2. Confrontation

The goal: to identify the main issue I’m dealing with; to explore the architectural and spatial consequences of the project.

If you’ve been following this blog, you can already identify the main issue I’m dealing with. That is, the role of public space in a liminal community (Rosengård in this case, though as has been proposed on several occasions, the methodology could hold true for other similar cases). We worked in groups. Mine was called

City in a special challenging condition (liminal situation)

As a group, we set our minds on finding some common grounds. We are all working with projects on different countries and circumstances (Sweden -me-, Norway, Russia, Iceland and the United Arab Emirates), yet our projects have a few terms in common. What are these words and how do they apply specifically to my project?

SECLUSION – Namely, the feeling of not being inside a building in Rosengård. It is funny because intuition would say the opposite: seclusion is a drink best taken indoors, alone. But the management of scales in Rosengård is at times so unfriendly to the human scale, that open spaces here enhance seclusion: there is no transition between in and out a building (it is a binary system: you’re either completely inside or completely outside), so human life ends up dilluting in this sea of nothing.

VOID – Understood as both “emtpy” and “previously valid, currently invalid”, Rosengård is a kind of mental void in the map of Malmö: it is there, but few people know what it really is about. A space that was formerly thought of as futuristic and promising is now void and stagnated. In this sense, void is an authoritarian term: it comes from above (few people would actually drive their own communities to being perceived as voids, if they had the tools and political momentum to do otherwise), and I regard democracy as the opposite idea: through inclusion and direct participation, the void starts acquiring a face and a voice.

TRANSITION – The reality of Rosengård. It is a place of transition between “abroad” and Sweden, and between the culture of the newcomers and the culture of those who grew up or were born in Sweden. The problem is that, even though many come to Rosengård, very few stay: most people will leave as soon as their economy or life situation allows for it. This situation has a direct effect on the perception of “home”: if you know you’re somewhere for just a few months or years, you won’t become as attached to this place as you would if, say, it really was YOUR home. Therefore, developping a sense of ownership and adding aggregate value become relevant ideas for a new configuration of public space in Rosengård: to give people a reason to actually want to live here.

IDENTITY, “one-ness” – Now, as an architect and as a person I don’t believe in identity as a finished product. Identities change over time affected by countless events and it may very well be the case that after enough time and transformations, a former identity might have changed beyond recognition. However, in the word “identity” there is an implication of difference from others: my identity is what makes ME be ME and not someone or something else, even if I am constantly reconstructing and redefining who I am. Therefore, public space in Rosengård should act as place for self-definition, but not be the defining element in itself. An architectural programme for the public space can foresee the occurrence of different events over time, and the pursue of an identity is full of these test-and-error situations.

EXTREME CULTURAL SITUATION – an umbrella term for “all of the above”.

La meta: identificar el problema, y explorar las consecuencias arquitectónicas y espaciales de mi proyecto.

Si usted ha estado siguiendo este blog, a estas alturas ya podría identificar el problema: el papel del espacio público en una comunidad liminal (Rosengård en este caso, aunque como ha sido propuesto en varias ocasiones, la metodología podría -y debería- funcionar en casos similares). Yo fui parte de un grupo llamado

Ciudad en una condición especialmente retadora (situación liminal)

Como grupo, nos propusimos encontrar terreno común. Nuestros proyectos están en distintas partes del mundo (Suecia, Noruega, Rusia, Islandia y los Emiratos Árabes Unidos). ¿Cuáles son estos puntos en común y cómo aplican en mi caso?

SECLUSIÓN – Lo que se siente al estar afuera de un edificio en Rosengård. Es un término contraintuitivo, uno pensaría que es más fácil ser secluído adentro, en soledad. Sin embargo, el manejo de las escalas en la arquitectura modernista de Rosengård es tan poco amigable con la escala humana que el espacio abierto enfatiza la seclusión: no hay transición entre afuera y adentro de un edificio, así que la vida pública se diluye en este mar de nada.

VACÍO – Mucha gente en Malmö (¿todos?) saben que Rosengård existe, pero pocos conocen el lugar en persona. Esto hace que sobre la comunidad caiga un velo de oscuridad, y la arquitectura democrática se convierte en un método para contrarrestar esta aparente negación social: a través de la inclusión y participación directa, ese vacío adquiere una cara y una voz.

TRANSICIÓN – La realidad de Rosengård. Es un escalón entre afuera y adentro de Suecia. El problema es que, aunque mucha gente llega al barrio, poca se queda y no hay un verdadero sentimiento de pertenencia y hogar. Y claro, si uno sabe que no se va a quedar mucho tiempo, desarrollará menos lazos emocionales con el lugar que si fuera SU hogar. Desarrollar un sentido de propiedad y valor agregado se vuelve relevante al intervenir el espacio público de una comunidad liminal, pues se busca dar razones a la gente para que de verdad quieran vivir aquí.

IDENTIDAD – Como arquitecto, creo que la identidad es un flujo más que un punto, y está en eterno cambio. Sin embargo, el concepto identidad se relaciona con la diferenciación: es lo que me hace diferente de los demás. Un programa arquitectónico adecuado para el espacio público prevé la posibilidad de que sucedan diferentes eventos durante un lapso de tiempo… eventos que son parte de la formación de una identidad comunal.

SITUACIÓN CULTURAL EXTREMA – otra forma de decir “todas las anteriores”.

Un trasfondo que revela las líneas de vuelo

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