HYBRID CITIES : urban cartographies

[ARCH 202: SPRING 2004]

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PROJECT 01 | INTRO [01 / 14 / 04]
Foggy Bottom <-> Roslyn
Richmond <-> DC <-> Baltimore

'infrastructure': a: An underlying base or foundation especially for an organization or system; b: The basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons.
'system': A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole; b: A functionally related group of elements, especially: The human body regarded as a functional physiological unit; c: An organism as a whole, especially with regard to its vital processes or functions; d: A group of physiologically or anatomically complementary organs or parts: the nervous system; the skeletal system; e: A network of structures and channels, as for communication, travel, or distribution; f: An organized set of interrelated ideas or principles.


The contemporary city is no longer a single, independent entity - it has been bundled up and transformed by infrastructure. It no longer has a discrete and self sustainable center: its center has been dispersed along a series of lines, exploded into many pieces scattered along highways and railways, roads and waterways, bridges and tunnels that connect its disparate parts. It is hard to locate the city nowadays - it is cleverly concealed in what otherwise would normatively not be considered a part of it.
In this first project we will explore the coexistence of the infrastructural and the urban. We will consider the networked city by starting at the scale of a distinct section of Washington and then exploding our investigation out to Baltimore, Richmond and beyond. Theoretically the 'city' that we are investigating could extend up to Boston, down to Miami, across to Chicago and further. We will trace the tentacles of infrastructure that lead this growth and observe the city as it is being transformed into a large scale territory, described by an agglomeration of urban fabric - a system of interconnected cities.

'It is clear that we are dealing with a cross-border system, one that is embedded in a series of cities each possibly part of a different country. It is a de facto global system.'
Saskia Sassen, Global City, in Mutations [p.104]

We will begin in the area of Foggy Bottom and work in a section of land that runs through to Crystal City, via Roosevelt Island, across the Potomac River to Roslyn. We will explore the systems that come together at that particular junction and attempt to untangle the bundle of infrastructure. Each student will select four distinct layers and work towards articulating them in a series of exercises that will range from two dimensional representations through to three dimensional models and abstract digital models.
We will then zoom out into the larger urban condition and consider the systems that make up the District of Columbia at the scale of the agglomeration of the Northeast Corridor. This investigation will center on Washington, but will expand out as far as Richmond and Baltimore. Boundaries are blurred as these cities begin to merge. The distance between them is slowly breached by infill program and sprawl. We will attempt to document this trend by looking at the cartographic layers that map this transition: topographic, demographic, transportation, cultural, recreational, social and political - artificial and natural systems. The flow of money, travelers, traffic, more ephemeral systems of weather and pollution, will become part of this systemic understanding of a networked city.

 
 
PROJECT 01 | PART 01 [01 / 14 / 04]
Foggy Bottom <-> Roslyn

'edge': a: The line of intersection of two surfaces: the edge of a brick; the table's rounded edges; b: A rim or brink: the edge of a cliff; c: The point at which something is likely to begin: on the edge of war; d: The area or part away from the middle; an extremity: lifted the carpet's edge; e: A dividing line; a border: a house on the edge of town.
'analysis': a: To unloose, to dissolve, to resolve into its elements; b: A resolution of anything, whether an object of the senses or of the intellect, into its constituent or original elements; an examination of the component parts of a subject, each separately, as the words which compose a sentence, the tones of a tune, or the simple propositions which enter into an argument.


The edge condition of the Potomac River and the city of Washington DC will be the first site of our investigation. We will consider the site as a set of systemic interactions, as a place where different systems collide and come together to form a new kind of site - one conflated with infrastructure.
The cross section that we will investigate crosses the Potomac River at the height of Roosevelt Island, from the Foggy Bottom metro stop to the Roslyn metro stop. It bridges a series of different conditions on either end and crosses Roosevelt Island.
We will work towards generating analytic maps, layered diagrams and synthetic drawings that reveal the way that infrastructural systems interact with built form and the built landscape.

