CCA Club Room 350 Sauchiehall Street Glasgow G2 3JD
SOCIAL FORM VS OPEN CITY
Arquitectos de Cabecera
The New Urban Agenda (Quito, 2016) offers a framework to implement agile actions to resolve “the urban question”. The reactivation of the public space is at the centre of key issues such as poverty reduction (lowering deprivation index); health (bio-remediation applied in contaminated brownfield and vacant lands); co-production (circular economies); crime reduction and education (the city as an open classroom). Active citizens should focus on the co-development of urban design and social technologies between local communities, governments, social enterprises, agencies and other stakeholders.
The main challenge of the New Urban Agenda is to promote the “right to the city” by the enhancement of the public space as dynamic living form, mainly in informal settlements, industrial vacant lands or deprived urban areas. The public space is a dynamic laboratory for urban pattern making, the DNA of evolutionary urbanism that constructs transitory and transformative social forms. The design solutions differ in sizes, shapes and geometries, mainly regarding cultural and topographic conditions.
Architecture is a radical combat, a transgressive and transformative force. Pop up Architecture is neither a political pamphlet nor legendary epic of millions of people that live the ‘other architecture’ of every-day’. It is a manifestation of transgressive heterotopia. Pop up Architecture is Architecture for People, the result of a battle made from scratch. This architecture uses animal intuition. It is animal architecture per se, which results in an “architecture of peripety” or adventures, where transformations occur accidentally. As subversive architecture, it uses the landscape without owning it. This architecture is built stone by stone. It is a rebellious form that does not stop and, in turn, leaves traces. It represents a place of ambiguity and indeterminacy with a complex topologic and topographic meanings of patterns, geometries and forms. Paraphrasing Bernard Rudofsky, ephemeral forms reveals self-build fabrication; aggregative grouping with adjustable configurations; and temporary occupation.
The means of Pop-up Architecture is often associated with temporary, light and chaotic, urban forms that co-inhabit the infrastructure of cities. Lightness, modularity, portability and affordability are the key aspects in chosen cases in the previous section. Like an organism, this architecture is erratic. The act of giving a new life to disused materials is called “repurposing”. This up-cycling process normally does not reveal explicitly how this transformation occurs and instead is left unnoticeable among occupants. The trash-to-cash model is based on:
a. People: Community-led design and self build
b. Matter: Waste as remake material
c. Circular economy: Architecture without pecuniary resources
d. Low-Energy: Building without calories
The co-production of pop-up structures cannot be separated from a transformative cultural landscape. It is not about “how” (surface) but “what” (content), it refers to ethics rather than cosmetics. As eco-designers, we encourage multiple forums to think, play with and construct an intellectual position in relation to the development of our habitats. We conceive the city is an “open lab” that catapults urbanity, whereas urban and architectural forms represent the embodiment of resilient cultures.
The notion of DIY urbanism applied in public spaces obeys to a dual phenomenon of place-making and remaking. It offers immeasurable opportunities to think, play with and make resilient urban structures based on spatial flexibility and programmatic adaptability. Ultimately adaptability refers to use change whilst flexibility denotes any spatial alteration. They are elements in relationship. By following the example Fumihiko Maki (1964) and his idea of “group-form” and Jaap Bakema (1975) with his manifesto of “open society”, I invite radical designers to envision new social, ecological and programmatic structures.
Arquitectos de Cabecera (AC) is a methodology born out of an academic project at ETSAB, the School of Architecture of Barcelona, in 2013. Working on the city and focusing on collective housing, the methodology aims to bring closer the figure of the architect to the citizen. It does so by addressing their needs and demonstrating the architect's utility in society in the midst of an economic and social crisis by generating synergies between universities, social collectives and administration.
AC is the result of architecture students questioning the university teaching model, whilst also addressing shortcomings in different areas. Regarding academia, there is a lack of contact with reality and its challenges. In a social context, there is an emergency concerning the access to housing and its conditions. Within the professional discipline, there is a crisis within the practice as its traditional instruments are not always capable to respond to contemporary cities’ problems.
In response, we aim to empower students and to act on the existing city as a field of work. Through multidisciplinary teams and in direct collaboration with other agents, we propose a ‘bottom-up’ and ‘inside-out’ approach, which focuses on the subject rather than in the object and acts in housing and its community as the first step to transform the city.
 Andersson, C. (2016) Public Space and the New Urban Agenda. Brisbane: The Journal of Public Space, Vol.1 (1), pp. 5-10
 Foucault, M. (1984) Des Espace Autres. Paris: Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité Journal, pp 46-49: http://desteceres.com/heterotopias.pdf [access in 01/03/2016]
 This term was coined by Karl von Frisch to study all elementary structures that animals build, mainly focused on arthropods and birds. We identify similar behavioral patterns in the production of these habitats versus informal dwellings. Frisch, K. (1983) Animal architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.
 Rudofsky, B. (1964) Architecture Without Architects. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Other meaningful references can be extracted from the exhibitions ‘Mostra Di Architettura Spontanea’ by Giancarlo de Carlo, Milan (1951) and ‘This Is Tomorrow’ with Alison and Peter Smithson, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1956).
 Wallace, A. Russel (1912) Influence of Natural Selection upon Sterility and Fertility. Darwinsim: An Exposition of the Theory of Natural Selection with Some of Its Applications (3rd ed.). London: Macmillan, pp. 173–9.
 Maki, F. (1964) Investigation in Collective Form. St. Louis: Washington University Press (special publication 2), pp 14-16. This form evolves from a system of generative elements in space. The key factors are (1) consistent us of available materials; (2) topographic imprint; (3) human scale condition; and (4) sequential development of basic elements.