University of Houston (Michael)



Sep '06 - Nov '08

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    Walden 3 Crit Tomorrow

    ichweiB Dec 10 '06 0

    Here is the outcome of our 3 week study of how to "design" a new city. We have all been a bit discouraged as the program seemed to be similar to one that should really take a whole semester or even a year, but we had to consider it in only 3 weeks. It is really rough with a lot more left to be developed and considered. So, anyhow, here is the board we put together. We couldn't use more than 5 16x16 inch boards, so we decided to run it horizontal:


    My studio prof is a huge writer. He use to be the editor for CITE magazine and still writes reguarly for it. So, he wanted us to all come up with a short written description of our work. Grant, in my group, wrote it up. He kind of gave it a name which I am still trying to figure out what it means:

    A new city. A virgin landscape. There are no natural landforms here (save the distant western mountains) to determine the constructed forms of our city. We are faced with a bleak, blank canvas that is freeing, yet also confounding. How do we shape our new home without natural constraints while also maintaining metropolitan efficiency? A decision: we shall construct a landscape from our urban forms themselves. Our schools and businesses shall shape the local topography. Hills and valleys will rise and fall as the outlines of our structures themselves. Green space shall abound throughout. Welcome to Interra City.

    We should not wish to rigidly predetermine the form of our new “utopia” lest it become stale and soulless. Overall, the form of Interra shall only be determined by a lozenge-shaped grid (developed from the intersection of the Interstate highway and the research facility’s arterial). The actual armature of our city shall meander throughout this grid and be known as the Green Public Thread. This Thread shall wend itself through the structure of our city carrying public green space and transportation lanes with it. Thus, an open environment for public use shall be the literal backbone of Interra, not traffic lanes and bastions of concrete.

    Buildings shall grow along this Thread as the need warrants, yet each will attempt to define a quasi-enclosed space between it and its neighbor. This “embracing” of open space will continue from the large scale to the small. Individual wings and rooms within larger buildings will define and hold three-dimensional free space for Interrans to inhabit and enjoy. Views to the mountainous west shall be maintained if at all possible, but not to the detriment of this space-holding ideal.

    The buildings themselves will incorporate the concepts of multi-layering and multi-usability. Keeping these in mind will increase density within so as to allow more undefined, open space without. Structures will have a loose affiliation as to function (i.e. the “hospital complex”), but will also have integrated residential and commercial space. Private homes and business ventures will therefore be evenly distributed throughout the entire city eliminating the degradation into discrete zones, which only necessitate daily commuting. This will encourage every-day pedestrian traffic and allow for an efficient lifestyle for the inhabitants.

    In short, we intend to create Interra by allowing it the freedom to create itself. A loose framework will guide growth, but, ultimately, the needs of the populace shall be the determining factor – not the forms we impose from the city’s genesis. The lifetime of this city should be as dynamic as the people who live, work and play there.


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