Urban Project. Ideas and Praxis

During the 1980s, Barcelona led the urban debate on the so-called ‘urban project’ as a design strategy focusing on proximity to architecture, public space and infrastructure. On one hand, with the outstanding theorization of Professor Manuel de Solà-Morales (UR-Revista), and on the other, with a number of successful mid-scale urban transformations that illustrated an internationally renowned practice. Since then, new approaches and new paradigms have appeared on scene, in Barcelona and abroad, composing all together an interesting design practice that is the core of this course.

Urban Project can be defined as an instrument of mediation between the city and architecture, and at the same time, constitutes a way of acting and doing research. A design tool that is different either from the conventional planning or the macro-architecture, and that is driven to conceiving projects for operative fragments of the city well-delimited in space and time. The urban project reformulates the architecture of elements and public space in order to generate a new and more efficient urbanity characterized by its greater “clarity and emotion”.

The course starts with a theoretical block in which the evolution of the idea of Urban Project is critically reviewed through the analysis some projects, mainly in Europe, that will be analysed and compared in order to understand dominant paradigms, main strategies and significant design solutions regarding ecology, infrastructure, activities, public buildings, mixticity…. The ensemble of the analysis will provide knowledge and tools for a design-oriented practice.

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