11/15/2008
          Density : Projects by Aurora Fernandez Per and Javier Arpa
          Review by Mario Cipresso

        • Density Projects is the second publication in the 'Density' series by a+t ediciones of Spain. Continuing the mission of the first book in the series, 'Density:Condensed Edition' the intention is to present new collective housing projects that promote density and intensity in architecturally unique ways. The authors specifically look to projects that combine other programmatic uses beyond residential as they're particularly interested in the ability of these combined uses to emulate the urban condition and subsequently their potential to affect and bolster the larger urban environment. Given the global movement towards conservation of resources, these types of projects are more relevant than ever as the increased densities and minimized footprints reduce our consumption of natural resources and our impacts on the physical environment.

          As I noted in an earlier review of their Civilities series, the quality and thoroughness of the diagramming presented is quite impressive. The authors not only include the architect's original diagrams and drawings, they employ their own method of analysis for the projects that allow for a one-to-one comparison of key data such as program distribution, density, open space, etc. This strategy, which is a common theme in most a+t publications, is what truly differentiates them from the average compilation of work.

          After each project is introduced with this initial level of analysis they are further defined through images of physical models and computer models, line drawings spanning floor plans to construction details, nicely coded diagrams and full-color renderings. It is important to note that the projects featured were in a state of design development or were intiating construction at the time of publication so none of the works were complete at the time of publication in 2007. Beyond the publication's usefulness in raising awareness of new ideas in high-density residential projects, the drawing and diagramming techniques presented are so varied and illustrate trends in architectural representation and the effective articulation of ideas.

          I've enjoyed referring back to both books in the Density Series regularly for the manner in which they analyze and present the ideas in each project and expect you will as well.

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