04/27/2009
          Hybrids 1 & Hybrids 2 by Javier Mozas and Aurora Fernandez Per
          Review By Mario Cipresso

        • The recent release of the "HYBRIDS" series has proven timely and relevant given the current prevailing environmental and economic issues we face as a global society today. The underlying themes center largely on the need to intensify and maximize land use as a means to develop sustainable systems and societies which is directly connected to the increasing scarcity of available land. These two themes coupled with the recent trends towards re-inhabiting city centers makes the thoughtful consideration of high-density, mixed-use urban solutions more critical than ever. We've seen more large-scale urban proposals in the architecture media recently than ever before, often bordering on the absurd. The authors have done well to select a good cross-section of projects that are largely built (or planned) and have split the two volumes based on horizontal versus vertical strategies.

          The authors present the notion of the 'Hybrid' as structures that enable the mixing or combination of different programs and urban uses. They further expand the definition to include the hybridization of public and private interests in the realms of housing, public space and civic amenities as a means to address the aforementioned social and environmental issues.

          "Hybrids 1: High-Rise Mixed-Use Buildings" features Steven Holl's Linked Hybrid, OMA's Dubai Renaissance, REX's Museum Plaza and BIG's Scala Tower. "Hybrids 2: Low-Rise Mixed-Use Buildings" features Jakob+MacFarlane's Docks du Paris, Steven Holl's Vanke Center and Office dA's New Kuwait Sports Shooting Club. One may find the scale of these projects somewhat daunting and it remains to be seen how sustainable these high-density solutions are as projects of this nature are largely untested. These projects form somewhat of a laboratory, a new type of social experiment which is largely taking form in Asia and the Middle East.

          The projects are presented in typical a+t fashion which is anything but typical. All projects are custom diagrammed which lends to the ease of project-to-project comparison and analysis. Every project is considered and quantified urbanistically, programmatically and functionally. The graphic presentation is very well done and you'll find the books to be well organized.

          It's unfortunate that you can't find these easily on Amazon at the time of this review but you can purchase them directly through a+t ediciones.

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