... Richard Sennett wrote that a cosmopolitan is someone who moves comfortably in diversity, who is at home in situations which are not connected or parallel to what is familiar to him. Just like hybrid buildings. They are cosmopolitan buildings, placed in fragmented forms that do not correspond, in volumes based on remnants of previous mixed typologies, where its body fits with more or less fortune. They produce a new being with a unifying personality. The following paragraphs define the characteristics and personality of hybrids. They are, consciously, absolute maxims, grouped by themes that point out the categorical and defining, so that their personality traits are as noticeable as possible...


... In the search for models capable of economising resources, Hybrid Buildings, especially those with residential uses, are chance samples that include the gene of mixed-use development in its code. This gene is necessary in order to adapt to the signs of the times. Nevertheless, this mixed condition makes them mistakenly similar to another avant-garde model, a model that at first sight seems to be its predecessor when in fact it is the complete opposite. We are referring to the Social Condenser...


... Modern architects thought of the skyscraper as associated with the organization of work, with the office. In fact, the prototypic skyscraper of modernity is the expression of such organization; a optimized arrangement for archiving and connecting workers that archive and connect data. This reification of bureaucracy, without and pejorative connotation, was symbolically interpreted in steel and glass rectilinear prisms, artificially climatized, ordered in rings around nodes of communication. Buildings as the Seagram Building in New York gave the definitive and everlasting shape to this conception. That was Modernity with capital M: the triumph of organization, the beauty of organization. Today the skyscrapers under construction are manly located in Asia. They are residential buildings with concrete structures and natural ventilation...


... The current proliferation of the skyscraper with its mono-functional configuration (divided between dwellings and office space) and its ring encircled tectonic and circulation core offers an urban milieu without attributes, identical to itself, the norm in the high density city, canon indifferent to climates, economies or every day uses.
What would happen if for a moment we suspend gravity and with it the tectonic tradition central to the modern project of the high-rise? ...


... A large number of current projects –particularly speculative ones–require multiple functions to be housed together. The concentration of various activities into one structure, as Steven Holl has written, places pressures on the architecture and has a capacity to ‘… distend and warp a pure building type’. The current boom in high density buildings has in part been fed by exploding economies, astronomical rises in land value and the rise of emerging economic zones, in particular China, over the last twenty years. The increasing tendency among designers in dealing with this problem has seen the re-emergence of the hybrid building, in preference to a ‘sum of all parts’ mixed use solution, a level of concentration and hybridisation is increasingly understood as a way of activating the building, its individual uses and the surrounding urban fabric ...


... Let\'s speak about density in the first person. For more than ten years now, we have been studying housing in connection with the densification it contributes to the city. We have analyzed typologies, heights, floor area ratios, mixed uses, common spaces, user types... we have measured and compared all that can be quantified but we had avoided getting to the bottom of the matter, to the bottom of the wishing well that housing represents to its residents.

Do we really desire the dwellings that we publish, do we really want to live in the compact city? If we were to ask ourselves what the desired house really was, most of us, if we were honest, would recognize that we have an ideal photo in mind. It would be even more embarrassing if we were to ask ourselves where we live at present, in which type of house, in which part of the city and what plans we have for the future. Suddenly, density ceases to be a concept, something vital for the planet, a ratio for judging plans. Suddenly, density becomes an uncomfortable subject which deeply affects our decisions. We know that the dense city has to be built but while building the city one must not forget the house, considered in the singular, for the private user who will put his or her name on the letterbox.

Let\'s analyze collective housing as an object of desire. When we imagine ourselves living in the city and we superimpose the figure and the background -living in the city, the neighbourhood, the desired house... - it is our desires which sketch out the scene while we throw these down into the well which will make them possible. During this intimate moment, neither planning regulations, nor developers, not even the banks, intervene. We are alone, wandering around an imagined house, where all is the future...


... The lament is generalised. The crisis is downsizing architectural studios, devastating technical offices and removing many construction companies from the yellow pages.
A change of cycle is being produced which will starve off all the superfluous fat lubricating the property business.

In the early years of the 20th Century, Henry Ford spoke of the rationality of the production process and justified the extreme proximity of his machines in the production plant -greater than that of any other company in the world-, for an unnecessary separation of only six inches would end up passing on extra costs to the consumers. Fordism fattened Western consumption and flooded the market with mass-produced products, feeding a body which grew and grew in volume until the petroleum crisis of the seventies...


... The current debate on cities focuses mainly on the issue of density. Land is identified more and more as a precious asset that must be protected and used in the appropriate manner. The dichotomy between the dispersed city and the compact city, Sprawl versus Compactness, of some years ago, has affected urban planning and has conditioned everything, from the design of roads to policies involving the introduction of large companies that control consumption at a world level. But this debate is not new.
At the end of the 19th-century, the visionary solution of placing cities in the countryside proposed by Ebenezer Howard was nothing more than a utopian reaction to the overcrowding and destitution that consumed cities. At the beginning of the 20th century, in Central Europe, the confrontation was established in terms of Siedlungen against Höfe. The model of the Viennese Hof, with its self-sufficient super-block of dwellings, like a skyscraper laid flat on its back, inserted within the grid of the existing city, was in juxtaposition to the low density building, Siedlung, which colonised land around the perimeter of the city. The same argument, but with a different name, was maintained in Brussels, in 1930, at the III CIAM, on two conceptions of a city, i.e., the Garden City, or a city based on high-rise buildings. According to Walter Gropius, “low buildings, better with just one floor, should be located in the low-density outskirts of cities. Once their utility has been demonstrated, buildings with a rational height of from 10 to 12 floors and with centralised, collective facilities, should be located in low-density areas especially. Buildings of average height have neither the advantages of low constructions or tall constructions, to which it is inferior from the social, psychological and, in part, economic viewpoint.” (1) ...


... Blue eyes or brown, blonde hair or black, fair or dark skin –the details of the famous doll change to facilitate local identification for kids. But beyond the slight differences, Barbie’s body doesn’t change: the matrix stays the same. And if her vital statistics recall (in miniature, metric) those of Naomi Campbell (86-58-81) or Claudia Schiffer (96-62-92), before anything else her body represents a model: the universal sublimation of the standard young woman and her charms.
What is more, over and above her global body, the doll is really just a support for clothes; dressing her up entails casting her for a new role in a place, a climate or an event.
Shari, swim suit, sportswear or evening gown… Barbie’s clothes are like the skin of domestic architecture, a wardrobe to dress up an idealized typology and standardized functions. Each piece adds its note to the exterior, creating an atmosphere, a fantasy world, a scenography or a décor to support a story-line.

Standard human/standard house
Still in trauma, what with the urban and architectural wastelands created by mass-produced housing, New-Human n° 2 is bound to prefer difference to uniformity, meaning ‘the truth of what is specific… [since] the post-modern sensitivity perceives one fashion as being worth another, the patchwork of fashions signifying the effacement of modernity understood as the term of an evolution linked to progress’ (1) Today, ...


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