - 2,5 - 5 - 10 m. 25 00 Folded in section division in height: grid of 150 mm. 150 mm 250 ramp 2500 : 150 ratio 0m m The result is a system of dispositioned elements that together form more than just the sum of their parts. The dialogue grg grid: 2500 x 2500 x 150 mm between two strips generates a difference in morpology that can be used to accomodat programmes like sitting, sheltering, ac- cessability or bordering. adjacent strips get dispositioned in a voxeled manner in plan and by a maximum heightdifference of 150mm for acces- sability in the case of a path
  • 50. widht, height and length of the strip based on grid inclined surfaces connect two flat surfaces in a fold the grid allows for flexibility in dispositioning which the heightdifference between two strips acts as a dialogue results in evolution rather than repetition allowing for activities to take place and resulting in a strong tectonic composition
  • 51. 1. Excavation site
  • 52. 2. Main circulation
  • 53. 3. Urban beach
  • 54. 4. Tidal pool - comp. pool
  • 55. 5. Dressing rooms
  • 56. 6. Structural folds
  • 57. 7. 2nd layer: bridges
  • 58. 8. 2nd layer: diving pool
  • 59. Basic mesh Urban scale grid: 10 x 10 m
  • 60. Mesh refinement 1 Implementation of routing and programs on lower level
  • 61. Mesh refinement 2 Implementation of routing and continu- ation of Malecon road and Padre Varela road on upper level
  • 62. Strip deformation density
  • 63. Plan lower level scale 1:1000 Tidal wave pool Multifunctinal covered space Contained pools Dressing rooms
  • 64. Urban beach Urban beach Contained pools Mangrove Water Park plaza
  • 65. Plan upper level scale 1:1000
  • 66. Sightlines Striated model is unidirectional: open or closed in the lenght of the strip, almost always open in the width. At low tide, the whole site is accessi- ble, by moving through the folded lands- cape, perspectives and vistas constantly change. At high tide, only a small part of the site is accessible, the main circulation paths and nodes that give access to the programs. Visitors do not have the luxury of moving through the landscape, so they have less visual experience. The folds and main access nodes are dispo- sitioned in such a way that main viewli- nes to the open sea are maintained at all times. Views past the piers are important to understand the intervention as a smal- ler space in a bigger whole.
  • 67. Construction Concept of generative adaptive mesh re- Per main strip, the fold can happen in finement: avoidance of any use of coded four substrips. The position of the architectural elements like walls or co- structural fold is based on simple rules lumns. of priority. Structure is integral part of the system: Rules formed from deformations of folded strips. 1. ‘floating’ bridges need to be suppor- ted directly in the outermost strip. Differentiation of structural stresses 2. Additional construction will be placed generates morphogenetive singularities in in the second strip from the side with the system. the longest distance to be spanned. This fold does not have to line up with the By taking a width and thickness of the fol- fold of the adjacent strip but should be ded construction strips that is not nor- dispositioned. mally associated with the width / length 3. Maximum span between folds is 25 m. / thickness ratio of a structural element, 4. Maximum span of floating bridges is the structural pleats and creases bond na- 40 m (pretensioned concrete beams). turally with the other folds and ramps in one coherent system.
  • 68. Model urban scale scale 1:1000
  • 69. Spatial organisation pools Spatial organisation of the pool and beach landscape: site as a landscape rather than a building. People can wander around in between the pools and puddles and if they feel like swimming they can decide to go to one of the changing facilities: - dressing rooms - lockers - toilets - baby facilities distinction between the changing rooms that are connected directly to the con- tained pool area and those that serve the beach and tidal pools, to enhace the na- tural quality of the tidal pools vs. the manmade nature of the contained pool.
  • 70. street / bridge / Malecon circulation through landscape entrance / exit facilities changing rooms toilets lockers entrance / exit facilities circulation through landscape circulation through landscape foot rinse bath foot rinse bath foot rinse bath showers showers showers contained pools tidal pools diving pool lifeguard teachers storage office
  • 71. Plan pool & dressing rooms scale 1:200
  • 72. Sections pool scale 1:200 4 1 2 3
  • 73. Impression pool area seen from competition pool
  • 74. Model pool area scale 1:200
  • 75. Dressing room components morphogenetive evolution rather than re- petition.
  • 76. Section dressing rooms components scale 1 : 50 entrance path, lockers and sitting area entrance to pool via foot dressing rooms pump room competition pool rinse bath and showers SECTION 5: cross section dressingrooms and competition pools SECTION 6: section dressingrooms and urban connection
  • 77. competition pool showers entrance via foot rinse bath under ramp lea- ding to diving pool and bridge deck 1 SECTIONS POOL AREA scale 1 : 50 2 1
  • 78. Section dressing rooms & pool scale 1 : 50 entrance path, lockers and sitting area entrance to pool via foot dressing rooms pump room competition pool rinse bath and showers SECTION 5: cross section dressingrooms and competition pools
  • 79. 2 competition pool showers entrance via foot rinse bath under ramp lea- ding to diving pool and bridge deck
  • 80. Impression pool area seen from Malecon bridge
  • 81. Impression pool area seen from Padre Varela street
  • 82. Impression dressing rooms scale 1:50 Unit morphology and landscape morphology interact.
  • 83. Impression dressing rooms scale 1:50 Strips of different scales: 5 - 2,5 - 1,25 - 1 - 0,75 - 0,5 - 0,25 m
  • 84. Impression dressing rooms scale 1:50 Radicalized topography generates multi- ple use possibilities without dictating a single condition.
  • 85. Materialisation The main materials that are used are: Detailing and materialisation are prima- - concrete in different finishes from rily based on the perception of the forces rough to completely smooth that interact with the design - the wind - copper facade cladding strips and the water. Secondarily, they adress - anodised aluminum railing systems the usual notions of sensory experience. - composite steel and polyester rope wire meshes in different densities according The main concept behind the chosen materi- to different conditions als and the way they are put toghether in - acrylic glass with a external cappilary the details is that the architecture as a void to capture marks of the tide cycle whole - from the big tectonic scale of the on the glass strips down to the smallest scale of the - ship rope railings attachment of a screen - will express the - Azobe hardwood benches and stairs (soft effects and flows of the forces which act materials in wet feet area’s upon the architecture.
  • 86. Technical section dressing rooms scale 1:20
  • 87. 1
  • 88. Technical section dressing rooms scale 1:20
  • 89. 4
  • 90. Sedimentation / growth The details correspond to the microscale of the slow processes of sedimentation, oxidation and crystallisation that will take over the architecture over time. - Growth of algae on rough surfaces.
  • 91. Oxidation / electrolysis The details correspond to the microscale of the slow processes of sedimentation, oxidation and crystallisation that will take over the architecture over time. - Growth of algae on rough surfaces. - Oxidation of copper under influence of the salty and wet milieu.
  • 92. Crystallization / evaporation The details correspond to the microscale of the slow processes of sedimentation, oxidation and crystallisation that willtake over the architecture over time. - Growth of algae on rough surfaces. - Oxidation of copper under influence of the salty and wet milieu. - Crystallisation of salt molecules on the wire meshes which move in the wind
  • 93. Impression salt chrystallisation scale 1:50 - salt crust will form on the meshes under influence of evaporation by the sun.