HyperAlicante / hiddenoffice

Courtesy of

hiddenoffice has submitted their proposal, HyperAlicante, for the Spainish coastal city of Alicante to us here at ArchDaily. Wildly ambitious in scale, see more of this design after the jump as well as a explanatory narrative by the architects.

Courtesy of hiddenoffice

The economic development of Alicante which has led to a large building growth, without the mediation of a proper urban planning. Consequence of this is to the disappearance of his identity as a maritime city, public space, intended as a heart of relations of community life, a clear separation of the port and the rest of the city.

Courtesy of hiddenoffice

The strategy is born as a criticism of the lack of public spaces and the boundaries set by a succession of uncontrolled urban development, and the intention to refund those feelings and emotions that arise from the relationship with the sea, belonging to a city of Alicante. The idea focuses on the development of the confrontation between the old and new, with the intention to re-store the freedom that certain manifestations of generalized logic of profit tends to stifle development by building unplanned. Implementing an enhancement of the landscape that is realized through a model of stratification, thus keeping unchanged the sense of reality and the image of the place with which the project interacts.

Courtesy of hiddenoffice

The intention is to establish an urban mixité who currently consists rather in an organization based on the strict division between public and private property. The intent is to re-activate objects architectural and urban systems without following a preexisting order, but trying to instituting a new relationship between the built and the time, continuously searching for new scenarios that are born, grow and change inside the processes of modification the society and its communication mechanisms. The relationship between infrastructure and the port wants to give meaning to both parties.

Courtesy of hiddenoffice

The intervention is formally and linguistically distinct from the place where it is engaged, but it bound by a state of necessity, as the soil and its significance, with the intention of returning to it all those characteristics that had made in the past center of social life. The concept originated from the desire to return to the city public spaces, working in reverse to the current urban design. From analysis of roads and squares have been carrying out a full reversal of the facts on the study of empty areas in front of the port area.

Courtesy of hiddenoffice

The result has been the idea of a grid, superimposed on the coast, virtually infinite, and no hierarchy of recognizable geometric constant hosted functions as a horizontal city, growing at a variable height above sea level, depending on the area and function with which it relates. Above is provided for a public space where you can give life to many different events, which just for its features of changeability and uncertainty, puts a strain on any notion of form expressed by the final arrangements, thus leaving room for more unimaginable and non-programmable tasks social. The structure that make up our project is a grid network that can be coated with various materials allowing variations and compositions ever changing, thanks to their modularity, and allow the integration of technologies for energy production is present, that in the future, thanks to freedom of composition which can propose such a solution.

Courtesy of hiddenoffice

The whole structure is supported by pillars that serve at the same time supports and vertical links, linking functions that are inside, with what is above or below, therefore, assuming an attitude of close relationship to the existing, with which establishes a relationship of dependency and social space, but not functional without mediation of identity, in this manner freeing herself from the necessity of interpretation and updating of existing, and at the same time proposing a possible new model of urban growth.

Site Plan

The program that controls the functions within the organization, wants to leave the maximum freedom of configuration according to those who are socioeconomic dynamics dictated by the market forces, such as a constantly evolving site, which is not defined by the architecture itself but from the composition within the structure.

This division between public and private space is configured so that the public is fully viable, has a continuity and circularity, while private space is always in places where the continuity of the movement is not possible.

Cite: Jarz, Hank. "HyperAlicante / hiddenoffice" 31 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=107622>
  • toty

    here we have a mix of two conceptual proposals of Brazilian architects? hybrid of Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Andrade Moretti Architects!
    the discourse of Brazilian architecture always present, only the lack Recognize the credit!

    • D

      i doubt that that is the source material. its a bad rip of constant’s new babylon crossed with yona friedman. this is a pretty common school project. i certainly did one. im obsessed with brazilian architecture. i just dont think that is where this is coming from.

      • alechs

        Yeah. This is cliche with a capital C.

        While one might find these projects conceptually driven, they are usually not conceptually potent. One could find similarities with ‘high-concept’ films where the world depicted is governed by very unusual rules and situations (a world where no one can lie, a world where everyone’s IQ is very low, etc). The value/mileage of the narrative comes from novelty and consistency over richness and depth. A lot of contemporary architecture only increases in complexity but never grows beyond the initial idea (which to be cynical usually comes from a simple volumetric diagram). For any project like this I would usually give merit for the amount of work done over the maturity of the design execution.

  • fred

    Alechs is right on target, for my money.

    Proposal is saturated with academic speak where impact/innovation (reflecting thought only up to concept level) is attempted to somehow be legitimized via the cliche (aka arcane visual and textual) language. This thing is theory only.

    Malevich, Yona, Corb and Venice, Team Ten are all legit precedent references, though these various architects developed their ideas as thought models/prototypes.

    Distinction from these is that here somehow the illustration/pasteup capacities of the computer attempts mightily to validate the nontheory component of this particular proposal, which does not exist. la Rocha connection I do not get.

  • JayM

    Wow, such negative comments! Labeling projects a cliche or “a common school project” is not exactly constructive. What’s wrong with ideas and utopias?

    Sure, the description is quite poetic, but maybe that’s their style. If architecture was only about cold, logical descriptions, perfect designs and scientifically true concepts, I would be bored to death.

    I quite like the idea and think that it has a lot of potential.

    • alechs

      I don’t think we were being completely negative – I do give the project merit but not for its intellectual capacities.

      Here are some criticisms for the sake of conversation:
      1) the idea is a cliche and has been done before: the truth is, while true originality is not very common in architecture, this type of project will always creep into all end of year academic reviews. If this came out in the 1960s or 1970s they would get a book written about them like Yona, Corb and Venice, Team Ten, and Superstudio. To be blunt, this has all been done before in one form or another – this iteration is timely to our era – and what you see above is the conceptual end of the project. You can add complexity to make the proposal seem slightly more feasible but you would only be going through the motions of production expected of what has come before.

      2) Since the 1970s, these types of projects (including megastructures and mat buildings) were considered dystopias. Any 1960s optimism for structuralism was heavily satirized from the 1980s onwards until architecture’s recent rekindled flirtation with infrastructure and megalomania. “The result has been the idea of a grid, superimposed on the coast, virtually infinite, and no hierarchy of recognizable geometric constant hosted functions as a horizontal city,” – this personally sounds like an urban nightmare.

      3) I’ve have been to buildings like this project in the real life – real mat buildings interconnected by elevated enclosed pedestrian catwalks – and they are some of the most dated and ugliest structures I have ever seen. They are high maintenance expenditures that resemble the mechanical passageways between airport and airplane. Urban public and private territories must not be so rigidly separated but interwoven so that they feed off each other. A common mistake of architects is to read cities simply as morphological form rather than economic flow. Urbanism is about generating activity for architecture to feed off of.