The Suburban Portmanteau, Europan 09, Graz
The Suburban Portmanteau
A portmanteau is a word that combines two other words or parts of words in a new meaning.
The new word may create a new unfamiliar sound, but derives from the combination of two familiar words by absorbing and ‘internalising’ their differences.
The project consists of a two-fold strategy: On the one hand the pattern that distributes uses and on the other hand the prototypes that act as boxes containing two or more different meanings.
The first main part of the intervention is the installation of a ‘pattern of ambivalence’; a pattern that will contain the principal infrastructure (roads, movements, bikeways, free space etc) and will indicate the spaces where the different uses may be developed.
On that pattern all the various elements of the suburban will attach: movements, bicycle ways, corridors, free, public and green spaces.
The second part of the project consists of the prototypes: An index of types of the spaces that are going to occupy randomly the space on the pattern and according to the needs of the users.
These prototypes are not aiming at the creation of a definite typology of uses. Each of them is more likely to be conceived as a box that will contain different uses and combine them according to the ideals of its individual users or groups of users.
The aim of this project is the maintenance of this differential state, and the plurality of uses. The intention is to avoid the exclusion of uses commonly considered as ‘alien’ and ‘unfamiliar’ to the suburban environment and the usual creation of a ‘residential paradise’.
Puntigam needs the whole of this differential plurality: it needs a new vivid city centre, with public services, but as well the integration of cultural uses that favor the infiltration of different lifestyle backgrounds (artists, young families, professionals etc) and different ethnic backgrounds (an attraction for users from neighbor countries).
The area needs the workspace that will challenge the traditional idea of working as an isolated activity, and combine this activity with others, such as residence and public services.
It also needs residence, considered as something more than a gated use, but providing original relationship with nature, infrastructure, public uses, free space, shopping. Finally, it needs clusters of crafts and small industries, that will articulate a common place with other uses.
PROJECT: Differential Suburbanity, participation in Europan 09 competition
CLIENT: Municipality of Graz, Austria
PLACE/TIME: Graz, 2007
46,700 m2 of housing, public buildings and small craft and industrial buildings
DESIGN TEAM: Christiana Ioannou, Christos Papastergiou
The place of Puntigam district in Europe and its relation to other European capitals
General plan of the proposal for the Puntigam district
Diagrams of the site pattern and the distribution of program
Partial plan of the proposal. The public and municipal spaces
Hand drawing of the proposal. The figure/ground bipole of built-up areas and wild nature
Model of the proposal. The figure/ground effect as cut-outs
Plan of a cluster of houses
Housing and public prototypes