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City of voids
City of voids

Mapping: Spatial void map of central Havana
Mapping: Spatial void map of central Havana

Void
Void

Process scenario: Hanging elements are part of the voids. A stair fell down and it is no longer a stair but has become a bridge.
Process scenario: Hanging elements are part of the voids. A stair fell down and it is no longer a stair but has become a bridge.

Plan level +12.50
Plan level +12.50

Section
Section

Spiritual space, stair bridge and Casa Particulare. This illustrates the notion of the horizontal void and the framing of voids by voids.
Spiritual space, stair bridge and Casa Particulare. This illustrates the notion of the horizontal void and the framing of voids by voids.

Casa Particulare is a temporary settlement giving a sense of living inside the void. One of the high-lying fragments, it offers views through the lower-lying voids: the falling bridge (stair bridge), the spiritual space and garden and the observation space.
Casa Particulare is a temporary settlement giving a sense of living inside the void. One of the high-lying fragments, it offers views through the lower-lying voids: the falling bridge (stair bridge), the spiritual space and garden and the observation space.




PROJECTINDEX
HONOURABLE MENTION
SPACE OF THE VOIDS
Technische Universiteit Delft
ARCHITECTURE

Space of Remembrance and Forgetfulness
The void as a new kind of space for Havana, old and filled with memories that are gradually being forgotten: a memorial space for daily life
'Ruins display a fragile balance between maintained form and decay, between nature and history, between brutality and quietness, melancholy and hopefulness, in a way that couldn't be reached by any intact building or artwork.'

A balance between full and empty informs Havana. The city is struggling to find new infills for the disused places that are its oldest sites. Havana is a collage of grids from different periods in its history (Colonial, Neo-colonial and Communist) which show through at these disused places or voids. This is what has shaped the city since the Revolution of 1959. The voids have particular spatial qualities shaped by time. This type of palimpsest is the place for exceptional scenarios.
Most parts of Havana belong to the Colonial period. After the events of 1959, changes were promised for the city. But what was the spatial aftermath of the Communist Revolution? No single master plan was implemented, just small parts every time. The city stopped expanding and developing and decay set in. Some buildings deteriorated over time, others were damaged by hurricanes. In view of the country's economic state it was easier to look for somewhere else to live than renovate the ruins. Many buildings were abandoned this way and the voids hold out new spaces for the city and its inhabitants. And as the number of voids increased, people began inhabiting them again.
These spaces full of memories are symbolic of the social and political upheavals here. Monuments to the Revolution, they became part of the city's daily life. Little by little, the history of these places has been slipping from human memory, but not their form. This characteristic duality informs the scenario of Space of the Voids. The voids are a reminder of the fact that people want to forget.
This project narrates the development of a new type of space for the city. Here the voids are conceived of not as leftover space but as space of a new kind that is old and filled with memories and meanings that are gradually slipping away.
The project adopts a narrative approach and a presentation in drawings that together express the specific qualities of these voids. It all began with several walks taken by its designer in the old part of Havana where most of the voids are to be found. This resulted in the Spatial Void Map of Havana. The process then took two parallel paths. One of these was to record the spatial qualities in models and drawings, with the drawings often superimposed in a reference to the layering and the notion of the palimpsest. The other path was to present scenarios for the voids through drawings, texts and one model per scenario. Lastly the project was presented in one of the blocks of central Havana, itself a void in the city.
Space of the Voids is a memorial space for daily life. A new approach to the city, it presents a fragmented picture of differing scenarios as a metaphor for changes in Havana. Space of the Voids embodies the space between reality and fantasy, between inside and outside, open and closed, memorial and everyday life, urban and architectural scale, building and landscape, public and private.
In the end these voids are absorbed by the city and become part of the grid...