United Streetscapes

PD-r, urban emergent processes, link NYHub

As part of radically changing geopolitical relationships at a global scale, tensions of a nationalistic and protectionist nature arise increasingly, often affecting the actual built environment we use and inhabit. As more nations, regions, cities or neighborhoods discuss how to close their borders and restrict access for the ones they might not know, changes occur at an immediate architectural level, where we see more and higher fences, more walls or multiple security-checks appear, while high resolution video surveillance and high-tech face recognition systems are in place 24/7, restricting access to the general public, and this way also eroding the public realm. The future of architecture is defined by its way of dealing with accessibility and permeability.

The master dissertation project within the Streetscape Territories framework will focus on the challenged accessibility and permeability in architectural landscapes and focus this year (after previously working on post-industrial landscapes in Brooklyn 2013-2018) on the site around the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States.

The idea is to develop and design an alternative architectural model for an open embassy, working within the hypothesis that a new diplomatic building would be developed within the United Nations area, specifically for citizens that are denied access to certain countries, refugees, displaced ethnic groups, unheard minority groups etc. The building would be conceived as a fully collective space and as an extension of the surrounding New York streetscapes.

Each student is required to develop an individual landscape and architectural project to address this programme.

Streetscape Territories is the name given to an international research and design practice that focuses on architecture and the transformation of the urban fabric, considering its streetscapes the protagonists. The practice deals with the way architectural artefacts, open space, the property structure and its inherent accessibility and permeability configure streetscapes and how their inhabitants can give meaning to them.

In this project, the social dimension of architecture and landscape is central in spatial analysis, architectural design and critical reflection.

This project focuses on the territorial organization of streetscapes, explored in different contexts, studied as part of different cultures and defined by different social networks.

Multiple cases, operating at the intermediate scale, are subject of analysis and design. Workshops, design studios, master dissertations are linked to the current research projects in New York, Havana, Addis Abeba, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Barcelona.

The research and design project starts from the assumption that streetscapes are subject of constant negotiation, part of scenarios of uncertainty on a social, cultural, political, economical and environmental level.

The project pronounces a discourse on the meaning of contemporary architecture in streetscapes and related urban fabric.

Streetscape Territories deals with models of proximity within a street, neighbourhood or region and starts from the assumption that urban space, from the domestic scale till the scale of the city, can be understood as a discontinuous collective space, containing different levels of collective use that are defined by multiple physical, cultural or territorial boundaries.

Examples of  previous years

Iwo Borkowicz, Vytautas Lelys, Arnout De Schryver, Hannes Van Damme, Yannick Bontinckx, Ruben Janssens, Bahareh Rezaee, Maros Somora, Gitte Schreurs, Michal Janak

Read more on http://internationalmasterofarchitecture.be/2018-19-int-ma-master-dissertation-presentations-june-5-6/

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