Archipelago Lab

An atlas of metropolitan islands for Madrid

By Pedro Pitarch

“The desire for stability and the need for instability are no longer incompatible […] the city becomes an archipelago of architectural islands floating in a post‑architectural landscape of erasure where what was once city is now a highly charged nothingness.”
Rem Koolhaas, Imagining Nothingness

This is a draft project, an action plan, for the European metropolis; named Archipelago because of the differentiation of fragments of intensity, located in “islands”, that are usually conceived of as cohesians between the public sphere and the surrounding metropolitan mass. The archipelago form triumphs because it addresses the potential of architecture to create urban pockets of meaning and significance. The islands are prototypes of the city within the city. This project proposes an atlas of metropolitan islands for Madrid.

Scenes are identified that behave as a relational framework for every metropolitan agent. Those scenes are landscapes designed to be modified or blurred by the interaction of different agents. Each piece, each scene, each island, behaves as a laboratory. Each of the seven typologies identified corresponds to an existing metropolitan situation, that generate the city and construct society; but which are not included within the professional practice of urbanism nor represented according to conventional architecture tools.

It is important to focus on the actors and how they behave as mediators. Contemporary culture requires architecture to be a “glue” that holds together a series of physical and non-physical agents that other disciplines cannot. Here, architecture becomes everything that is fixed together by many other types of connectors.

“Exiled forms from space to space.”

“The Chamber of Machinery gathers a series of pieces that navigate, almost adrift between islands.”