ARCH 402_Spring Semester_2018-2019 Spatial Structures: Immersive Urban Spaces Re-minding Skopje

After the earthquake in 1963, Skopje was completely demolished. The challenge was to reconstruct a city, which could be defined as a tabula rasa, yet with a very strong memory. When an international competition was initiated by the United Nations, the urban design approach of CIAM had already been institutionalized. Tange and his team put into practice what Metabolism suggested for a Modern city. As the city was defined as “a living organism with metabolic cycles”*, urban designers used biological growth as an intellectual inspiration. The Metabolists conceived the city as a process, and use architecture as a regulator for urban developments. So did Tange, and defined a “City Wall” and a “City Gate” for Skopje, which were the progressive urban elements for the recovering city. The denomination of architectural elements, as wall and gate in urban scale, introduced a new type, which Tange called “spatial structures”. They were three dimensional physical structures, agents for the representation of the city and various urban narrations.

During the fall semester, our studio worked in Skopje and developed urban programs reconsidering the structure, resources and the history of the city. The proposed programs introduced architectural operations, which would finally unveil the multi-layered structure of the city. The aim was to propose specific urban programs that help remembering and caring the rich history of the city, therefore re-minding Skopje is understood as both learning from its history and interrogating what the current conditions require.

The architectural programs that were developed for the site we have selected in Skopje, in the Fall semester, include a variety of subjects grouped under:

CITY AS A PRODUCTIVE SPACE: • City as a Factory • City as a Recycling Laboratory • City as a Data-Communication Hub • City as an Art Promenade • City as a Free Ground • City as a Recovery Ground

During the Spring semester, students are asked to focus on a specific part(s)of their projects. They will be designing immersive spaces within their specific programs. Illustrated by the program-specific spaces, the design decisions regarding the “spatial structure” will accommodate the necessary social, mechanical and infrastructural conditions. As the term “spatial structure” refers to both the “structure” and the “program”, it stands for not only a tactile presence and material qualities, but also a great variety of spatial gestures. In order to be able to design a spatial structure in its fullest sense, the students should work on different scales. The challenge here is to be aware of the correlation that makes both the structure and the space “flexible.”