Wednesday 01_14_04 > Friday 01_16_04:

1. The next couple of days will be devoted to a series of smaller tasks that will allow you enough time to get FULLY SETUP in studio. Computers, drawing boards, materials have to be in place and ready for FULL USE by Friday. In addition you are asked to select a partner from your studio section to work with for the next 2.5 weeks.

DRAWINGS:
2. Once you have teamed up select at least 4 different systems to work with, two from each category, including topography and roads. You are asked to produce a series of four 11" x 17" sheets that display the information that you have collected on these systems. These sheets should contain images, text but primarily your own interpretation of the systems and the way they operate and relate to the site. This is a mandatory research project that you need to complete by Friday in order to proceed with the project. Hand in the four sheets to your critic at the beginning of studio on Friday.

Possible System Categories:

A:
Transportation [car, bus, metro, bike]
Rail
Parks / Recreational / Open Space
Politics / Federal city structure
Water + Hydrology
Urban Transformation
Cultural / Historic landmarks
Geology or other
B:
Population / Demographics
Traffic / Congestion
Power / Electricity
Historical development
Military bases
Airline Routes
Weather / Pollution
Money flow or other
 
READ:
3. William Mitchell, "March of the Meganets", Chapter 1, in e-topia: 'Urban Life, Jim-But Not As We Know it' [2000]

available on: http://www.netlibrary.com/ebook_info.asp?product_id=10156
[log in from UVA network to access]
 
 
PROJECT 01 | PART 02 [01 / 16 / 04]
Foggy Bottom <-> Roslyn
Richmond <-> DC <-> Baltimore

'abstract': a: Considered apart from concrete existence: an abstract concept; b: Not applied or practical; theoretical; c: Difficult to understand; abstruse: abstract philosophical problems; d: Thought of or stated without reference to a specific instance: abstract words like truth and justice; e: Impersonal, as in attitude or views; f: Having an intellectual and affective artistic content that depends solely on intrinsic form rather than on narrative content or pictorial representation.


Friday 01_16_04 > Monday 01_19_04

For Monday each team will work towards abstracting the information that it has collected and begin interpreting it. One of the challenges of this exercise is to represent your ideas and infuse your drawings / tracings with a critical interpretation and a personal opinion. You will ask yourselves questions, begin juxtaposing seemingly unconnected layers and see the result of these juxtapositions. Your drawings will begin as tracings and eventually will be transformed into opinions that you have about the site that you are investigating.

DRAWINGS:
1. Analyze the information that you have collected and begin generating a series of tracings that reveal the way these systems are organized. How do they operate? What do they interact with? Are they independent or interdependent? Is there a way that they relate to one another? How do they affect the development of built form in the area?
Work on a series of four 11" x 17" printouts and / or tracings. All these layers should be overlays and delaminations of your site and systems, in an attempt to understand the different components that are at play.
2. Develop a series of four 11" x 17" analytic drawings that cease to be descriptive and become interpretive. You should begin juxtaposing seemingly unconnected layers, systems that would ordinarily not be considered as interconnected. Are new relationships revealed? Could you use new terms to describe the new 'map' that you are developing?
Consider various themes that describe your drawings: layering, rhythm, flow, movement, density, volume, structure etc. Could one look at traffic as rhythm or hydrology as a varying flow? Could you explore these systems as layers? Or are they different elements that lie adjacent to one another? How does one represent these themes?
Work in Photoshop to begin overlaying the maps and diagrams that you produce and begin experimenting with a couple of ideas that you are considering. As part of this exercise attempt to give a title to each of your drawings.

MODEL:
3. Experiment by making an abstract physical model. This should be approximately 11" x 17" in size. Try different materials and techniques, to express your ideas.


