Urban Charte of Principles.

2009_David Bottos - Pedro Ruiz Delbreil




Infrastructure must be understood as a broad term, a cluster web, a new, largely invisible type of materiality. It has a critical resonance, a direct reach or extensivity into the adjacent material environment that no architecture alone can approximate. Communication, transmission of energy and information as vital systems have different degrees of visibility: roads, cables and waves. Concentration by means of vertical scheme tries to distribute cables and pipelines as the skyscraper optimizes energy reservoirs, from the electrical power substations, the centre of processing of information, the gas and water tanks to domestic devices. Technical walls will be constructed in that cluster web together with the communication tracks where all the lines will be separated vertically and connected both sides: urban exterior side and domestic interior side.





The city is a living organism and, as such, the process of analysis and definition of its systems would be impossible without using models that, in spite of their simplicity, allow us to analyze the urban functioning. With this assumption in mind, we consider the cluster as the basic unit of the city. The cluster is a portion of the urban space defined by the distance that a person can cover without needing public or private transportation: from a quarter to half an hour walking, corresponding approximately to a couple kilometres in distance. A group of clusters forms the urban area. Seen in this way the vision of the city will be double:- From the big scale to the small scale, in other words "think globally, act locally" which is translated in the town planning language as "think territory to articulate clusters"; - From the small scale to the big scale, from the perception level of the inhabitant, we can affirm "create routes, to form clusters".The cluster constitutes the micro scale of the city and can be compared to the scale of the neighbourhood where the citizen can find a place where he is identified. It is the level of the daily life: residence, education, health, leisure, trade and sociocultural services. It is based on routes taken by the citizen; these routes allow citizens acess to other clusters, to the road links of the city and to its links with the exterior, the stations of public transport. The territorial scale (macro), made up by districts, the municipality or the agglomeration, consists of the articulation of the clusters. The above mentioned articulation takes root in the permeability of the urban net: the streets of every cluster connect with those of its environment and try to avoid breaking phenomena. This assumes that communication infrastructures, conceived as a network, have to be treated in a compatible way with the urban net: urban boulevards, routes for cars and pedestrian paths are articulated with the communication routes of the clusters. The ordination of the clusters is based in five principles: territorial insertion, the fluid city, the organization of multicentrality, the pedestrian scale and the perception identity.





The urban shape has to be adapted to the existing forms. More than pre-established geometries (reticulated, concentric, stellar …), and formed on a space considered virgin, we prefer to use the existing forms as starting point traces: in the rural environment, using relief, hydrography, vegetation and landscape values; in the urban environment, analyzing the ancient buildings and the social utilization of the space. In short, we have to look for social and physical prints inherited from history and from nature, to make the impact of the intervention as light as possible.





Both the creation of routes and the articulation of clusters have to be based on spatial permeability. This concept includes:- Space planning based on communication tracks, trying to avoid the fragmentation and sectorization; using the free space as a conductive thread of the urban form. - Connection planning in a multidirectional form, in the centre as well as in the suburbs. Infrastructure is big, ubiquitous and foundational; it is water, fuel and electrical reservoirs, routes and rates of supply. The exfoliations of cluster grid amplify their gestures to macroscopic, sometimes even scales; they think and act boldly even when working in miniature, because they work within the material of the grid itself. - To solve the inevitable sectorizations created by streets, multiply the crossing ways and especially articulate them with the existing or projected routes.To fight against the social segregation and the differences that the global city produces we prefer an approach based on the connection between spaces: using permeability to communicate the isolated neighbourhoods and to reduce the segregation between spaces that have different socioeconomic levels.





Because of phenomena such as massive urbanization and worldwide migration we believe that the city will continue to expand and that the only way to control this is by organizing urban development with the multicentrality. This means creating areas not only in the historic centres but also in the periphery, where edification density decreases. We try to articulate this multicentrality in the following way:- Public transportation stops are the connections between different clusters, that is to say the step to the urban dimension where a mean of transportation (public or private) becomes necessary. Urban elements like public and private equipments, commercial areas and other tertiary urban equipments will be located around these stops. - Starting from these areas the density is organized in a plurilinear way, following the axis of the free spaces as urban gaps and communication ways. Density is not to be considered in a dogmatic way but only as a tool: the possibility of using heterogeneous forms is not excluded if they are considered healthy for the urban system. - The concentration of uses with attraction capacity around the centres mustn’t be confused with a new form of zoning, what we are trying to do is to increase the mixture of uses, by reducing the distance between the different areas or, if not possible, implanting secondary centres and developing communication.





We assume the current trend towards the reduction of car traffic in the city as the major contribution of urbanism to fight against the climatic change. We assume the impossibility of thinking about city planning without the presence of the car with its exponential occupation of space, for circulation and for parking, together with the deterioration of the environment that comes with it. Quite on the contrary, public transport adds a social role to mobility: the integration of motorized groups with ones that don’t have a private vehicle. This approach is completely opposed to the logic of personal comfort: for its implementation the project is not enough, a political need will be necessary. The biggest characteristic of this level of urban shape consists in the trace of a street frame of proximity, with a limited width and many crossing points, that isn’t affected by traffic congestion but, on the contrary, it dissuades the use of private vehicles. This pedestrian street net carries the creation of areas of limited dimensions, preventing the creation of big areas that generate massive buildings. The reduction of length of the edification fronts also stimulates the permeability of the fluid city.





Opposing the current trend of architecture, more oriented towards spectacular design than towards the optimization of buildings and spaces, we prefer an architecture that creates intimate environments and is thought as the continuity of urban space. Our aim is to focus citizens towards the identification of their everyday life, integrating elements of their own urban identity such as the reutilization of ancient and degraded buildings, a specific and easily recognizable monument, a free space treatment specially projected for a specific cluster. Architecture appears in this moment, considered as the result, the derivation of a way of thinking and of an acting process in the territory; it is the mixture between specific functionality and the role that has in the society. It isn’t the imposition of a form but the result of an intention.