UAS II Urban Architecture Studio (II): Re-Inhabiting The City 

ARCH 572 | Spring 2014
Visiting Professor Adolt Sotoca 


The  City  has  always  been  an  ever-­‐changing  reality  where  new  strata  are  added  to  existing ones.  The  recycling  of  already  urbanized  land  and  implemented  infrastructure  seems,  today more  than  ever,  the  prevailing  trend  for  future  urban  development.  Contextual  reading  and comprehensive timeline, being key factors in city recycling, will be the main focus of UAS-­‐II.

Urban Architecture Studio (UAS) will test on Chicago the designing techniques and methodologies that have been a common practice in recent urban regeneration processes in European cities, thus challenging the European approach into the American context.

The studio will pay special attention to the processual dimension of Urban Architecture, both at City & Building scales. Students will draft, first, the Urban Layout for a program of mixed-­‐ use redevelopment -­‐aprox. scale 1:1000-­‐ and, second, they will develop at the architectural scale–aprox. scale 1/200-­‐ a design for a relevant area of the urban design.

The site is located in Chicago, in the southeast sector of the city, between 18th and 24th Streets and Dan Ryan to Lake Shore Drive. The area constitutes an exciting field for city-­‐ regeneration, full of a diverse set of urban conditions: morphological re-­‐addressment, Infrastructural optimization and public space are essential components for the urban future of the area. They will be intensively explored during the semester. 

UAS-­‐II will use the most recent European experience in urban regeneration as a corpus from where to infer lessons on urban architecture. Abundant information about paradigmatic case studies will be distributed and analyzed in the frame of the studio. The semester will be structured in two phases, being the collective work an essential component of the Studio:

Beginning to midterm review: Students will work in two-­‐members teams and will draft the urban design layout for the site, paying special attention to contextual reading and to the  phasing  and  timeline  of  implementation.  Work  on  physical  models  and implementation diagrams will be especially encouraged.

 Midterm to final review: Each member of the group will develop individually one specific spot of the area. However, a good team understanding will remain relevant during this second stage. We will focus on the design strategies that, taken at architectural scale, have a close relation with the urban design layout. Ground floor plans  and  morphological  meaning  of  architectural  typology  will  be  intensively discussed during this phase.

The main goal of the studio is to promote a comprehensive understanding of architecture in a wide range of scales. UAS claims for the capacity that Architecture has in designing not only buildings but also urban environments. Therefore, UAS provide the following apprenticeship:

Generic competences

Methodology for a rigorous graphic analysis of given data.

Skills  for  an  intentional  reading  of  the  existing  reality  bringing  analysis  beyond description.

Graphic skills for design and communication. Specific competences

Designing methodologies and techniques of architecture at urban scale.

Technics of basic urban composition designing principles.

Basic technical knowledge of landscape “as built” projects.

Knowledge of basic urban regulation tools applied to the control of urban morphology.

Basic culture of urban scale case-­‐studies, giving special relevance to projects recently developed in Europe.