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“OPEN” - winning entry by Ramon Bernabe Simo + Tomas Labanc for Amstetten in Europan 12 Austria
Posted: Monday, January 06, 2014 |

Shanghai-based architects Ramon Bernabe Simo and Tomas Labanc collaborated to create "OPEN", the winning entry for the Amstetten site in the Europan 12 Austria competition.

As suggested by its name, their team's proposal is a response to improve connectivity, livability, and "opening up" the city to leave room for potential urban expansion.

Have a look at their project below.

Concept of

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Concept of "OPEN" by Ramon Bernabe Simo and Tomas Labanc

Project description:

"The present can be understood as the intersection between past and the future. It is the brief moment when one experiences the influences of both conditions. The past and future are two conditions that combine to define the present. Our proposal is the intersection point of these temporal conditions. We propose to create a spatial strategy to transform the sites and offers a platform of urban growth for the future. By preserving some of the existing structures and respecting Amstetten’s local typologies, we incorporate the past into the proposal. Building on this heritage, we propose the future by projecting urban strategy to guide future development.

If we assume that a city has a positive growth over time, the most important goal in planning is to 'control' or 'predict' which direction and form the urban growth will take. With this in mind, we can create a spatially and functionally flexible development strategy that can adapt to incorporate diverse elements and define it within a module."

Site plan

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Site plan

"The first step is to define a module and arrange it in a way that allows infinite programmatic combinations, a full range of typologies, the ability to phase the development over time, and adaptability to different urban contexts. This can be diagramed in a basic grid. This grid may be further subdivided to a scale that is appropriate for urban plots. This division allows the module to accommodate different programmatic typologies. This will create development at a variety of scales, densities, and typologies and promote diversity, adaptability, and resiliency in future development."

Overall Axonometric

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Overall Axonometric

"The next step is to create a series of flexible typologies that could work for very different programmatic scenarios, allowing change of use in the future and promoting mixed use within. By mixing different typologies, the sites will grow organically into a city of diversity. This will improve its capability to adapt to changes and restructure its functional logic. It will eliminate districts that ‘die at night’ by providing 24/7 activity, creating rich spatial qualities and most importantly, a diverse community of people."

Diagram: Typology variations.

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Diagram: Typology variations.

"A mixed programmatic and typological proposal has the advantage of a more efficient use of space. The goal is to ensure that areas have 24/7 activity. All public spaces and circulation spaces will be used by different users at different times and also at the same time.

For example, a public space surrounded by a kindergarten, a residential building, an office building and a pub, will be function in the morning as playground and circulation space for workers and residents, in midday as an outside canteen for the workers and the kindengarden sports activities classroom, and during the evening as terrace for the pubs and pick up area for kindergarten and office workers."

Birdview of Site 1

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Birdview of Site 1

Public Space Site 1

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Public Space Site 1

"Another example is the use of empty residential buildings during the working day. In contrast, an office building is most active during the day and early evening. It is usually empty at night. We propose a rigorously mixed typology: the Active Office. An office and residential mixed use building, will share lobby, corridors and vertical connections between workers and residents. Even parking will be shared since most residents will work close to where they live and thus the dependence on cars will be reduced. Those who do commute will leave at the same time that office workers come to the building in the mornings."

Diagram: Public/private space merge

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Diagram: Public/private space merge

"The existing urban fabric of Amstetten follows a clear separation between public and private functions. This isolates the programmatic areas and the users. As it exists, there is little to connect these areas and no sense of circulation. We propose to rigorously blur the boundaries between public and private space, the definition of inside and outside, and the designation of local and non-local users. We also propose to analyze the ownership of property over time. Does someone own something forever? Or perhaps only during specific hours of the day?...

This strategy of breaking down the psychological and physical concepts of public space can be defined within the concept of Transparency. We think that Amstetten needs very permeable and communicative buildings and spaces that are open and easily show what’s happening. They must demonstrate their function and what they can offer in a very transparent way to effectively blur the lines between functions and engage the public."

Implementation Process

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Implementation Process

"Because of Amstetten’s strategic position and potential, we propose an intensification of the existing city fabric through a progressive implementation process in the sites during the next years with the goal of building higher density nodes that will drive the growth of new urban centers in a new scale and quality. This strategy 'will' act as a catalyst or seed that will start to grow and create new value and allow new functions to develop as it expands outward to regenerate the Amstetten city image, programmatic offerings and use ability for its people."

Street view: Site 1

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Street view: Site 1

"Site 1 - Linking promenade: a single piece of architecture can make sense of both the site's past and its future. The linear block acts as a continuous base to the rail track side, and offers to the city side a fixed context where more individual projects can develop, generating a sequence of public spaces in between that are understood as an extension of the building’s activities."

Axonometric: Site 1

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Axonometric: Site 1

"Site 2 - Mass Object: office towers, trading space and logistical areas become a singular object with high visibility and landmark character that will act as a visual reference from both rail track and highway entrances to the city."

Axonometric: Site 2

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Axonometric: Site 2

"Site 3 - Be Public: a higher density neighborhood with great diversity of program and historic references will create a polarized city center, improving connections between areas isolated by rail tracks in the north and south part of Amstetten."

Public Space View: Site 3

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Public Space View: Site 3

Axonometric: Site 3

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Axonometric: Site 3

"Site 3a - Two Lines:  the linear office blocks improve the quality of the existing housing and all together create a mix of program that can now share the quiet central square."

Axonometric: Site 3a

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Axonometric: Site 3a

"Site 4 - Open Block: two different sites are available on different times.On the site next to the railtracks a lineal office block will protect the residential buildings from noise. The Bruck Mulhbach breaks this courtyard block in two pieces that can work separately and together."

Axonometric: Site 4

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Axonometric: Site 4

Project details:

Title: 'OPEN'  - Europan12 winning proposal by Ramon Bernabe Simo + Tomas Labanc
Authors: Ramon Bernabe Simo+ Tomas Labanc
Site: Amstetten, Austria
Team members: Alex Camacho,Minghui Chang,Yang Huang,Eric Marcuson,Francesc Montosa,Matus Radiansky,Miguel Vilacha
Rendering company:  idealarch.com

Images courtesy of Ramon Bernabe Simo + Tomas Labanc

Modular Typologies


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