Hybrid Buildings have existed for a while. Hybrid Buildings are more than just a mixed use. Hybrid Buildings are usually the best investing option.
A new Project was started at the office a week ago. We discussed about the possibility of going for a hybrid building. Since the lot was located on an area that was not predominantly residential nor commercial, to conciliate both programs made sense. Municipal norms didn’t allow for it, and we found the resolution absurd. This led to the questions: Are the advantages of designing a hybrid building wide-known? Are regulatory entities open to re-think about the design rules that concern these buildings?
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Is there a way to satisfy different needs with a single architectural approach?
Some time ago I had the opportunity to present an entry for a 5-home design contest. The task consisted in designing the group of single-family houses, according to specific necessities and users. A common approach would be to plan each project separately. Another, thinking about each house as a unique element of a whole that has aesthetic language as a connecting theme. These lead to the question: Is there a step further? Is there a way to satisfy different needs with a single architectural approach? The formal solution to the problem was the creation of a basic module that contained all “rigid” program of a house: kitchen, bathroom, stairs. The result was a rigid, but compact package; Something like an architectonic swiss army knife.
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“Naïve in a way that it doesn’t pretend that it is capable to represent built architecture completely, but that understands its limitless power in going beyond: Transmitting explicitly the experience of space rather than space itself.”
It is a fun time for architectural representation. Extreme realism, destined to deceive clients, is dead. A rendering, as good as it is, is never going to represent reality completely. There is always space for lie, for error. Maybe architectural concept shouldn’t be materialized at all. The paradox lies in the fact that built architecture never fully represents the effort in conceptualizing space that precedes it. Then, let’s ask: Why bother making realist renderings? I think we’re better off using an aesthetic that allows conceptualization at its maximum. One that allows imagination to thrive, one that makes content infinitely richer. Making content equivalent in weight as the final product; Making concept as a separate, independent characteristic of architecture and not using it only as a mere representation tool.
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Part 4: The Ambiguous and Undefined.
For Robert Venturi, “both-and” carries a latent ambiguity in its meaning. Man, used to catalogue objects, always tries to define realities in an exact manner: Black or white; Inside or Out. This way, man only achieves to perpetuate a single attribute, when objects may have more than one. We catalogue depending on how truth accommodates to our personal vision and ambition. Context changes meaning; Duality always exist. Truth is the juxtaposition of what an image is, and what it seems to be. Like Joseph Albers said: “Physical truth always differs from the psychic effect it creates in our subconsciousness.” (Venturi, Robert 1966, p.20)
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Part 3: Both-And and Crossprogramming
An architectonic element is often interpreted as an absolute in a universe of dualities, or even multiplicities. “Either-or” is chosen instead of “both-and”. For example, a space can be considered as an outside or inside space, but never both. For Robert Venturi, “An architecture which includes varying levels of meaning breeds ambiguity and tension.” (Venturi, Robert 1966, p.23) In consequence, space can have various interpretations, which change depending on the observer. “At one moment one meaning can be perceived as dominant; at another moment a different meaning seems paramount.” (Venturi, Robert 1966, p.32)
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