We attempt to reinvent the shading element as an integral part of the urban environment, to rethink its role as a generator of activities in the city’s public space. As a continuation to the extensive research conducted by the competition team, we offer another cross sectioning of the different shading objects. We created a list of the usual suspects and categorized them according to architectural types. Through this process we wish to challenge the pre-conception of what a shading element is, and to liberate ourselves from the dichotomy between what is above our head and what is under our feet.
Clouds are our inspiration, emblematic, magical volumes that have neither inside nor outside. They provide filtered shadows, each one is different from the other but all form part of a “family”, all created from the same DNA. How can we then seduce a handful of clouds to land in the Mediateque Plaza in Holon?
We wish to recreate their qualities rather than their image – we offer objects that provide intricate shadows, filtered and soft, multi-layered and complex. They create a 3D form while being built from a 2D plane. Each one of them is unique, but still recognizable as a part of a “family”. We try to create a new typology of a structure – one that does not differentiate between above and below, inside and outside.
These clouds are more than mere shading elements; they open up new possibilities for activities in the public space. They provide shade and at the same time can act as a bench, a table, a gate, a hiding place, a pop-up store, a fruit-stand, a catwalk… They attempt to bring life into the urban wasteland, not only by creating shadow but also by creating programmatic richness.
In order to determine the location of the objects and to optimize their form and orientation, we performed several studies to highlight the most “vulnerable” points in the plaza. Once located, we optimize their form and orientation to fit the sun solstice. Our prototype is imagined almost as a 3D manifestation of the sun movement, providing maximal shadows for the maximal time.
Construction and manufacturing
The construction of the objects is fairly simple. We use one width of expanded steel mesh or perforated steel plates, with which we create three kinds of pieces: straight, arched and torsion. The arched and torsion pieces are either rolled or sculptured to their specific radius or form in the factory. All the different pieces are then brought to site, welded and connected to steel plates that are anchored to the ground. The objects are finished in order to get a unified appearance and to provide a user-friendly smooth finish.
On a Cloudy Day…
While architecture usually reduces options as it forces a choice, we strive to create the opposite – a generous architecture, one that generates endless possibilities. By placing these ground clouds in the public domain endless new options open up. The Holon Mediateque plaza, once an urban desert, i¬¬s now dotted with shaded oases.