Design is
Workshop. Dalian, China
Date. 2012
Organisers. UD Dalian
Tutors. Rolando Rodriguez-Leal, Jordan Kanter
Size. 4ha

Project Description.
It is not down in any map; true places never are.
- Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Facing the overwhelming scope and speed of development in China, the existing conditions of site are often lost in the race to transform/modernize/expand the city – there is a consensual, collective disregard for context as a source of city identity. Through this research, we seek to reassert the logic of the existing site as the basis for speculative design and new city form.
Work proceeds in two independent, but increasingly interwoven tracks: on the one hand, a revitalization of the Situationist approach of participatory engagement as a method of urban geography - the unveiling and articulating underlying, often hidden dimensions of city identity, formation and logic. On the other hand, an object-oriented (OOP) computational platform, which allows for the scripting of classes of ‘objects’ – both ephemeral and concrete – as encountered in the situation of the site.

The translation from an event-based reading of site to a computational representation of these events in scripted objects is a speculative act in itself - an improvisational translation through mapping of site logics and their codification in dynamic, computational diagrams. This begins an exploratory process into possibilities for reconfiguration, mutation, remediation, logistical reorganization, etc. in the building up of city form that both understands the existing situation of the city taking advantage of its accrued meaning – while addressing and channelling external pressures of the site. The goal is to articulate heightened identities of the city in the creation of urban fabric that is at once historically grounded and radically new.

This project, completed with students from the UDD architecture once in Dalian, China, explores the design/planning/choreography of a very large ‘sport park’ area in the new development area of Dalian. This project, completed during a one week period, entailed both direct exploration and participation in the existing/transforming landscape and the development of computational techniques specific for this project, resulting in a proposal for the transformation of existing greenhouse typologies into a system of vertical farming towers.