– blind spots on the map of the city.
Mobility infrastructures have been historically overlapped on unitary urban systems based on rationalization and hierarchies, conceptually consistent and in harmony with the regional context and its landscape. They also have been established on undeveloped territories later occupied or absorbed by urban growth.
Infrastructures impose their own logics: that means specific developments which, in many cases, come into conflict with the established order. Pre-established hierarchies change to prioritize the outside-inside connectivity to the detriment of the inner urban fabric continuity. Those processes lead to large areas of specialization that, in most cases, become excessive or obsolete within the developed urban context after a long period.
From the Industrial Revolution and subsequent changes on communication systems, the mid-nineteenth century city implements railway structures based on its condition of compact city. They are brought as close as possible to the centre. During the 20th century, with the road transport hatching, the idea of serving a preexisting centre remains. The implementation of road superstructures ignores the continuous development of the city and, as a result, the new urban growths become discontinuous urban pieces.
A general consideration about the continuity of the main supra-urban mobility systems over the urban territory will take us to raise the status and position of the major interchange hubs of the future city. As a result, we will be able to act on areas resulting from the dislocation or transformation of large obsolete parts.
Stockholm has a special and very specific setting: its archipelago condition and the overlapping of the industrial and contemporary city have resulted in an urban morphology characterized by converging infrastructure flows that generate high intensive urban nodes. In some cases these nodes have become new city blind doors, and only for large infrastructure.
We believe it is a recognizable situation that is repeated in several parts of the city.
Gullmarsplan is certainly one of these blind doors, an interchange between the centre and the region, a step before the infrastructures cross onto Södermalm. That door status and its bad approach within the existing urban context, derives in a strong distortion in adjacent tissues. On the other hand, Skansbron is a good example of how infrastructures can generate high quality spaces, with great potential for transformation. This place shows the special configuration of Stockholm to which we referred. Topography, water, infrastructure and green set on a disposition that expands on the vertical, and transgresses the most usual bidirectional relation between the user and its environment.
Certainly in Stockholm it urges to address the conflict that overlapping large Infrastructures have infringed on the quality and development of the city on its small scale, the one that refers to proximity.
Infrastructures act as boundaries and, at the same time, as barriers preventing the natural interaction between the context and the realities they cut through. To recover and to enhance these interactions is one of the biggest challenges of Stockholm.
The city is a complex entity, a result of a great number of needs, concerns, knowledge and sensitivities....it needs of multidirectional interpretations and of a proper balance between them. There is no prescribed scale to define dormant assets, which transcend physical reality and are also located in the area of social interactions.
We believe in the comprehensive analysis of the specific conditions, pre-existences, conflict, activity flows. The complex city does not need imposed solutions, but articulating ones, and must be developed in conjunction with the city over time.
The points where infrastructures converge must also convert on high urban dynamism. It is also needed to reduce drastically the long distance routes within the city by strengthening its parts, the neighbourhoods, turning them on dynamic elements, not subsidiaries of them. Infrastructures must serve the urban cohesion, not to break it.
The exhibition Stockholm on the Move is a good opportunity to ask the visitors, users and inhabitants of Stockholm, which are their own dormant assets.
Text by Olga Tarrasó & Joaquim Tarrasó.
About the workshop leaders
Olga Tarrasó – Architect. Educated at Architecture School of Barcelona (ETSAB, UPC) 1982 Master in Landscape Architecture (ETSAB, UPC) 1985. Architect at the Urban Projects Managing Office of the Barcelona's City Council 1981-2000. Olga lectured and conducted workshops in several institutions in Spain as well in other countries. She worked in the Office for Urban Projects in the Barcelona’s Municipality since its origins in 1981 until 2000. There, she developed several projects for urban transformation in different areas, amongst others, the Seafront Promenade System along the Ancient Harbour (FAD prize 1996) or the Covering Platform of the Ronda del Mig (DECADA prize 2007). She was also involved in the design of urban furniture (Banc NU, 1991).
Joaquim Tarrasó – Architect SAR/MSA, Studied architecture at the schools Architectuur Instituut Sint Lucas Gent (Belgium) and the Escola Tècnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), where he graduated in 2001. Tarrasó was a trainee at the Department for Building Design of the Barcelona's City Urban Planning Central Office, and since year 2003 he runs his own professional practice, working in Architecture and Urban Design, within ESPINAS I TARRASÓ, a multidisciplinary team of professional, that develop Planning‐ and Landscape Projects, as well as Buildings. They work mainly in Urban environment and its use, for both the public and the private sector. Tarrasó has been teaching Design and Building engineering at ELISAVA, School of Design and Engineering of Barcelona, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, (2006‐2008). Since 2010 he is Course Tutor in the Masters Program U+A/DL (Urban & Architecture Design Laboratory), at Chalmers University, Göteborg Since year 2009 he works from Barcelona and Göteborg, where he has recently established his residence.