A City of Spheres
In architecture as in other intellectual disciplines, spheres and the attribute of circularity do not simply constitute one species of forms among others; they have always held a special status in the way they have been associated with the visionary and the spiritual, the atmospheric, and the sublime, as well as with the paradigmatic and the autonomous. It appears that a number of analogies can be drawn between the epistemology and the aesthetics of spheres, hinging on the notion of “interiority.” This seminar attempts to categorize and understand the different connections between the morphology of sphericality in architecture and the modern history and theories associated with it. Spherical architecture has a trajectory that runs parallel to the ambitions of “modernization” and, accordingly, has been reenergized in the present-day debates in the dialectic between humanism and the post-human.
Havana is defined by the critical density of its center: narrow streets limited by buildings hiding in their interiors patios and communal spaces. The project occupies an entire block and contains the morphological richness of the existing city with its alterations between dense volumes and empty spaces and the gradient from public to private, creating a new neighborhood for the city. In Havana, one could argue that life activity happens on the street, often times leaving interior patios in a state of neglect and decay. Rather than providing points of urban interaction within the city fabric, such spaces end up as empty voids.
Markets have historically been spaces of urban congestion, spaces that grow within the city fabric and provide central community nodes. Considering the empty voids within the city, the project attempts to re-think their function as centers of activity by inserting within them the informality of the market and bringing the urban street back into the housing block. Such spaces could then be considered small scale plazas within the larger city. What matters is of the things happening in the voids, leaving room for the unanticipated.