Modern high capacity infrastructure creates accidental space along its
periphery, and in the shadow of its own spatial configuration respectively.
It is kind of a shadow city that emerges from the peripheral space along
motorways, train tracks, elevated highways, pipelines, cable tracks
– urban space free from explicit definition and intentional design.
In the very places where car parks, rubbish collection facilities, vacant
lots due to setback requirements are evolving, the city dissipates its
own realm to an unaccounted extent. This “waste” is rarely
given a proper name or address: Under the bridges. At the car park.
Along the train tracks. In the rear of the stadium. Next to the sewage
plant. Descriptions of space that work just about anywhere and that
could hardly be more unspecific.
Therefore dealing with infrastructural spaces in an urban context always
has to involve dealing with their perimeters as well. Infrastructures,
with the political-technical aim of supplying energy, resources, access
and mobility to a certain space, do not structure it evenly, but create
spaces of centrality and subsequently spaces that have a more lateral
character. If the margins of these political-technically conceived space
configurations are permeable and accessible – hence they allow
a public acquisition of the commodities or services the infrastructural
space is supplying – they generate public spaces and active spaces
in between the infrastructural component and its environment.
The invariably increasing demand for infrastructural capacity and the
therewith necessary increased efficiency of infrastructure resulted
in the multiplication of its dimensions, the depletion of junctions
and the shutting down of its perimeters. Designing these impermeable
marginal spaces between infrastructure and city, and respectively landscape,
requires plenty more ideas and conceptual thinking, especially in the
prospect of a continuing increase in the density of the mobility infrastructure
– a challenge that, particularly in the experimental field, design-orientated
universities should raise to more emphatically.
The examination of these spaces in the scope of a symposium is not aimed
at finding a recipe for the beautification of these infrastructural
margins, but rather at developing their potential as public spaces,
which carry an aesthetic expression of their own. It is exactly along
these margins where public space can unfold its neglected potential
as a space of heterogeneity, because public space is a spatial conception,
a phantasmagoria, regardless of its functioning as urban public space
or public space defined by landscape. It is capable of an ‘in-between’
state, of tolerating a clash and it provides contemporary urbanism a
presence as a fragile state of superimposition. The ambiguity of public
space between the poles of mobility and locality, and its disability
to allocate itself to one or the other, and as well its disability to
achieve reconciliation or compensation among the two poles and to escape
the ‘in-between’ state, makes it an archetype for the phantasmagorial
view of the ‘urban’ city.
was a Symposium held on the 04th and 05th of February 2010 at the Technische
Universität München, Institute for Urban Design, Urbanism
on a peer review of more than 100 abstracts, the scientific organizers
selected an exceptional group of academics and practitioners from around
the world to present papers in Munich.
2011 the book "Infrastructural Urbanism. Addressing the
In-between" was published by DOM publishers Berlin which
is conceptually based on the symposium.
Architecture and public spaces are well, if not prestigious
accepted components of the urban realm, but what about technical infrastructure?
Although the interdependence between infrastructure and urban development
has been a central topic in urban planning, infrastructure as a design
element plays a comparatively subordinate role.
The book discusses spatial design implications of technical
and transport infrastructure. The authors introduce projects of various
scales, from skate parks to urban motorways, located in many different
cities such as Mexico City, New York, London, Paris, Zurich, Seattle,
Barcelona, Stockholm, São Paulo, Antwerp, amongst others. They demonstrate
that infrastructure generates its own category of urban territory.
Addressing the In-between
Thomas Hauck/Regine Keller/Volker Kleinekort (Hg.)
DOM publishers, Berlin, 2011
210 x 230 mm, 336 pages, Softcover
Order at DOM publishers >