We see the location as a cutoff from the big map from Skopje, in which the Zhelezara Factory (iron smelting factory) stands as a barrier that prevented the logical expansion of the city in that direction. On one side of the barrier is the city and on the other side are slag residues created during the plant’s work and unproductive fields.
In order to connect this “segment” with the city, a logistical infrastructure is established that binds to the existing transport center of Skopje and in that way it prolongs the metabolistic post-earthquake “trace”. At the same time, this infrastructural connection is followed by a phytoremediation stripe that purifies the soil from the pollution from the factory and allows the planned settlement in that zone.
This project shows a continuous natural process which in different stages show us different spatial manifestations. The project explains the metabolic characteristic that cities are not static entities, but organisms that are constantly changing. In line with these principles, the first step in forming the concept is to set up a hierarchy of road routes – the first one is the diagonal path from the Factory Zhelezara to the Mountain SkopskaCrna Gora, and from that path exists another secondary network of streets on which is applied the bandages (housing lanes) on the already existing field texture. For easier operation with the potential agricultural lands in relation to the phytoremediation process the lands have been rationalized and transformed into fields of sunflower, wild cabbage and mustard that purify the soil from arsenic and cadmium that exist in the soil.
Above the wasteland there are strips which are elevated 5 m from the level of the terrain and they form a floating structure which at this moment does not have full contact with the ground because it is polluted, but it stimulates the functional capacity of the grounds by allowing continuous flow of the phytoremediation process. On the platforms there are housing units that in the first phase form a continuous constant silhouette which in the future would develop in the vertical downwards with idea to merge with the ground, when the ground is purified and when the number of inhabitants is increased. In this way, residents get the opportunity to take a piece of the land and transform it into their own garden where the concept of urban agriculture is developed.There are some parts of the area under tape that do not tend to grow downwards and that parts are used as a service zone for the regulation of the plantations from people who do not live there but work in that area.These tapes are linked with transversely placed program such as: markets, parks, social and cultural centers.
Who influences you graphically?
At the beginning of the process of creating this project, when we were trying to visualize our hypothesis, Yona Friedmans drawings about his manifesto, Architecture mobile had a significant impact of our presentation. We were impressed by his utopian envisions of a new architecture.
Then, you can see that the graphic appearance of our work starts to show evident influence of DOGMA’s visualization of their project Stop city, representing a ,,faceless,, architecture and non-figurative architectural language opened to various interpretation and speculation.
What prompted the project? Are you interested in exploring architecture at the stage of the city further?
The intention was to articulate certain spatial idea for the north-east edge of city of Skopje, showing a polemical urbanity that has the further capability to develop a pattern of growth. Given that this edge of the city is a contextually undetermined territory, we established an infrastructural network that generates a series of relationships between fictive narratives of the users of the space who are creators of the architecture.
By layering various functions, narrative hybrids are created which can be happening simultaneously. In that manner, what we were incited by, was the soil pollution of this area and how can we transform it into a productive or active landscape through the process of phytoremediation, stimulating its existing potential. In that direction, the exploring of architecture can bring us to creating a new typological model of urban living in a landscape.
What is your take on the contemporary state of our megacities when compared to the architectural megastructures as those enviosioned by Tange and his contemporaries?
Тhe comparison may be meaningless, because Japanese metabolists were dealing with city expansion by proposing ideas for architecture and cities that shared the ability of living organisms to keep growing, reproducing, transforming in response to their environments and striving to create an ideal society . Nowadays, the scale and speed of urbanization across the developing world are unprecedented – resulting in megacities that are creating dissatisfactory living conditions аnd have destructive power to the environment but people still continue to choose to live there. Тhis issue now opens the question of whether should people start moving to the city edges and does that mean we are loosing the value of the landscape? We believe that our project ,,Remedial patches,, offers one of the answers to this question…
How did you organise and transcribe your research? What role did this then play in the development of the project?
Our work process began with 3 research tasks with different thematic and scale. The first one consists of researching the biosphere and the aspects of soil, urban agriculture and foodparks. This analysis help us to raise our awareness about trending environmental and ecological issues threatening our planet. Throughout the process we learnt about decontamination of the polluted soiland phytoremediation as cost-effective plant-based approach which we implemented later in the project as one of our main focuses. Furthermore, the second part of our research was analysis of Agricultural city by Kisho Kurokawa , its representation as ever-changing—organic with a “metabolism” and not static entity and the symbiotic relationship that the “city above ground” has with the agricultural land below. From architectural urbanism we went down to a bigger scale. Тhrough research of Fumihiko Maki Theory about the three concepts of creating collective form ( megaform, group form and compositional form ) and recognizing them in a comparison between one famous macedonian building – the telecommunication center from Janko Konstantinov and Lenin institute from Ivan Leonidov. From the last task we were supposed to make our interpretation of a collective form using elements from these two project as a starting point for re-contextualization and re-programming the urbanity.
What was your work process in terms of project development and production of images?
The process of the project development started with testing conceptual models on satellite maps of the location in order to understand how the architecture, as an artificial product will react on the landscape, as a natural product. Further we started studying how and will the landscape determine the architectural articulation by organizing and rationalizing the existing field patchwork and transforming it into fields of phytoremediation ( sunflowers, wild cabbage and mustard ). We started using dominant vector technique – using different textures for each field ,which expressed the sensibility of our idea. The whole process resulted in a contradictory model of ,, unnatural ecology ,, merging the opposite aspects of the natural and the artificial.
What defined the primary articulation of the project through the plan? what is your take on this orthogonal projection?
The housing platforms that are settled on the polluted landscape patchwork, metaphorically are representing the act of applying a band aid on a injured аrea ( the origin of the title of the project ). However the purpose of implementing this rigid orthogonal network ( created by horizontal and vertical generative elements) is to show and somehow predict an organized and controlled urban expansion despite the fact that we were lead by the metabolistic envision of the city as a non-static entity.
When framing the views, what were the most important parameters? What did you want to convey?
If we look back on the transcript of the Bernard Tschumi : form follows fiction than architecture can be perceived as space of stories, stories of the people which live and work in our buildings. We look at our project as a system of complex stories and processes ( living, working, recycling, transporting, remediating ) on functional, spatial and social manner. We were focused on demonstrating scenes from activities of individuals as a part of the community which settles on this territory whether they are observers or participants in those processes.