Interstitial Insertions

Part of Hack the City, Science Gallery, August 2012, Dublin.


The LUAS rapid light transport line was to bring prosperity to the multiply deprived neighborhoods of West Dublin such as Drimnagh, itself an unwanted byproduct of a previous car-based transport plan. The neighbourhoods have been struggling to evolve to the new urban forces being applied. Stasis is built into all urban conditions, through the formalization and concretization that is necessary to define ownership in contested urban space. Yet the forces applied to the city from globalisation are becoming more intense and subject to more rapid fluctuations.

Urban space is thus has a conundrum: the structure is formal and concretized thus slow to adapt: yet the global programme is mutable and changing rapidly. This leads to a time lag that is manifest in dereliction and redundancy in the urban realm, as the built fabric cannot keep up with the rate of change placed upon it. In Drimnagh, this deprogrammed space abounds at a size and scale that defeats the pedestrian, who has disembarked from the tram. This space, known as the collapsoscape, is derelict, unstructured and lacks programme. It is littoral: collecting debris and agglomerating various liminal activities.

The more rural landscapes beyond this zone are different: they are informal, yet the agricultural programme is immutable - its processes shaping for millennia. This is embodied in the timeless experience of canal travel through the site - a direct counterpoint to the bustle of the urban tram. Although these two worlds seem the antithesis of each other: hybridization of the two in the form of a liminal suburban foam offers new suburban structures and designs that are both symbiotic and synergistic. The project thus adopts a strategy of grafting genetic material from both conditions to encourage the mutative tactics of adaptive and effective scenarios to promote regeneration and socio-economic cohesion.

Hybrid 1 Bubble - This hybrid takes the formal structure of the city and combines this with the immutable programme of the rural to house urban programmes that give the neighbourhood structure and city-wide draw: this for example could be a swimming pool or leisure facility. These buildings are permanent and enduring, adding civic-ness to the area.

Hybrid 2 Liquid - This hybrid develops the informal rural structure to create a terrain that is suitable for rapidly changing programs in the city. These could include farmers markets, short-term housing, underground cultures such as artists or musician space, car boot sale or grey economy operations. Everything here would have a short life and this would be enshrined in policy.

The two hybrids thus live symbiotically where one cannot survive without the other: the formal providing pull from the city and structure and branding to the area, whilst the other creating a context for a livable and dynamic neighbourhood setting. The project therefore is exemplar of phenotypic plasticity to develop atavistic community-