Project: SOCIAL CLOUD

Date: 03.2010
Type: Competition entry
Size: _
Location: Timisoara, Romania

Status: Settled

FOR:
Project leader: Alex Cozma
Team: Alin Balaj, Oana Simionescu

+ PARASITE STUDIO: Claudiu Toma

THE GREY NEIGHBOURHOOD is a uniform space, lacking diversity, monofunctional, in which “everything was the same for everyone”; an ATOMIZED neighborhood, with little interaction, little identification, little connection to the exterior. Approximately 16% of TIMISOARA`S surface contains grey neighborhoods. Considering the density of these neighborhoods, one may conclude that approximately half of this city’s population resides in such a place.

THE PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE PLANNING OF THESE NEIGHBORHOODS WERE OF A GEOMETRIC-RATIONALIST TYPE, WITH A STRONG IDEOLOGICAL COMPONENT, WITHOUT ANY SOCIAL ORIENTATION: “THEY HAD CONTROL OVER HOUSING POLITICS AND THE HOUSING PROGRAMTHIS WAS ONE OF THE LONG-TERM KEY-STRATEGIES!” (IOANA TEODORESCU). This geometrization, though, ignored some basic natural lighting principles. Thus, an important percentage of the surface of the facades is not hit by direct solar radiation, being completely oriented towards the north.

The project attempts to offer a solution to apartments that often face the north completely because, in our opinion, tomorrow’s light must solve stringent existing problems, attack sustainable designing problems for existing cases that are irreversible through ampleness.

Between 1958 and 1965 there was heavy industrialization – with expansion of heavy industry near the cities. This phenomenon continued until 1978 – consequentially there was a new wave of migration towards the cities, this time in large numbers. Between 1948 and 1975 the urban population saw an increase of 147%

IN THE SAME TYPE OF APARTMENT (UNIT), VARIOUS PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO COHABITATE. THE PROCESS IS “SIMILAR TO TRYING TO CROWD IN SHAPES OF DIFFERENT MORPHOLOGIES IN THE SAME SQUARE BOX. THE PERSONALITY, PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE, EDUCATION AND REAL NEEDS ARE ELEMENTS THAT DETERMINE THE SHAPE OF THE PERSON IN THIS ANALOGY.” THE RESULT IS A SEA OF PALE COLORS, A HYBRID-HUMAN WHOSE SPIRITUAL MATRIXES HAVE BEEN DISTORTED. MAN WAS ONLY CONSIDERED LABOUR FORCE, AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD REPRESENTED MERELY THE PLACE WHERE THE LABOUR FORCE WAS TO SLEEP AND NOTHING MORE.

Light can improve the life of people residing in these types of neighborhoods with its mere presence in places that have been neglected by others, in people’s homes. Thus man is allowed to grow and develop relationships, not being deprived of a common good by the architecture he resides in.

Today’s image of the grey neighborhoods is the result of certain IDEOLOGICAL factors! There were principles that favored a strict economy which have “inhibited architectural innovation in general, creating the distinct impression that the economy of residences is a pretext for ideologically-motivated social engineering aimed at limiting the individual’s independence. “The new ideology must be based on sustainable concepts and some simple principles among which also the right to natural light.
Also, the neighborhood is important to communication and identity as it can create a social and physical identity for the residents, one that they can identify with, having the capacity of communicating the symbolical meaning of a place as a residential structure, demonstrating the unique character by utilizing the natural and social characteristics of the position, the places are described as a source of self-identification, with the individuals having the tendency of stating who they are, making reference to their residence, at the same time having the feeling that they are representing their city, region or country. The central element in representing places by their residents lies in a strong identification with those places, as if the places were part of them.
The true motivation of this study was that of starting a real dialogue between members of today’s Romanian society. The art of coexisting with various partners should lead to such dialogue. Learning to respect those around us – publicly as well as privately – is one of the main requirements for a healthy society that wishes to advance and leave the marks of communism behind.
Such dialogue can only take place in places where people meet in order to share their experiences.

The lack of space for social interaction is one of the major problems of this particular type of neighborhood. That is why every unused place could be a future good space for interaction. Upon analysis of usable free space one can notice that badly isolated roofs are perfect places for creating common space.

Improving the image becomes an increasingly important aspect when it comes to regeneration strategies in Europe. A negative image is seen as an obstacle in the successful regeneration of an area and its improvement, especially in dense urban areas. The ideas and the vision must develop through approach related to communication, discourse and politics. Why not do that through light and a diverse and playful filtering of it on the side facing south that need this anyway. Thus, neighborhood branding could be done through light patterns that differ for each neighborhood, increasing the residents` feeling of belonging and improving the image of the neighborhood.