WRITING:
4. Write a thesis statement. This is a first attempt at articulating your ideas about the site. It should be a short piece of text printed on an 8.5" x 11", maximum 200 words. Keep it simple! You will be updating this often and using it as a resource for ideas and concepts.


READINGS:
[be prepared to discuss and present the following two readings - all readings in: Olmsted/Projects/ARCH202_DC_Materials]

5. James Corner, "The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention, in Mappings, Denis Cosgrove [editor] [1999]
6. Rem Koolhaas, "The New World", in WIRED Magazine, June 2003

 
 
PROJECT 01 | PART 03 [01 / 19 / 04]
Foggy Bottom <-> Roslyn
Richmond <-> DC <-> Baltimore

'abstract': a: Considered apart from concrete existence: an abstract concept; b: Not applied or practical; theoretical; c: Difficult to understand; abstruse: abstract philosophical problems; d: Thought of or stated without reference to a specific instance: abstract words like truth and justice; e: Impersonal, as in attitude or views; f: Having an intellectual and affective artistic content that depends solely on intrinsic form rather than on narrative content or pictorial representation.

Monday 01_19_04 > Wednesday 01_21_04
[continuing in teams]

MODELS:
1. Work in physical model to generate a series of analytic models investigating the issues that you concentrated on in the previous set of exercises. You should generate at least four 8.5" x 11" sketch models. Make sure you represent landform and water. The site has a couple of very characteristic elements that you cannot omit: the river, section, built fabric. You could consider generating a base model with a series of smaller plug-ins that allow you to investigate your ideas.
2. Take one of the ideas that you worked on in your sketch models and develop a larger analytic model approximately the size of an 11" x 17" sheet. Once again remember to represent the water and the terrain. Think about the materials that you are going to use. How could you abstract a highway, or a railway line, could you use copper tubing or wire? Could you use plastic to represent transparency? Are there certain points that you would like to emphasize?
In some cases you may need to extend beyond the 11"x 17" size in order to reveal the infrastructural tentacles that extend further.

DRAWING:
3. Generate a new 'map' that describes the area of investigation according to your explorations. This is a local map, which describes the parameters that you have analyzed in our site - it is not a drawing that necessarily resembles Washington DC. You should print this on an 11" x 17" or larger sheet of paper and make sure you 'turn off', or make 'transparent' the topographical and aerial layers. This is a drawing that isolates the focus of your investigations and generates a new way of seeing the infrastructural information that you have been working with.

WRITING:
4. Update your thesis statement.

 
 
PROJECT 01 | PART 04 [01 / 21 / 04]
Richmond <-> DC <-> Baltimore

'zoom': <graphics> To show a smaller area of an image at a higher magnification ("zoom in") or a larger area at a lower magnification ("zoom out"), as though using a zoom lens on a camera. Unlike in an optical system, zooming in on a computer image does not necessarily increase the amount of detail displayed since this is limited by what is actually stored in the image. Similarly, you cannot zoom out beyond the full size of the image.
'scale': A system of ordered marks at fixed intervals used as a reference standard in measurement: a ruler with scales in inches and centimeters; b: An instrument or device bearing such marks; c: A standard of measurement or judgment; a criterion; d: A proportion used in determining the dimensional relationship of a representation to that which it represents: a world map with a scale of 1:4,560,000; e: A calibrated line, as on a map or an architectural plan, indicating such a proportion; f: Proper proportion

We will now zoom out to a larger regional scale. This final set of exercises is intrinsically connected to the previous investigations of the Foggy Bottom <> Roslyn site. This time however, you are asked to connect the systems that you previously investigated into a larger context. The waterways, highways and geological maps that you analyzed actually extend beyond the boundaries of the 11" x 17" sheet of paper that we previously used - this exercise asks you to reveal these more extensive connections through the systems that you are already familiar with.
Cities, sites, points on a map do not exist in isolation. As your investigations have revealed, the systems that pass through any site allow it to connect and network through a series of points and lines to other locations. Cities are connected - they are not independent or walled, they are not singular points on a map. We will refocus our explorations to the infrastructural corridor that connects Richmond to Baltimore and passes through Washington DC.

