How to use Gigamap as a Medium for Analysis into a City – Based on Case Study of Rome and Palermo

Yijun Chen & Marie Davidova, Welsh School of Architecture / Collaborative Collective UK

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Read the working paper ⇒

This article aims to explain how to use Gigamap as a medium to understand a new city,which is based on the study trip of Cardiff university Architectural design 2019 including Rome and Palermo. Due to the global business background, many architectural design companies have begun to expand into the international market. Many world-famous architects made global architectural practices with volume building, multiple commissions in different countries concurrently. (McNeill 2009) However, not all projects are suitable for the city where it is located. In some way, these projects have accelerated the formation of Urban avoid. The example could be seen all around us. Modern space creates the anti-space including the traditional architecture of streets, squares and rooms due to the differentiated figures of volumetric void which is obliterated by the presence of anti-space cause the erosion and eventual loss of space, (Trancik 1986). Architects should collect much more message of the city where their projects are located instead of superimposing their innovative ideas directly on urban space.

“Gigamapping is super extensive mapping across multiple layers and scales, investigating relations between seemingly separated categories and so implementing boundary critique to the conception and framing of systems…….” (Sevaldson 2011). The main purpose of practice is to explore how to use Gigamap to analyze a new city. It could help a variety of projects to find the connection of the urban space in many aspects. For the future, the Gigamap could help architects have a full range of thinking when having their projects in a new city. Meanwhile, it could organically combine the architect’s personal ideas with the city’s culture instead of simply superimposing.

We would learn from the experience of three places to illustrate the role of Gigamap in the urban analysis, which might influence the thinking of designers. The first place of investigation is St.Fangas, a historical museum in Wales UK. Public could find the lifestyle of welsh people by a very long historical timeline. The purpose of studying here is a simple exercise on Gigamaping. To an extent,We would pick a certain area or building in this ancient village and use Gigamap to analyze its correlation with each design element, for instance, the study group picked the cockpit to analyze the serval aspects of thinking including interior, exterior, material, skylight, temperature. At the same time, the study group also finished the skydome experiment in Cardiff university. The aim of this practice is to give members of the study group a basic concept of Gigamap.

The two projects in Figure 1 are from Moshe Safdie who is a well-known architect in the world. As the pictures show, the designer used the same elements in these two projects. The left project where is in Chongqing China create a terrible influence in the view of Chang jiang River. However, due to the beautiful scenery of coast area, the project right in Singapore is much more appreciative. This case could clearly illustrate that simply overlap the designer’s ideas to the project would not help the organic development of the urban space. On the contrary, irrational architectural design often leads to more urban voids. If an architect has sufficient knowledge of the city and the site, including geography, culture, customs, climate, economy, demographics, local materials, etc., when the design project is carried out, the project would avoid the unproper design with bad influence to cities. Gigamaps could be also used when exploring different strategies and approaches to integrating the different traits of performance-oriented architecture and help maintain an overview over directly or indirectly affected conditions (Hensel 2013). In this practice, we use Gigamap as a medium for the architect to analyze urban space. Gigamap could not only be used as a tool for city analysis, but it can also show the relationship between city level and architecture level.

This research by design paper is based on three case studies

  1. Study trip in St.Fagans (the basic practice of Gigamap -the analysis of welsh accent village)
  2. Study trip in Rome (Questioning the ambivalence of urban commons, Unit of MAAD, Welsh school of architecture, Cardiff University)
  3. Study trip in Palermo (EMUVE Intercultural Node, Unit of MAAD, Welsh school of architecture, Cardiff University)

Figure 2 is a hypothetical model proposed by the study group about the application of Giga maps to cities and even architectural projects. The group would experiment in three Practices and discover more possibilities for Giga maps. The architect’s thinking would be penetrated in the practice.

Posted: Oct-2020

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