Experience the elements Ajman crossing points boulevard

Experience the elements
Ajman crossing points boulevard

                                        

 

 

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2015
Competition: #1 PLACE

Location: United Arab Emirates - Ajman

7. Ajman international urban planning conference
Experience the elements:
Ajman crossing points boulevard

In collaboration with:
Florian Enßle
Nikolai Hanke
Luisa Prill
Simon Treml
Sebastian Schott
Tobias Wallisser

The existing center of Ajman is close to the sea and a new center area is planned further to the east near to the highway. Both form two poles for the proposed development vision. Rather than concentrating the event city programme in the new node, we propose to connect both nodes with a new type of infrastructure which is shaped as a contemporary type of urban boulevard. A series of nodal points, two at either end and two in-between provide many opportunities for space programme in conjunction with existing neighbourhoods or event venue spaces needed.

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The brief asks for a strategy to develop Ajman as an event city. This constitutes two elements: the first being the organisation of events of all kinds, usually large scale stagings which happen only occasionally on more or less regular intervals. Usually, different types of events are hosted in separate special buildings and only cater for the needs of a specific group, i.e. theatres, operas or sports venues. An interesting question would be to eliminate boundaries between different user groups and events to make them more public and accessible to a wide number of people. Making use of more adaptive venues more often could reduce the amount of space needed and therefore be a more sustainable way of development.

In short, our vision is to stage opportunities for:
- sustainable experiences,
- culturally and socially enriching human interaction,
- the integration of local climate, local habits and contemporary technology.

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Currently, Ajman has a population of about 237.000 people. Tourism and trading are the main sources of income. The Emirate boasts 16 km of coastal rear where most of the hotels are located and the core city is close to the waterfront. The climate governs the tourist patterns. Winters are quite mild, they are the ideal tourist season, while July and August are very hot even at night.

The second key word is ‘City’. What constitutes a city? Local traditions, local climate and culture shape the specific qualities of urban agglomerations. The European idea of a city is most definitively a different one than what is suitable for the development of Ajman. Therefore we would like to interpret ‘city’ as the location where urban experiences are possible: public sites open for everyone which entail the possibility to get new experiences every time. To make Ajman a lively and highly liveable place, we like to focus on the generation of locations for enabling public activities, gatherings and experiences.

VERNACULAR > VEHICULAR CULTURE

Instead of vernacular culture we propose a new type of vehicular culture based on the contemporary local habits and movement patterns.

The demanding climate of Ajman is seen as a special challenge for the location of any type of public event structure. creating a comfortable, enclosed climate for large-scale public events demand huge and energy consuming structure. Access will be via car for most of the visitors and spectators. We propose the integration of cars and new types of vehicles. These can be seen as small conditioned comfort zones - individual mobile spaces. If vehicles do not only carry people towards the event city but can also be used during some of the events as (private) spaces, swarm like clusters will emerge, people take an active part in the gathering by creating spatial boundaries and temporary assemblages. E-cars as a future type of shared transportation system work especially well with the new infrastructure (of our event city) moving quietly without pollution.

EVENTS : STAGING 

The new crossing points boulevard creates structures as infrastructural zones that can be seen as buildings waiting for activation of all types.

They enabling various uses - from car park to theatre stage, concert hall, cinema, playground, picknick areas, gathering ground, family recreation etc. A differentiation of spatial qualities from light to dark, from more exposed to more public, by areas characterised by high and low ceilings, wind and sun protection, noise absorption form the stages to be adopted. Seeing and being seen becomes the driver. Showing up becomes an essential part of the experience turning the passer-by into a modern flaneur despite of the climate. The design for the nodes of the boulevard comprises both, figure and ground forming a multitude of elements: buildings and landscapes, insides and outsides, areas serving and being served - a new type of infrastructure waiting to be discovered.

NATURAL RESOURCES : POWERFUL EXPERIENCES

Whilst offering spaces for social interaction, discovery and events, each node acts as a display for a different type of renewable energy generation. 

The functioning and particular effects of each of these systems is made visible and turned into an experience for the public. The entire system becomes a playground as well as a site for learning and education. The main element chosen works with the surroundings and becomes a guiding theme for the space programme and consequently for the articulation of the nodes.

The space programme for each node consists of a series of platforms which can be used of all sorts of events.

To make them accessible for many visitors, drive-in is an important feature. Lots of surfaces can be used as parking lots or as venues for events - changing over the cause of a day, a week or even years - thus providing different user experiences each time. Of course, users can co-determine the setup in a swarm like organisation making everyone a participant rather than a pure consumer.

Sustainability is a key concept, be it on the level of public interaction, the integration of energy production and the reduction of large scale facilities which are only used very rarely. Time and space sharing are fundamental concepts for each node.

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Section through the lanes

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Element water

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The event-zone themed around the element ‘water’ is connected to the artificial canal coming from the Persian Gulf. A solar desalination plant provides fresh water for this node. The desalination process can be explained and made understandable as an important live-sustaining experience. All visitors - locals as well as tourists -  can use their own vehicles or specially provided e-cars to drive through various event areas. Experiences related to water like a maritime museum, an aquarium, multiple swimming pools and the opportunity for boating provide opportunities for adventure, sport activities and leisure.

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