Biennale Architettura 2016 – Collateral Event

Horizontal Metropolis – A Radical Project
The Horizontal Metropolis is an oxymoron. Two contrasting terms are joined to conjugate the traditional idea of metropolis (the center of a vast territory, hierarchically organized, dense, vertical, produced by polarization) with horizontality (the idea of a more diffuse, isotropic urban condition, where center and periphery blur). Beyond the theme of the "peri-urban" or of the "sub-urban", the Horizontal Metropolis refers to closely interlinked, co-penetrating rural/urban realms, communication, transport and economic systems. It is a layered territorial construction where agriculture and non-agricultural economic activities create an original mix. The Horizontal Metropolis is a "City-Territory": it works today as natural and spatial capital and as an agent of transformation, it is the support and place of potentiality. The Ville-territoire connecting Geneva to St. Gall, the Città diffusa of Northern Italy, the Desakota in China, Japan, Thailand or Vietnam, the Radiant Periphery of the fine grain settlement dispersion in Flanders, or the Zwischenstadt in Germany have described the emergence of a new urban condition. It has been the test case for the elaboration of original urban theories and is today facing new challenges, paradoxes and crises. It can also be – this the hypothesis of the exhibition – the support for an innovative urban and territorial project. Horizontality (of infrastructure, urbanity and relations among the different parts as among peers), mixed use, diffuse accessibility, isotropic conditions generate a specific habitable space. The exhibition explores scenarios and design strategies for the re-cycling and upgrading of cities-territory in a radical project.Working on the Horizontal Metropolis as a specific spatial condition requires pushing the imagination of the architect and urbanist far from any orthodox and academic way of thinking, away from a blind pragmatism, far from theories clinging to few simplified, overriding images. The Horizontal Metropolis is a vision for planetary urbanization where processes of polarization and hierarchization are weakening horizontal networks, disconnecting and marginalizing territories and populations; where no ‘outside’ exists anymore and the urban ecosystem is compelled to offer proof of its sustainability.Exhibition supported by SDOL (Strategies and Development of West Lausanne)
The exhibition is organized in four main episodes. The first episode is the Genealogy. The scope of this first part, made of interviews with an important group of authors that have proposed relevant interpretations of urban phenomena, is to highlight a genealogy of ideas and positions able to connect long-term and inter-generational processes of territorial / political construction and contemporary forms of urbanity. The research hypothesis is that this tradition is today fundamental to the understanding of the city and its future, in the drawing up of interpretations, new design images and tools. Featuring: Andrea Branzi, John Friedmann, Francesco Indovina, Terry McGee, Jean-Michel Roux, Bernardo Secchi, Thomas Sieverts, Marcel Smets. The second episode is about Measures. The second part of the exhibition is collected in atlases describing the spatial characters of the "City-Territory" through an investigation of its measures and of its different rationalization processes. Measures and modules are often the expression of deeply embedded rationalities related, for example, to water management and accessibility, quality of soil, social and demographic diversity in space. The third episode is Projects, design as a research tool, models and drawings of "Another Broadacre City". The hypothesis of the Horizontal Metropolis as renewable resource is investigated through the elaboration of models and axonometric representations which take the twelve-foot (3.65 × 3.65 m) scale model of Broadacre City, elaborated by Frank Lloyd Wright with his apprentices at Taliesin, as a frame for radical design investigation. 80 years after it was first exhibited in New York at Rockefeller Center (1935), this model defines a research protocol that has been used in five different contexts to explore, in space, the socioeconomic transition as well as strategies of mitigation and adaptation to climate change in time. Two main aspects can be underlined: the scale of the model (original scale 1:75 inch to feet), which is coherent with a territorial three dimensional representation of space and the non-selectivity of the model, which implies a non-selective rethinking of space. It represents a metamorphosis. This representation is accompanied with overviews of the same area made by drones filming the territory. The fourth episode is People and lifestyles. The fourth part of the exhibition is related to the stories and the lifestyles of people who inhabit and produce the space of the Horizontal Metropolis, incrementally built through diverse and minute interventions, not only through top down rationalizations. The Horizontal Metropolis is a palimpsest comprising a rich deposit of continuously reconstructed materials that offer countless localizing possibilities and different types of spaces, enabling ever different lifestyles. In this frame the Horizontal Metropolis can be read as the sum of individual approaches relative to the best mode of dwelling, working, recreating and living. In the past, these territorial systems have actually subverted and undermined the stable hierarchies expressed by the traditional city and power, opposing varied polycentrality to singular polarity. It is an extensively used territory, in which each small portion and each item or material is attributed a specific role or function ; in which each space appears to be used differently and charged with its specific meaning. Today the conclusion of life-cycles (social and economic) is strongly modifying this image. New exclusions arise, new weak populations emerge, horizontality fades. Still the multifunctionality of space is reflected in the lifestyles of their inhabitants and vice versa, who with time have learned to make use of its considerable potentialities. The Exhibition features five large models representing an area of 3,2km x 3,2km at 1:880 scale – the same as the original Broadacre City model, in order to showcase some recent case studies: Switzerland, both the plateau in Lausanne and the alpine territory of Valais (la ville territoire), Veneto region (Città diffusa), Boston metropolitan area (megalopolis), and the Chinese example of Tangqi (Desakota).
Credits: Story


Curator: Paola Viganò with Chiara Cavalieri; Martina Barcelloni Corte (LAB-U)

Production: Cyril Veillon (Archizoom)

With the support of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) ; School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC)

Setup: Jean-Robert Gros (Archizoom), Tomaso Pietropolli (LAB-U), Giulia Mengardo (VdV)

Administration, PR & communication: Beatrice Raball (Archizoom) & Giulia Mengardo (VdV)

Partner: Alberto Sonino (VdV)

Photographs of models: © Olivier Christinat

Participants LAB-U EPFL: Paola Viganò, Elena Cogato Lanza, Farzaneh Bahrami, Martina Barcelloni Corte, Simon Berger, Chiara Cavalieri, Marine Durand, Matthew Skjonsberg, Roberto Sega, Tommaso Pietropolli, Antoine Vialle, Quiyi Zhang (visiting)

Option Studio Territorialism II, fall 2013 GSD; Superstudio Horizontal Metropolis, fall 2014 EPFL; BA5-6 2015 Alps. Prototypes of the alpine city-territory, 2014-2015 EPFL; Tommaso Pietropolli, Se questa è una città, Master Thesis 2015, Università IUAV, Venice; Qinyi Zhang, Elements of Desakota in Yangtze River Delta, PhD Thesis, 2015, Università IUAV, Venice

Anne-Charlotte Astrup, Ahmed Al-Atwi, Pedro Bermudez, Félix Chase, Alice Chenais, Ana Victoria Chiari, Hugo Colon, Florent Devaux, Christian Frankhauser, Cecilia Furlan, Adrian Gramunt, Fabio Guggisberg, Claire Khawam, Carole Lesigne, Ivan Lopes Ferreira, Yvan Mattenberger, Florine Mercier, Alvise Pagnacco, Bérénice Pinon, Mélissa Rissel, Mélanie Rouge, Clara Rubin, Marie Sagnières, Alexandre Saint-Amour, Catherine Seiler, Sevan Spiess, Paul-Antoine Terrier, Myriam Treiber, Marion Vuachet, Phoebe White, James Whitten, Simon Willet

VisualWorking (Paolo Brianzoni, Eugenio Somaini, Alessandro Zanoli), GoodDrones (Mehdi Salehi), Hangzhou, Hangzhou Yuanlai Cultural and Creative Media, Katherine Harrison, Matthew Goodman, Yiming Yan

Credits: All media
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