This project was developed during the course ‘In motion surroundings’ as part of the program ‘Games of equilibrium’ developed by Blanca Lleó’s design unit at ETSAM School of Architecture.
Given the swing as object of analysis, two families of movements were studied through it. First of all, the intrinsic movement of the swing itself, the one that the user does to activate the action of swinging. This movement is generated by the variation of the relative position of two points: head and feet. Then, the extrinsic movement of the swing, which would combine all the exterior forces that directly affect to the movement of the swing, such as the Coriolis effect, although they are sometimes imperceptible.
This second family of movements opened a deeper question into the concept of swings: weightlessness. The design process was developed by a series of “artifacts” produced as a result of the previous analysis, experimenting with the concept of gravity and searching for chained movements that would alter relative positions of small pieces or objects.
All of these movements in models and artifacts were mapped and drawn so as to get an approximation to a possible architectural view. Multiple scales were tested, from a furniture-object scale to an outer space satellite structure, but always keeping same principles in mind.
Finally, in a more accurate approach to the precise scale and function of this architecture, the ‘Reactivating capsules for unstable urban contexts’ were developed.
Traditional cities all over the world tend to expand horizontally, and in places such as New York or Tokyo, the private ground is far larger that the public ground. But as we start moving upwards from the ground level the city starts to fluff, leading to a gradual fading of the borders of the city itself. And it is here where extremely interesting interstitial and unstable spaces appear.
These unstable spaces have never been considered as a matter of design, treated as leftovers from the buildings that conform the city itself. It is where pigeons live, where the cloth lines are, the air conditioners blow or the chimneys cough. But it is also where the relation among buildings happened. Where we can see our neighbors from the other side of the street living their lives.
These capsules would create a multi connected network of public spaces suspended over the city. They could be attached to the actual façades of the preexisting buildings as well as move from one building to another. A new real and physical network of uplifted public spaces would be established, besides the ground level, that would provide a completely new vision of our cities. We will not see our cities from the ground or from the safety of our buildings anymore. We will experience our cities inwards, from their inside.
Inside of these capsules we feel inside of an infinite network, even though the capsules are physically isolated one from the other. It is its transparent membrane skin and its tensegrity structure what lets us see through and loose the perception of the space limits. The capsules are not conceived as spacial units, but defined by all the possible connections -visually, physically and virtually- with their surrounding environment and the other elements that conform this system.
Status: School Project
Location: New York, NY, US
My Role: Designer & developer