Dead space | Íñigo García Odiaga

Banaball, by KOZ architectes | Photography: Martin Argyroglo

The summer, the vacations and the leisure invite to going out to the street, to conquering the public space and to socializing. Often the current urbanism, centred on what we might be call the development of the downtown, leaves other spaces to propose scenes to these summer activities. In the edges of the city the left spaces, the dead spaces can retrain in public, attracting temporary activities of diverse nature for a persons’ wide spectrum.

A good example of these events is the developed one for the city of Nantes Saint-Nazaire. The cultural persons in charge of the city have invited different architects and artists to whom they design temporary facilities that occupy during the summer different spaces of the city with aptitude to develop public uses tied to the leisure and the amusement. Somehow these facilities, which will remain opened between June 15 and August 19, 2012, claim that the art, the architecture and the most social thought, they intervene in the city across unusual offers and capable poetics, from his minimal dimension, of generating changes to major scale.

Banaball, by KOZ architectes | Photography: Martin Argyroglo

In this context, the majority of the proposed facilities have relation with the infantile games, implying the development of playparks, realized by equipments of architects in the main young, as what the own initiative, from the most technical point of view, also has one social component. Her of giving opportunities to the creative young persons. Covers or outdoors, these facilities invite the public to take part in general, to taking them like own and to happening awhile agreeably. Ludovic Duccasse and Clement Bacle have proposed a playground that reinterprets the basket Iparralde’s top and converts her into a playful divertimento to infantile scale, named Banaball. This new sport is played inside a cage of 6 meters by 12, with a soil of wood of yellow intense color in that the ends have been lightly high. The rules are summarized in the ball utilization of foam that two equipments of three players must throw to strike the rival and this way eliminate it, using a few baskets been alike the jocular iconography of a banana. This installation adopts the iconography of the banana Robert Venturi turns into an advertising claim to, and to stand out in the landscape of the island of Nantes, since his first location has been the cover of the school of architecture of the city.

Banaball, by KOZ architectes | Photography: Martin Argyroglo

To hundreds of kilometres of France but with a similar intention, the study of Avi Laiser’s architecture has constructed another intervention that it chases also to turn into a new modal of the social life of the neighbors of Bat-Yam, a Mediterranean city of denser populated with Israel. The majority of the residents of the neighborhood live in housings constructed with scanty resources in the fifties for the new immigrants.

Playgrounds in Bat Yam, Israel | AL/Arch – Avi Laiser Architecture, Dana Hirsch Laiser | Photography: AL/Arch

The project is placed in the end of a wide residential modern zone that, unexpectedly, ends in a wall of concrete that works as an acoustic barrier towards the highway that crosses the slum. This condition of edge is the reason of the existence of a long band of soil left, a space garbage that had turned into the place to which they were going to stop the secondhand domestic appliances, the stolen bicycles or the bonfires of the Jewish festivities.

The project tries to take advantage of the conditions of the wall of concrete and the band of uncultivated areas to create a public park that allows the human social activities and that returns his domain over the public thing to the population.

The main face of the project, towards the residential street, is a wall of slats of wood across which a great space can see lounge outdoors, that spreads between the new front and the acoustic wall of concrete. A great cartel of pink neon gives the welcome to all those who approach the place, suggesting that the royal assets of the dense urban cities are the public spaces outdoors.

The surface of the park, one turns into a topography of wood, into a constant surface that pliega to shelter seven spaces that generate different environments and stays. The soil of the park climbs over the former wall of the highway, humanizing his construction and transforming his condition of final barrier to the condition of place.

Playgrounds in Bat Yam, Israel | AL/Arch – Avi Laiser Architecture, Dana Hirsch Laiser | Photography: AL/Arch

The project is a collaboration between the architect Avi Laiser, and the artist Dana Hirsch Laiser. Dana has worked with the teenagers of the community center of the community to create a frame in which the young persons sit down local and like that owners support and take care of it. The aim of the work was to explore the human individual behavior in the public area and to introduce it in the definition of the own project. The project was presented in the frame of the international Biennial show of urbanism and the landscape of the year 2012 and received a prize in the category of design of the urban landscape.

Playgrounds in Bat Yam, Israel | AL/Arch – Avi Laiser Architecture, Dana Hirsch Laiser | Photography: AL/Arch

These facilities and many others represent an opportunity of reconquest, an opportunity in order that the citizens recover the public space that was denied to them so that the social activity of the city should be reactivated.

íñigo garcía odiaga. architect

san sebastián. august 2012

Article is published in 12.08.2012 en ZAZPIKA

Íñigo García Odiaga

Doctor Arquitecto y profesor asociado de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, ETSASS. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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