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Augmented Field Conditions: Networked Architecture in contemporary Japan’s artificial landscape


The project originates from the intention to study aggregative and adaptive compositional theories such as the “Field Conditions” theory, by focusing on the extremely heterogeneous and complex environment of Tokyo, in order to exercise a new design approach that could merge Architecture, Infrastructural Urbanism, and Landscape Urbanism.

“To generalize, a field condition would be any formal or spatial matrix capable of unifying diverse elements while respecting the identity of each.[...] Overall shape and extent are highly fluid and less important than the internal relationships of parts, which determine the behavior of the field.[...] The rules of combination have less to do with the arrangement of distinct and identifiable elements, as with the serial aggregation of a large number of relatively small, more-or-less similar parts.” [Stan Allen, From Object to Field: Field Conditions in Architecture + Urbanism] Arguably, Field Conditions can occur also in spatially complex environments like Tokyo in a spontaneous fashion, due to the inevitable overlapping of architectural, urban, infrastructural, landscape interventions through time. Multiple three-dimensional urban additions create landscape-like spaces that are constituted by the relationships between their discrete parts. This thesis, building upon the theory of Fields, presents Augmented Field Conditions as a broad compositional methodology for the contemporary metropolis. Its process permits to create networked buildings and large complexes through the superimposition of partial, discrete architectural interventions through time. Augmented Field Conditions wants to be the most global, a-specific, and unobtrusive architectural methodology to react to the specificities of local socio-cultural organizations.

Tokyo appears as a natural application site for testing Augmented Field Conditions: given its characteristics of density and interconnectedness, this city is the perfect environment for the formation of three-dimensional urban Mats. This thesis sets a project in a void space underneath the Expressway n.5, in Bunkyo-ku. The Strategic Planning of the project aims to provide a “backbone” of facilities open to the public along the longitudinal axis of the path underneath the expressway. This would fill the gap between work and leisure activities in the area, attracting users beyond necessity reasons. There is the need to preserve the urban void’s stunning tunnel-like visual continuity, which means avoiding ground-floor structures as much as possible. The best option is to add program to the public pathway by hanging it to the expressway’s structure. This allows to free the ground space while activating it thanks to the new spaces above. The expansion of the whole building system could be very easy throughout Tokyo expressway’s infrastructural grid. Many neglected covered areas can be redeveloped into useful multifunctional centers. Each center would adapt to different conditions and respond accordingly, creating a net of facilities in Tokyo.The presented project would be part of Tokyo’s infrastructural redevelopment planned for the 2020 Olympics.

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Augmented Field Conditions: Networked Architecture in contemporary Japan’s artificial landscape Board
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