Urban Surplus. Maastricht

FRAMEWORKThe studio, uses the city of Maastricht (Netherlands) as a potentially rich site to explore the transformation processes of a paradigmatic mid size European capital city currently subject to strong economic pressures and dynamic modes of development. This studio will focus on the reconfiguration of an underutilized city fragment that links the edge of the city center with new development in the outskirts of the city. It will specifically focus on the trans-scalar nature of infrastructure, and its inherent ability to tailor well configured comprehensive morphologies that can better accommodate new spatial demands outside the traditional or consolidated city. BACKGROUNDLocated along the edge of the Maas River, the city is sited at the intersection of multiple landscapes and transportation flows. Along its North-South axis it connects The Netherlands with Belgium and along its East-West axis it connects Belgium with Germany. This condition has positioned the city as a strategic node that has continuously gained relevance throughout history. This ubiquitous nodal presence has dominated the city since the Roman Period, and has resulted in the unfolding of a richly layered architectural and urban heritage. In more recent times, the city\’s clear geographic position was crucial in its selection as the official site to sign the European Union Economic Treaty in 1992. Throughout the last fifteen years, the city has been subject to a major influx of new investment changing drastically the nature of its urban structure. Due to the singularity and significance of the city\’s regional dynamics, its general configuration has been subject to the pressures of heavy infrastructure accompanied with new uses and programs that have radically changed Maastricht\’s traditional city pattern, one that relied heavily on a \”spatial continuity\” model. Such continuity has been consistently splintered by the introduction of diverse infrastructural systems that respond to organizational moves at a larger scale. This has established clear gaps between the \”traditional\” compact city, and newer areas of emergent activities and new programs which respond to spatial demands that are very different than the ones present in the traditional quarters of the city. STUDIO OBJECTIVE AND PEDAGOGIC AIMSThe studio will focus on the development of well configured strategies that can effectively tackle the re-scaling of a sector perpendicular to the river. This area, which encompasses a wide host of large scale infrastructures as well as substantial grounds of obsolete industrial activities, is in much need of effective urban strategies that can re-organize this portion of the city. In doing so, it must establish well anchored connections to both the compact city and the river, but also to relocate the new economic zones currently emerging in the outskirts of Maastricht.The studio will specifically focus on the fallowing issues:The rethinking of infrastructure as an entity that can proactively laminate multiple scales in the city. The role of infrastructure as a generator of new comprehensive urban morphologies that can accurately tailor an urban quarter.Explore the possibility of new programs and uses that can generate a well synthesized city fragment that is well connected to the city at large and provides fresh and innovative spaces. The studio will serve as a launch pad for an expedition that explores a variety of strategies that range from Urban Landscape to Urban Architecture allowing for Urban Design to act as a platform that synthesizes these diverse scales into a comprehensive urbanistic project. STUDIO STRUCTUREThe studio will be made up of three discrete investigations which that will add up to one comprehensive project:Part 1 – Regional networks and their urban presence The first portion of the studio wil