Undergraduate Academic Project
ETSAM / UPM / MADRID
Federico Soriano / Eva Gil / Pedro Urzáiz / Ángel Verdasco
Agustín Ludeña / Eduardo Castillo / Agustín Martínez / Irene de Santos / Javier Estebala
Project awarded with honors by DPA / ETSAM
Selected for the Spanish Pavilion / Venice Biennale of Architecture 2018
This project came about by translating and transforming a series of abstract ideas into the material field of architecture. The initial stage of the project begins with the idea of designing a building that houses a casino and an auto repair shop.
Throughout the process of ideation, some conceptual exercises were done in order to discover the key points of the project. These exercises consisted of creating dioramas and videos, and they wanted to reach my ideal concepts of architecture. Among the concepts that emerged in this phase, I must highlight the idea of virtual as predominant.
When I think about a casino, a series of images are projected in my mind. Most of these images describe players as they attempt to camouflage and control their feelings. Sometimes, these players go to extremes to hide their emotions from their opponents and this kind of behavior is very representative of poker players; they don not want their opponents to know what they think or feel, this is a huge part of the game. So, I can imagine a "non-physical boundary" between the player's mental/virtual space and the real physical one. The main idea of the project is to generate real physical borders between the players, in such a way that each one is literally inside a bubble that provides utmost privacy and comfort. Specifically, this is constructed with a set of capsules that are linked in a continuous indoor space.
In the center of the building, an interior patio opens to the full height of the structure and the capsules are distributed from the first floor and they occupy almost the entire construction. The building from the first floor up is light in weight, and we can find EFTE facades that are treated differently depending on the direction of the sunlight. Some of them are opaque, others are translucent.
These facades, together with a narrow staircase and the capsules created for the players, are an interdependent structural system that hangs from a metal truss which is located on the top floor. Every capsule is suspended by a cable that reaches the truss, and connected with the other capsules through a staircase. Therefore, non of the capsules are on top of each other, and no structural pieces interrupt the flow of the staircase, so the final spatial configuration and distribution is not random, but actually well calculated to be this way.
Inside the capsules, the client will find a perfectly conditioned space with a body support, a sound system, air quality and temperature control, so that the player can feel great comfort when he or she enters a digital world using virtual reality glasses.
This project was part of my academic requirements and it was meant to evolve from one thing to another during the course of the semester. It started off as the combination of an auto repair shop and casino and it ended up being a virtual game center. In the end, the vehicle that takes each user from the real and tangible world to a virtual world is a computer network supplied by a series of servers and operators that are on the top floor: a truss where the virtual game center or casino is run or operated and duly maintained.
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