Wednesday 01_21_04 > Friday 01_23_04
Your assignment for Friday will be research based and you will continue working in the teams that you have already formed. Make a point of locating the previous site in ALL your drawings as a line, a point, a mark.
You should work on completing the following:

DIAGRAMS:
1. Collect information on the larger scale ramifications of the systems that you have previously explored. You can extend as far out as you need to. The aim however, is to trace the movement / flow / path of the systems that you are focusing on.
Working in the computer, generate 2 analytic diagrams. These should be developed in Photoshop as a combination of hand-drawn and computer generated drawing. Print these out on two 11" x 17" sheets.
2. Experiment by scanning and placing a drawing as an underlay in Form-Z and exploring the possible three-dimensional qualities of your drawings. [In Form-Z: Window > Underlay > Show Underlay (select "In Projection Views" and leave the scale as is) > Select Underlay File (.jpg image of your drawing or map) > Click OK (in the main modeling window - View TOP and select FIT)]. This is an abstract digital model that asks you to investigate the spatial relationships of the systems you are working with. It could be a series or a bundle of lines, a new terrain, a new field that you generate through the understanding of the systems that you have researched. Generate an axonometric printed out on an 11" x 17".
3. Work on a physical model - 11" x 17" in size - that represents these qualities. This is not a physical representation of your Form-Z model, but a material investigation into the qualities of the systems that you are investigating.

WRITING:
4.
Update your thesis statement. This is still the same piece of text that you have been working on. Reevaluate your ideas in light of this change of scale and reposition your argument accordingly. In some cases, your thesis may have radically changed.
 
 
PROJECT 01 | PART 04 [01 / 23 / 04]
Richmond <-> DC <-> Baltimore

'bundle': a: To tie, wrap, or gather together; b: To dispatch or dispense of quickly and with little fuss; hustle: bundled the child off to school; c: To dress (a person) warmly: bundled them up in winter clothes.
'synthesis': The combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole; b: The complex whole so formed; c: Chemistry: Formation of a compound from simpler compounds or elements; d: Philosophy: Reasoning from the general to the particular; logical deduction.

Friday 01_23_04 > Monday 01_26_04
[continuing in teams]

DIAGRAMS / MODELS:
1. Work on a series of four analytic diagrams that investigate your thesis and research intentions about the corridor. These diagrams should be computer generated and hand drawn. Use Form-Z and/or Photoshop to generate them and print them out on 11" x 17" sheets. You should then work into them, overlaying more hand-drawn information.
2. Select the drawing that best describes your thesis and produce one 12" x 24" drawing of this new 'map'. Note the location of the Foggy < - > Roslyn site. Work into this drawing multiple times by hand, re-scanning, re-drawing, overlay more information to give it depth. Use it as an underlay to a model [12" x 24" in size] that investigates the possibility of a new terrain - a new topography that is described by your research. Could population density generate a new terrain? Could traffic volume generate a new topography?
3. Focus on a particular point of interest - an intersection, a moment of increased density or volume, a point of convergence. Zoom into and analyze the local condition at that point/region. Generate an 11" x 17" drawing and model that investigate the intersection.

WRITING:
4. Update your thesis statement.

READINGS:
[be prepared to discuss and present the following two readings to your class - all readings in Olmsted/Projects/ARCH202_DC_Materials]

5. JB Jackson, "The Word Itself" [1984] and "By way of Conclusion: How to Study the Landscape" [1980], in Landscape in Sight: Looking at America [1997], ed. Helen Horowitz, 299 - 306
6. JB Jackson, "By way of Conclusion: How to Study the Landscape" [1980], in Landscape in Sight: Looking at America [1997], ed. Helen Horowitz, 307 - 318

 
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