·     Area of study: Design Studio
·     Beginning and ending date: 
03 of September  – 14 of December 2012
·     Number of students: 
24 (architecture)
·     Schedule:  
Monday-Wednesday-Friday: 17:00-20:00 hrs.
·     Credits: 
9 hours per week
·     Teaching team: Head teachers:
Joel Sanz, Carla Collevecchio, Alessandro Famiglietti & Joao De Freitas

·     Cluster: Venezuela -Guatemala

Theme:  In-between: Closing the Gap of the Formal & Informal
The man not only inhabits the house, but the environment, the city. In this sense it is necessary to understand the housing as a complex fact that involves the physical aspect for its occupation of the territory, but also constitutes a social fact by excellence, able to impact the growth and development of the city skyline and its dynamics.
The problems related to housing don’t have to do exclusively with basic needs, but also with social needs and urban conditions. The physical and spatial disarticulation produces the break of the individual to the community. This fracture is evidenced in spaces that don’t have connectivity with the urban fabric; building their own limits and being degrade over time.
Housing as a social model, cannot be isolated from the city, not even detached from the equipment or public space, is necessary to incorporate community uses and alternate private spaces with public spaces. Besides the integration with the city and its continuous regeneration, the hybridization of uses could act as a way of revitalizing the urban fabric.

The city:
Caracas, city of contrast and diversities, multi-density profiles, irregular skylines, with juxtaposition of landscapes and physical and social discontinuities.
It is defined by the Avila to the north, marked by east-west connections, rough by hills and mountains along the valley, of multiples geometries in the plot.
The contact between the mountains and the valley, the flat city against the topographic city generates a gap, a succession of intermediate spaces; residual spaces which have been manipulated extemporaneously with no clear morphological structure and do not seem to belong to any defined fabric.
This gap, in the most of cases is produced because of the crash between the formal city (projected) and the informal city (auto construction). Not only is the break between two historically diverse fabrics, but represents the possibility of dialogue between the two parts. Nonexistent dialogue, inconclusive relation, is a recurrent characteristic of the city, which we must attack as an opportunity to grow inward, to densify or empty spaces that can integrate the segregated sectors.
The theme: housing as a possibility of occupation of the gap
The experience (the exercise) focuses on the re-occupation, appropriation and configuration of the intermediate and residual spaces, products of the clash between the urban fabric and topography, fractures of the grid, collision of formal and informal, road barriers and the internal boundaries of the city, for their reinsertion into the urban fabric, for redefinition (re signification).
In this case we will focus on the clash between the formal and informal, which generates the condition of urban gap, a space usually invaded or unoccupied without identity.
With the reuse of these wasted areas, besides suggest the possibility of connecting and integrating, proposes the reflection of the inward growth of the city (we do not need to extend the periphery, nor grow beyond the outer limits of the city)
This requires the analysis and interpretation of these disintegrated fragments of the plot, to seek to establish an occupation order in addition to assuming their growth and how it will be able to articulate the sectors that are opposed. It is proposed to use housing as a key factor to the reconfiguration of these intermediate territories, becoming the catalyst to occupy and assign a zoning and growth model to a place devoid of structure and meaning.
Housing as a key Project is associated with the issue collective space and their relationship between individual and social living. We cannot dissociate the housing of public space, is the only way we will ensure their impact and power of transformation of a place.
It is attempted to explore how these systems are able to rebuild from its own geometry, degraded areas of the city without plot. In addition to the morphological and spatial configuration of the parts, insertion and urban relationship established whit the context is the one that manages to integrate the fabrics, activate, enhance and densify the area

The opportunity:
With this approach attempts to regenerate an area, establish relationships between discontinuous fabrics unrelated to each other, besides to propose a housing solution as a trigger of new urban and social dynamics.
It is the opportunity to address the social issues associated with occupation themes and hybridization of programs of these places in between. Rather than viewing the intervention as a local way to resolve the housing demand, it is attempted to radiate the impact, conceiving a system capable of occupy interstitial places of the city so common in Caracas.

Objectives of the local design studio_The academic objectives
-Observe, analyze and categorize urban problems in border areas, topographical fractures and discontinuity of the fabric between formal and informal.
-Explore through conceptual diagrams fill modes, knitting, spinning, link, extending tissues and build hybrids fabrics.
-Test collective housing options, ways of grouping, configuration of grid, definition of a system to connect situations, capable of hybridizing. Propose an urban and architectural solution for the occupation of the gap.
-Develop the architectural object, not only taking the issue of module production, but building public space, capable of hybridizing discontinuous territories.
-Research and propose ways of contemporary living in a city like Caracas, ways of living individually and collectively, to the configuration and combination of public spaces, semi-public and private

ADU aims to be tested
Multidisciplinary perspective
The visualization of the problem as a complex fact, not only analyzed from the design area, but with a broader view involving urban, social, economic, cultural.
Different ways of producing and sharing information
The approach to the study will be from the conceptual, historical and referential review of the topic of residual space in the city of Caracas, and simultaneously through site visits selected to establish contact with the community and to absorb factors to define design strategies.
Involvement of academic and professional fields
From the beginning it will address the issue based on site conditions and actual context, through analysis and site visits. From these diagnostic scan will begin on modes of occupying the place of study, approached from the academic subject of collective housing.
How the experience will affect ADU’s partners work and vice versa
Although the issue of social housing in Latin America may have features in common, it is important to emphasize the starting point proposed in this case. The reconfiguration of intermediate places and waste areas as places that regenerate the city, the necessary combination of housing programs with public spaces and collective uses as a key project to redefine spaces in the city and return to its inhabitants

Methodology and relation with ADU partners
The exercise will be developed as an “Integrated Laboratory” between the Design Studio and other complementary subjects designed to address the specific topic (social housing) from Technology, Environment, History and Urbanism.
The project is subdivided in two stages: the definition of strategies to reconfigure the urban fabric (in between) and the development of a housing system capable of integrate and activate the place, promote new ways of living and combine the residential with public activities.
first stage will be focus on the interpretation of the site and its context, to elaborate urban, historical and social analysis, through site visits and study of examples and references for the definition of tools and design strategies to select and occupy a gap.
The second part will be the development of the architectonic proposal for social housing.
The whole exercise will be organized in teams of 3 students.
Like every ADU pilot project this Lab will have an international partner. Periodical reviews and final project evaluations are expected to be done between both institutions.
The variety of cases studies, chosen by the respective partners will guarantee a critical and open discussion on the general theme and the produced outcomes.
This outline for design studio (with theoretical components, integrated within the studio), will have parallel equivalents at other HEI’s, with different inputs or approaches.