Architecture Design Option Studio (D'Hooghe/Grauer) — Bogota, Colombia Studio: Designing Public Spaces and Urban Typologies based on flows of Water, People, and Goods as related to Infrastructure

Limited to 10 / Mandatory lottery process
Required of: 
MArch students

This design research studio is an international collaboration between MIT Dept. of Architecture and two universities in Bogotá, Colombia: The Universidad de Los Andes and the Universidad de la Salle.

The objective of this course is to reconceptualize the interrelation between water and mobility infrastructures in urban environments as a means to reshape urban development patterns, first by studying the logics of water and development at a territorial scale, and second, by focusing on the opportunities to achieve a more balanced, equitable, eco-friendly, prosperity-inducing development pattern. A deeper understanding of the relation between supply, distribution, and recycling of water and infrastructures fueling urban growth, will lead to a redefinition of urban infrastructure layouts, aimed at how to make the best use of existing bodies of water, how to maintain and replenish those in need, and to envision ecologically friendly means to treat used water.

Designing and managing access to water is for that reason a key feature of our proposal. Therefore, the type, design, and layout of systems of infrastructure and services become a key component of this research. Finally, flow of goods come along with water and people; hence it is interrelated to economic vitality and social interaction. An improved approach on how to deal with flows of water, people and goods, can reshape urban form harmoniously within its territory, and contribute to diminish the gap between the have and the have nots particularly in cities of Developing Countries.

During the semester, students will explore and design examples that demonstrate fragments of sustainable growth while maintaining and enhancing local productivity. By aiming on infrastructure and therefore public space we will study three basic scenarios: (i) reinforcing urban development within existing towns; (ii) explore innovative and locally-fitting urban patterns in mostly rural land; and (iii) examine development patterns along existing and proposed infrastructures as urban connectors with the city of Bogotá, Colombia. 

This studio will use architecture as a means to address systemic urban challenges with realistic, concrete buildable fragments. The projects will define proposals for groupings of architectural/urban typologies (buildings, infrastructures, landscape armatures) that are imbued with intelligence about the larger systems (water, transportation, economy, etc.) that they help structure and define.

The selected site is located on a side valley of the Sabana of Bogotá along the River Chicú, one of many tributaries of the River Bogotá. This valley is under real-estate development pressure, therefore new suburban-like expansions are encroaching into centuries’ old productive agricultural land. 

MIT faculty and students will travel to Bogotá, Colombia from Saturday the 19th of March through Sunday the 27th of March 2016 (Required) during the Spring Break on a workshop exploring the area of study.