As a introductory exercise to the master thesis project, Christian Kieckens takes on the part of Onofre Bouvila1, a city dweller who during a period of three months asks five design questions bound by a storyboard. The design questions are given a critical interpretation and answer by myself, the architect. It is meant as an exercise about architectural thinking and as the prelude for the eventual design proposal for the thesis project.
Four of the five design questions are summarized on the next pages because of their major relevance to the thesis project. They are presented in their original form as a dialogue. Each answer by the architect is substantiated both textually and visually. This way the discourse between Onofre and the architect is easy to follow.
A metropolitan house
Onofre Bouvila wants a permanent place to transfer his experiences. He asks the architect to help him in his quest for elementary and essential spaces and to generate some guidelines to shape a set of separate buildings.
The architect thinks the ‘urban collage’ and tradition, together with the daily needs of urban life found in a city quarter—housing, work, education, leisure, culture—should serve as the basis for the design of a metropolitan house. A cluster of various ‘building types’ are brought together around a public courtyard.2 The boundary of the block and the unification of the buildings is emphasized by a ‘galleria’. This way, the block becomes generous and creates value for both the city and itself. The whole functions as if it were a ‘city within a city’.