In 1972 in the MOMA, New York, the exhibition “Italy: the new domestic landscape” staged the work of the radical Italian avant-garde. Young designers such as Archizoom and Superstudio defined those years’ architecturally with new “visions”, imagining utopic scenarios in a close relation with technology. Almost half a century later we find ourselves living in a different world when compared to the one imagined by the radical utopias whereby a “handy” technology made the city “smart”, but without twisting its physiognomy.
In a context where the concepts of “energy production” and “energy consumption” are fundamental factors for the present and future development, thinking how those actors can change the existing city is a dutiful act. For this reason, five young architecture offices confront each other by working on five different kinds of energy in order to revolutionize with creative force the Milano Bovisa area.
false mirror office, Ghigos, Gruppo Torto, UNO8A + caarpa e WAR propose themselves as a new generation of designers that ironically talk together about the future of the city in a “new energetic landscape”. Gruppo Torto uses the possibilities of the “potential energy” to make in the gasometer area structures from which to slide or jump; False Mirror imagines totem of tribal energy able to involve the community in new primordial events. Ghigos uses the biomass energy as a way to integrate/overlap the agricultural world and the city in an urban “back to the future”; W.A.R. transforms the angel’s cemetery by John Hejduk in a kinetic energy accumulator; UNO8A + caarpa uses the heat generated by digital infrastructure as a way to make a new urban ecosystem. Everything is told through a small domestic interior made by a table sheet, plats, ancient mirrors and puddings, towards an “architecture tableful” with the irreverent radical flavour.
Potential Energy: The energy that is held by an object, or by a system, because of its position relativeto other objects i.e. to a field of conservative forces in a gravitationalfield.
The area of Bovisa has been bound historically to the production and storageof energy, which still lives on in the gasometer structures as reminiscence ofthe industrial past. Today, both actors and activities have changed, and aboveall Bovisa is again subject to a series of design projects many of which aredealing with a possible ‘smart’ future. GruppoTorto takes the ‘Tavolata diArchitettura’ as an opportunity to reflect upon the area, existing projectsand the architectural future, by choosing potential energy as the main topic.
The generation of potential energy depends on many parameters such as position and shape. These two are especially interesting because in combination they establish ‘potential spaces’ which can become the object of design. The proposal aims at opening the discussion on the manifold circumstances at which energy is produced, and on the role of the architectural design within co-creating such circumstances.
GT introduces vertical elements of different height, which – thanks to their shape – hold manifold potentials and offer a wide range of ‘falling scenarios’. From the top of these structures you may slide down, plunge, or jump; each element is determined by a varying altitude and a different way experiencing the descent. The project narrates potential energy by setting in scene the moment just before the jump.
The dense composition of vertical elements around the two existing gasometers in the green area of Bovisa, a space of ‘run-out’ energy, is further densified with new vertical structures and additional ‘potentialities’. The resulting imagery derived from potential energy turns into an opportunity to reflect on past, present and future of a district which is undergoing a substantial process of re-designing.
The mirror, the pudding and the plate showcase three moments of thepotential energy all from different points of view: the first represents the fallingscenario, the second the moment before the jump, the third captures the finish,after the fall.