This is Hybrid

An analysis of mixed-use buildings

ISBN 978-84-616-6237-1

a+t research group (Aurora Fernández Per, Javier Mozas, Javier Arpa)

Soft cover with flaps (23.5 x 32)



312 Pages

THIS IS HYBRID is a single volume compilation of the analysis of 21 hybrid buildings essential in any approach to the design of mixed use programs. The publication selects the most significant contemporary works from those published in the a+t magazine Hybrids series, available in online version.

In addition, the book contains the research articles published by a+t research group spanning six years of study which firmly place the mixed used program, something increasingly requested by schools and developers, within a detailed historical context. 

Hybrid buildings are structures capable of housing diverse programs, of fostering the interaction of different urban uses and of combining private and public activity. They promote housing, public space and facilities, to a great extent to solve three crucial issues in our society:
- the shortage and high cost of land,
- the monofunctionality of new developments,
- the deterioration of urban centres”. a+t research group

The prologue, written by Steven Holl specially for this compilation, puts forward the potential of hybrid buildings in the 21st Century.

Research on new prototypes, conducted by Iñaki Ábalos at AAP-Cornell GSD-Harvard and BIArch-Barcelona com­pletes this volume in which reality is closer to utopia.


... 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 ...



"The contribution of academe to the architectural research is vanishingly small, with the most substantial contributions to advancing the discipline emerging from vanguard practices. Thank goodness then for a+t and their grounded, wholly relevant research and associated publications - of which This is Hybrid - An Analysis of Mixed-use Buildings is a beautifully presented example." Graeme Hutton, RIAS Quarterly magazine, The Journal of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

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