UR Project: Industrial Landscapes of Cultural Significance
For Professor Caroline Lavoie’s LAEP 4100 (Urban Theory, Systems and Design) project in the fall of 2010, students were asked to create an environment for the future of the Ferroccaril/Railroad yards area in Monterrey Mexico. The project required the students to explore and develop programs and large-scale plans. They worked in teams to prepare designs for the development of a mixed-use project and a public spaces system. In developing their programs, they were reminded that new urban projects would need to consider the interface of urban/industrial and cultural landscapes issues
The project aimed to create a distinct neighborhood character with strong social and physical links to the City of Monterrey. To that end, the existing freight-rail system would remain a part of the site and would be considered a landmark to create distinctiveness in the neighborhood. The students' proposed programs had to be inclusive of the local population by allowing access to large-scale green spaces (recreational/cultural amenities). At the same time, it had to provide access to much smaller-scale neighborhood uses in the surrounding areas. Design considerations were given to social, cultural and environmental conditions of the site and its surroundings--neighborhood, metropolitan, and regional scales.
The goals of the project would expose the student to ideas, skills and processes that are difficult to learn from a textbook or in the classroom. They are best learned by doing. The specific goals were as follows:
- Create a dynamic mixed-use environment with a strong urban character
- Develop an anchor public space system that will help to create a distinct character in the neighborhood, the city and the region
- Understand the complexity of new urban conditions involved in industrial vacant (or partly in use) areas in designing for mixed-use development and urban space
- Understand the importance of the urban landscape as part of a larger framework of theory of urban spaces
- Propose designs that show an understanding and sensibility to local socio-cultural aspects
- Recognize the multiplicity of users, and scales in proposing a program and concept
- Understand the process of developing a design program and have the ability to apply it to the site
- Understand the full range of user needs through varying age and abilities, and be able to apply it in the design
- Understand issues of diverse income groups to integrate into a successful design of mixed-use and public spaces
This project represents the kind of work that would involve a professional Landscape Architect in the international arena. In addition to the international component, the students studied the historical evolution of the site, explored its relationship to the local history of the railroad, and looked at linkages between the proposed building and land uses to the existing urban and social fabric of Monterrey.
Utah ASLA selected this project for a Merit Award in 2010!