Advanced Topics Studios with Wonne Ickx

M.Arch.I, Third Year


Course Description:

On September 3rd, the architects Sir Norman Foster and Fernando Romero were declared as winners of an international competition to build the new International Airport of Mexico City. While all the attention goes out to their visions on the spectacular new terminal building, it is urgent to study what will happen with the former airport site: a 746 ha plot of land at only 3.2 miles from the city center or Zocalo. (This site is also the subject of the 17th Arquine international architecture competition, which students will be encouraged to participate in.)

While ‘the tower’ is a typology in which a specific floor plan is stacked and repeated (with our without variations), in this studio we are interested in linear buildings, a typology in which a specific section is repeated continuously (with our without variations) until the necessary length is reached. Students are asked to design a long extruded building on the landing strip of the former airport: a typology that is defined primordially by one single section drawing.

In this studio we are primordially interested in buildings that do not reach the urban scale of the ‘megastructure’ or ‘linear city’ (that would bring us to city planning), but are on the other so large that they cannot be understood simply as a ‘building’: they really become a autonomous linear entity in the city fabric or in the landscape.

A trip is planned to Mexico City (10th to 14th of November, 2014) in order to obtain a general understanding of the city and its socio-cultural context, establish dialogue with local architects and critics and to get a firsthand experience of the site and some fantastic ‘extruded section’ buildings such as the National Library building by Alberto Kalach (2000).

Course Objectives:

Students are asked to study linear building types and their respective section drawings as a way to define these building types. Both the typology and the drawing as such (orthogonal section, section with one or two-point perspective, section in axonometric view, exploded view, etc...) will be researched as way to understand these buildings.

Students are asked to use this typology in a meaningful way on the given plot (the actual airport of Mexico City which soon will be abandoned in favor of a new infrastructure). This typology will have to be linked to the existing urban fabric in order to create a significant relation between the built areas and the green spaces around it and in order to create a powerful new city district connected to the actual metropolis. The realization of one large section drawing is the main final result of this course.


Wonne Ickx