(Question:) What’s a metaphoric void?
(Answer:) Metaphoric in the sense that their interest or value wasn’t in their possible use…
(Question:) You mean you were interested in these spaces on some non-functional level.
(Answer:) Or on a functional level that was so absurd as to ridicule the idea of function. For example, the places where you stop to tie your shoe-laces, places that are just interruptions in your own daily movements. These places are also perceptually significant because they make a reference to movement space. (…)
G. Matta-Clark, “Splitting the Humphrey Street Building”, interview by Liza Bear, May, 1974, published in Catalogue of Gordon Matta-Clark Exhibition, Museo Nacional, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2006, p165-180 (quote p. 166) First published in Avalanche, December 1974, p.34-37
Past academic year 2016-2017, around 25 students of the Master of Science in Architecture at Faculty of Architecture, KU Leuven, campus Sint-Lucas Ghent/Brussels, signed up to develop their master dissertation project within the Streetscape Territories research collective. The International Master of Architecture provided the opportunity to their students to work within several possible frameworks of expertise of design & research, of which Streetscape Territories was one of them.
We initiated the projects by rethinking the concept of Matta Clark’s Metaphoric Void, as we did not start developing the projects by programme, but rather by studying the spatial qualities and their inherent models of accessibility and accessibility in the present streetscapes. We spent lots of time on site in Barcelona or Havana (a few students worked on a site in Cincinatti, linked to a study abroad programme), talking to local stakeholders and professionals, having working and design sessions among our group and invited crit members, we made initial, midterm, internal and external presentations, to end with an external jury that evaluated the projects. We developed a series of architectural interventions that focused on streetscapes, understood as territorial configurations -embodying a specific model of accessibility and permeability- that can define a different kind of architecture that is sustainable in a social sense. We understand these projects as a contribution to current discourses on collective spaces and how we can give meaning to them in contemporary society.
Our main objective was to do more than make fancy powerpoints and nice lasercut models or pronounce a use materials in a way they were not meant to be, but make architecture that critically questions and triggers new models of accessibility to urban projects: who, when and under which conditions do we provide access to the spaces we design and build?
Unlike our (very) sexy presentations, our focus was not generating flashy representations of a possible architectural intervention, but try to dig deep in the social layers of existing neighborhoods and their multiple communities, who at the end would inhabit and appropriate our architecture.
We want to share a small selection of these projects with you by means of short screenflow presentations. We hope you find these projects for Barcelona and Havana interesting!
HAVANA: AARON SWARTJES
BARCELONA: KONSTANTINOS TATSIS
BARCELONA: ALINA EFIMOVICH
BARCELONA: NICOLAS BORGERHOFF