·     Area of study: Urban and Architectural Design
·     Beginning and ending date: 
September 3rd  – December 9th, 2012.
·     Number of students: 
10 – 15
·     Schedule: 
Tuesday and Friday from 13.30 to 17.00
·     Credits: 
102 hours
·     Teaching team (Head teacher):
Dania González Couret
·     Assistants:
Dayra Gelabert Abreu, Ada E. Portero Ricol

·     Cluster: Chile- Cuba

Theme
Social housing continue being a governmental responsibility in Cuba, but because of the lack of resources and the intention to provide each family a finished house, the housing demand have not been satisfied.
On the other hand, some people use to build their own house by self-construction in a progressive way, but the result is a low density urban model.
Taking into account the necessity to take as much advantage as possible of the urban land as a main sustainability principle, the present approach intends to combine the governmental action and people participation to reduce the initial cost of housing, allowing people to complete and transform their house according to their necessities and to guarantee at the same time the quality of the urban image as well as mid densities.
Based on this approach, the students will make urban and architectural proposals for an empty land located between consolidated neighborhoods to be filled by a residential area according to the city plan and the solicitude of the National Institute of Housing. They will apply former research results.

Objectives of the local design studio
From the curricula

- Contributing to the solution of a real problem in the social practice.
- To develop abilities for team working.
-  Developing design proposals for the urban and the architectural scale.
-  To integrate diverse variables and restrictions in the design proposal.
-  To develop abilities for decision making based on the cost – benefit analysis.
-  Consolidating and applying principles of cultural identity.
From the specific PPP Theme and approach

- To understand and apply from former researches:
- The main principles for urban and architectural sustainability in urban housing.
- The better experiences in contemporary international social housing and sustainable urban development.
- Former experiences in urban model and social housing in historical Cuban experience.
- Needs and expectances of contemporary Cuban society, families and people in general.
- To develop proposals solving the contradictions between:
- Taking advantage of the urban land – indoor environment.
- Progressivity – urban image
- Industrialization – traditional building technologies.
- Government – People partnership
- Social housing – Self construction
- Repetitiveness – Specificity/diversity
- To understand and represent the problems and to be able to explain the analysis methods and the process that have enabled them to arrive at a specific formal solution.
- To learn and put into practice different tools of observation and representation from the field of design, architecture and urban planning.
- Present and discuss from a multidisciplinary perspective the project to university authorities and other strategic partners (The National Institute of Housing and, The Local Actors)
- Design and produce models.

ADU aims to be tested
1. Multidisciplinary perspective

The studio will incorporate professors and professionals from different fields to interact with the students, working as a team in the analysis and discussions of the solutions. Some of the professional fields included integrating methods and backgrounds will be: Civil Engineering, Environment, Renewable Energies, Management, Sociology and Artists. Besides that, local actors will also be incorporated to the working team.
2. Creative thinking and research oriented studio

The studio will be based on previous research works which results will be applied and validated through the design solutions. The creative thinking will be the result of solving some proposed contradictions between opposite categories or concepts.
3. Learning environment and working methods

The first step of the work is based on documental research and field surveys, including site visits, interviews with main stakeholders, scanning, mapping and presenting main inputs of theme to be studied. The information gathered by each team through this survey will be share among all the students, and it will be the starting point for all proposals. The second step, also developed by teams, will consist on the urban proposal, elaborated, presented and discussed in the multidisciplinary team including all the specialists. The third step will be developed by each student individually, and also presented and discussed in the multidisciplinary team. The final presentation and its evaluation will consider the three steps, including architectural and urban proposals. The production of content won’t be hierarchical because students, teachers and specialists from different fields will define the boundaries of the problem together. Teachers will guide and share their point of view.
4. Relation with the “recent phenomena” and the “hot topics”

To work with the identified controversial subjects is polemic and generates opinion. It also generates discussion between students, specialists and teachers on national and global issues. In this studio, the controversial topics have been identified in pairs of opposites to be discussed. The solution of the contradiction will stimulate the creative thinking, based on former experiences and results of research works, applied to the current situation.
5. Creative process based on social and cultural references

The studio should enhance the socio-cultural understanding of Cuban reality and enrich the discussion related to other international references. The multidisciplinary team and the relation to the local actors will contribute to this goal, and also, the field work, the study of former research works and the knowledge about the history and evolution of traditions. Consolidating and applying the principles of cultural identity is a main objective in the curricula.
6. Materiality

The studio is focused on the solution of a real problem in a real place, taking into account real conditions, restrictions and actors. The site analysis is an important departing point for the proposals. The available building materials and budget are also important premises for the design. The proposals will be expressed in hand made models and drawings as well as digital information and simulation.

Methodology and relation with ADU partners
The work will be developed by the group of students supported by a multidisciplinary team of specialists and teachers, in five distinct stages:
a) Survey, which aims to understand (visualize) the problem and define the variables that influence it. This will be developed by different student teams, each of them working in a different issue:
- Social Housing in the world. Evolution, recent trends and best practices.
- Social Housing in Cuba. Evolution and trends. Building materials and technologies.
- Urban sustainability
- Architectural sustainability
- Urban models
- Family and housing. Progressivity and flexibility.
- Site analysis.
b) Multidisciplinary team work. Conceptualization: Discussion of departing situation. Pair of opposite concepts. Design premises.
c) Urban proposals. Team work. Presentation and discussion  in the multidisciplinary team.
d) Architectural proposal. Individual work. Presentation and discussion  in the multidisciplinary team.
e) Feed back and final presentation.

Like every ADU pilot project this will have an international partner. Periodical reviews and final project evaluations are expected to be done between both institutions. First during the step “b”, second and third after the steps “c” and “d” respectively, and the final one at the end.