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Collaborations: The Latest Architecture and News

Reinvent or Die: The Transformation of Malls Under The New Economic/Urban Paradigm

In this collaboration, the Spanish office Ecosistema Urbano analyzes the rise and fall of the shopping centers as an authentically American typology of the twentieth century and with commercial success in the rest of the world, although it does not undergo significant changes in "its spaces, solutions, and elements."

According to the authors, this typology is currently undergoing an inflection due to the new economic and urban paradigms that force them to reinvent themselves or die. They plan a series of revitalization strategies in a mall in the outskirts of Barcelona (Spain) that seeks their "reconfiguration through the introduction of new programs in an attempt to convert it into a much more public space, being able to attract users who would otherwise not come."

Full article after the break.

El centro comercial Santa Monica Place, que gracias a la sostenibilidad de su transformación ha recibido la certificación LEED. Image Cortesía de Macerich (Creative Commons)The US automotive culture fostered the trend of suburban shopping malls. Image via Malls of AmericaLa comida como catalizador social. Image Cortesía de Ecosistema UrbanoEdificio para experimentar y descubrir.. Image Cortesía de Ecosistema Urbano+ 13

Students at UIC Barcelona Create 1:1 Plans of Famous Buildings

In early 2016, we introduced Vardehaugen, a Norwegian office that created a series of life sized drawings of their projects in their own backyard. After publishing this exercise on our site, Spanish architect and academic Alberto T. Estévez reached out to tell us that this same exercise has been carried out at ESARQ (UIC Barcelona) for the past 10 years with second and third year architecture students. According to Estévez, the exercise "represents something irreplaceable: it brings you closer to experiencing life-sized spaces of classic works of architecture" from the Farnsworth house to José Antonio Coderch's Casa de la Marina.

About 10 years ago I had an idea for a special teaching exercise, one that I thought would be interesting and instructive at the same time. So I started doing the practice class we’ve been talking about with architecture students in their second and third year of study at ESARQ (UIC Barcelona): the School of Architecture, which I founded 20 years ago as the first Director at the International University of Catalonia.

Now, we do the lesson every year in the Architectural Composition class that I teach, which discusses the theory and history of architecture.

Coderch Building. Image © Alberto T. EstévezCoderch Building. Image © Alberto T. EstévezCoderch Building. Image © Alberto T. EstévezCoderch Building. Image © Alberto T. Estévez+ 25

The Importance of Sketches as a Form of Representation

Sketches are analog tools of representation, where the drawings' imperfections come from the artist, skewed by their way of seeing the world. Academia, especially in architecture, often calls for quick drawings to demonstrate ideas that words can’t describe, and constant practice on everyday items like napkins, the backs of notebooks or loose sheets of paper preserves ideas and makes way for the use of journals. Journals can be used to remember design processes or journeys and for learning. I have included a selection of my drawings from trips at the end of this article, in order to encourage readers to practice this method.

Expressing an idea is something anyone can do, whether it's through drawings, words or creating figures. The hands are often used as a mediator between thought and reality: "... drawing is where thought has a direct relationship with action, with your hand, with the experience of your body."

Beginning of the abtraction of an object in 3 steps. Image © Sebastián Bayona JaramilloInterior of the Alworth de Marcel Breuer house. Chimney highlighted with textures. Image © Sebastián Bayona JaramilloBasilica of Santa Maria Novella / Florence. Image © Sebastián Bayona JaramilloFlorence Cathedral (Duomo) / Florence. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo+ 15