‘Teaching the City: Port of Havana’
Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner, Danny Wills & Hans-Christian Rufer
Of Process (Ground Up 6)
Urban-Think Tank’s Fall 2016 ‘Port of Havana’ design studio at ETH Zürich aimed to propose sustainable architectural solutions for the transformation of the city’s recently decommissioned harbor. Currently lacking a comprehensive development plan, the port and its surrounds provided an ideal ‘classroom’ to practice the Chair’s alternative research and design methodology. Amidst the vast and varied layers of a diverse and rapidly changing city, our on-the-ground process was simple: look, observe, listen, ask, absorb, and understand. Together with local architecture students from the Instituto Superior Politécnico José Antonio Echeverría (CUJAE), we conducted a series of mapping and fieldwork exercises around the port, exploring disconnected neighborhoods and empty industrial sites. Along the way, we met locals and were often invited into their homes, cataloging personal histories and visions for the future of their city. From our vantage point in the present, we analyzed the historic context, and developed a contemporary urban design to positively affect the lives of the city’s inhabitants.