Urban loop system

By: Moises Gamus & Michael Harrison

Uncontrolled urban growth has caused social deterioration and environmental disequilibrium, especially in emergent global economies. Resource scarcity has set an urgent agenda to switch to renewable energetic resources and more efficient ways to distribute them.


Current models of urban planning have the limitation of extending the cities sideways, whereas this research explores the possibility of releasing the city from the ground condition, creating an infrastructural framework that can be adapted to different built environments.

The geometric surface is based on Barcelona´s Eixample grid to test the first logics of this system, since the urban fabric is already ordered and repetitive. Eventually, the urban system will attempt to adapt to more complex (uncontrolled) urban landscapes.Resources are prioritized in the morphology of this neighbourhood, setting up cyclic loops of energy, water and waste.

Based on the geometry of a hyperbolic paraboloid, the neighbourhood is arranged as a compact and integrated urban system whitin itself. Such geometry can be applied to various environments (weather conditions, urban fabric, local restrictions…).  A logic of emergence based on the repetition and manipulation of a modular system.

Based on solar analysis and program distribution, the masterplan is setup according to proximity relationships.

The location of program along the site responds to time/distance relationships. All programs are connected through a green landscape, which serves as farm fields, interaction spaces and at the southern tip a solar collector field.

The residential clusters operate as adaptable modules,  where the basic unit is defined as 5 x 3 meters section, varying in depth to adapt to different building configurations. Each building will change height and depth according to light penetration and visibility studies. Each module has a circulation and mechanical systems´ core, optimizing both supply and recollection of resources/disposals, providing thus the infrastructural loop to create closed cycles.

Residential circulations become another possibility for human interaction: a system of staircases and pathways connecting each residential unit to the whole. Different levels of permeability are achieved through the use of screens and voids, allowing for light access and intimacy.  Below rests the city…. the old city.

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