Nowadays, demands for other ways of social spatial organizations are needed, – for sanitary and social reasons – a new type is required to fill in the gap oscillating between scales and programs, exceeding the idea of a building but limited to size between the block and the neighborhood; These solutions are urgent to properly address climate change and inequality from a different perspective, but at the same time to mediate between rapidly changing territories, especially those caught under transition, between being urban and rural.
Certain very long and narrow buildings are still elusive to be described as a type or be called as such. From Royal Crescent in Bath (1774), to the Glass palace by Paxton in London 1851; From Le Corbusiers Plan Obus for Algiers 1930 to Pedregulho complex in Rio by Reidy in 1947; From New Babylon by Constant 1958-68 to Centro Cultural Sao Paulo, by Telles + Lopes in 1972; And from La Gallaratesse by Rossi in Milan in 1982 to Moneo´s Illa in Barcelona in 1994, and Universidad de la Sabana by Felipe Uribe in Bogotá, Colombia (2017).
With the illusion to make echo of Shadrach Woods’ thoughts and interests, we will call these buildings GroundScrapers. We will deepen into their operation, qualities and logics, hoping to give them a push into the realm and condition of type, addressing their radicality and continuous presence through history, suggesting a way of universal making and thinking beyond specific cultures or homogenizing globalization.
How much of this pressure can architecture take without becoming a tool in service of real estate speculation and unlimited growth? How much is enough?
Can architecture as a GroundScraper become a confluence point to provide limits to a territory but at the same time opportunities to protect and create a more horizontal relation with an endangered community and ecosystem?
At what length does architecture need help from other disciplines to settle new conditions and become instrumental to mediate between too multiple conditions, without becoming rhetoric and at the same time being pertinent?
The task is not only to attend real problems for specific sites, it is also to move the disciplinary frontier as we engage with a quick changing reality.