Urbanity containers – Europan 12

The oportunity: double scale.

Within this reality without identity, reflection area is distinguished by its geographical location , which had a double purpose. On the one hand, territorial infrastructure gives it a high connectivity to the center of Vienna, allowing understand this passage as a new «gateway» to the central city. On the other hand, the appearance of the new tram station Kagran is the opportunity to generate a cross-connection with other fragments that make up the metropolitan periphery, becoming a new «landmark».

The strategy: Urbanity container • urbanity container

To respond this dual context and scale, we propose to repair the recycling of this wedge of land in a container of civility. Taking advantage of the high accessibility, it is proposed to introduce new uses current trade mixed, more differentiated spaces and increasing urban intensity. This strategy takes into account the changing urban rhythms that affect these processes, and the necesity  to introduce energy-environmental logic. The result is a new space to inhabit, a interesting and  interior world  open to every change.

The news:  enviromental , infrastructural, economical and social input allow us thinking  a really  urban transformation , even though the difficulty  because of the straight and inforced infrastructure location beside the Site.


Six project ideas

1.From the stretch street to the patch

The Site transfomation  it produced  from   the creation  of  a piece,  which have an unique perimeter. This original piece , is located into the site aligned a general guideline. The guideline it was designed paralel to the infrastructure ( highway and the railway existing). In a dynamic movement game, the pieces fill in the site. By this way , the Project constructing  an united tapestry to  generate in continuity  a group of free spaces, which is expanding and contracting sistematically. This operation make apears some  traditional urban places (shopping streets, boulevards, promenades, etc..)

The volume recalls the large commercial structures existing on the ground and usually found in all urban peripheries. In this proposal the idea of container is used as a starting point of a new architecture, more flexible and which emphasizes public space for social interaction, leaving the ground floor to use public and private groups, equipment, commercial, leisure, etc.. Furthermore, these containers covered by plants civility floor, mixed-use housing, office, hotel, schools, medical facilities, commercial spaces and services.

2. Piece rules

The architectural pieces must to be comes to regulating the minimum parameters to achieve unity while valuing the ability of variations that can be generated. We understand that the growth of the city will go depending on different managers, so that each of the parts can be developed by different architects while follow the next guidelines:

-Perimeter and height: 120×40 and a height of PB +4.

-Porosity of the envelope: It is not an opaque container outwards. 50% of them must be open, patios, terraces, downstairs permeability. The piece invites to be crossed, and participate accessed from outside.

-Mixed use: each piece must contain several combined uses inside housing, office, retail, equipment, production decks, parking in basement. 30% of housing should be for housing and the rest for other uses

Modular-Housing: In the logic of the container, we propose a construction system based on prefabricated module «room» of 3x12m built on plywood (CLT) This module has a closed part and an open terrace. From this 1-2-3 dwellings are built rooms, with different conditions to suit different users.

3. interstitial urbanity

In that case, the city have a system as a support. This form of construction gives rise to a type of urbanity based on ambiguous spaces but also expectant and open to what might happen. The interest is in the quality of relationships between architecture and space they offer. It promotes human scale multipurpose building of no more than 5 floors, allowing visual contact between street and building steadily. We understand that the landscape dominates the horizontal and therefore not applicable for overcoming the height allowed planning. Yes however, advocate a greater land cover to provide continuity in the level 0.

In this sense, there is no hierarchical pattern but it is a «great platform» in which the citizen can  find open spaces, corners between blocks, holes, openings, differing viewpoints, insights to the interiors of the pieces, crosses, … streets, squares, corners, tram over, patios and terraces are urban continuity that are linking to each other. What happens around the corner? The feel of the stroller is based on control of dimensions but also the discovery and «divertimento» of new relationships. The people appropriate living space and your needs. From day business center, retail space afternoon, evening, terraces that open in summer.

In this multiplicity of «places» reference areas also appear as the business district, the tramway station, the atensala the audience, Kagran Park.

4.In between

Understood the operation and rules of the game, is not so important but the end result we understand the evolutionary process as open and flexible over time. The proposed management system allows the process of replacement of parts built by the new containers not follow a set order, but it is open to happen according to the possibilities. Thus, flexibility is achieved because no other steps to determine.

In this sense, the system can adapt to the needs and work creatively with uncertainty, with the lack of funding, the unknown of the future or even territorial changes that will affect the long term.

In the short term, the project area may be the beginning of the system although it could be another. Its reactivation can be initiated at any site, which facilitates ad hoc management at all times. During the «waiting period» will produce synergies that will give rise to processes of replacement or renewal. Existing parts can also adopt the rules of the rest of the neighborhood and transform their covers or incorporate more uses within.

5. The recycling into an Eco-neighborhood

It is proposed to refuse the fate of this large area to build a new eco-neighborhood by the following principles:

SUSTAINABILITY. The building uses a number of sustainable measures that reduce operational cost, energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Evenly distributed, openable windows facilitate summer cross-ventilation and stack effect heat purging. A highly insulated envelope and double-glazed panels reduce thermal bridging, and the use of high efficiency appliances, ensure that the building’s required energy consumption is low. The wintergarden is activated according to the external conditions providing an adaptive use of the space during the year. In winter it acts as a warm buffer zone that reduces the heat losses from the flats. During spring/autumn it can be utilised as an extension of the living room, whereas during the summer the balcony can be extended to the wintergarden, creating an interactive semi-enclosed space.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND COMFORT. Window sizes will maximise daylight and natural ventilation during the summer months, minimising dependence on fossil fuels to achieve thermal and visual comfort within the homes. Inclusion of winter gardens within the scheme is a key passive design feature to reduce heat loss and prove amenity space with adaptive use. New extensions have been strategically located to maximise south facing units to benefit from passive solar gains. Preliminary daylight and thermal modelling has been undertaken to identify the beneficial use of the winter gardens.

MATERIALS. Timber is an abundant local resource in Austria. It is proposed that all the timber used for the new building fabric will be sourced from local sustainable managed woodland, and the overall construction including the insulation will use materials with a low-environmental impact. Innovations in traditional timber construction techniques, low embodied energy insulation materials, recycling and reusing materials where possible, will be researched in the later design stages.

ECOLOGY, WATER AND WASTE. The large central courtyard will incorporate ecological features, new native and wildlife attracting planting to promote bio-diversity on site. Rainwater harvesting for irrigation purposes and reduction in surface water run-off will be incorporated within the landscape design. Waste recycling facilities within the houses will be include on-site composting facilities minimising landfill waste and to be used in creation of communal vegetable patches

6. Quality of public space and landscape productive

Choose to build mass and horizontality is also an opportunity to offer approximately 25,000 m2 to create productive spaces on the ground cover. The roof is a green wallpaper with space for crops, solar energy and wind power, water tanks, pergolas plants, agriculture, etc.. Again, a place to find out the inhabitant.

On the other hand, the public space is dimensioned to take intense urban life quality. It is used to the maximum level 0 avoid leaving excess spaces requiring a public maintenance. Ordering the set rule applies to all scales defining a set of paths that diagonalize space. The vegetation is introduced by the interstitial space by promoting an atmosphere of comfort.


Title: Urbanity containers

Project Name: Transforming towards a new urbanity

Location: Donaustadt. Kagran – Wien

Date: March-June 2013

Category: Urban/architecture

Surface: Strategic site 40,3 ha. Site of project 3,2 ha

Organizer: EUROPAN 12

Team: Alvaro Cuéllar J., Anna Gutiérrez M., Jordi Safont-Tria


Architects: César Córdoba, Paulo Bórquez, Rodrigo Álvarez, Asun López, Ana Marquina