Héctor Bermúdez-Ríos, B.Arch, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, 2014
Urban Lab comes forth as a natural response to the urban processes developed in Santurce, Puerto Rico, by street art (graffiti, murals, art installations), as creator of urban activity. Events like Los Muros Hablan and Santurce Es Ley have been successful in generating a particular interest for the urban fabric and the ability of art to re-energize areas that were forgotten by the economic sector.
Nonetheless, the activity generated by such events vanishes when the murals are finished. Urban Lab aims at turning the event of creation of art into a motor of continuous urban development while attending two actual problems in the Santurce area:
- The lack of pedestrian interconnections between the two main avenues of Santurce: Ponce de León Ave. and Fernández Juncos Ave.
- The lack of public parking accommodations
The design project proposes the creation of a big public space that promotes and encourages street art, and at the same time it defines new interconnections between the main avenues and secondary streets of the selected site. This urban lab is delineated by programs that give support to the uses found in the area and that makes new urban activity possible.
The project is unified by a scaffolding-like structure that connects each of the proposed programs and that allows the public to look at the public space from above. At the same time, this structure serves as a semi-transparent skin that lets us to have a look at the “event” of creation of art and its processes.
About the presenter:
Héctor Bermúdez-Ríos is an Architect in Training (Assoc. AIA) and seasoned Graphic Designer born in Comerío, Puerto Rico. His architecture thesis “Urban Lab” has won him many recognitions including an Honor Award at the 2014 AIA Puerto Rico Honor Awards, in the student category and Best Thesis and Best Urbanism Project at the 2014 Thesis Contest held by the Institute of Architects and Landscape Architects of Puerto Rico (CAAPPR). He also received The AIA School Medal for Excellence in the Study of Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR). Before graduating from a professional Bachelor in Architecture from the PUPR he made a Bachelor in Graphic Design and for the past 11 years has worked as a Graphic Designer and Art Director for advertising agencies such as Young & Rubicam PR. It is his belief that in architecture, as in advertising, understanding the target audience and knowing their particular needs and wants is essential to developing sensible architecture that takes into account the context in which it sits and the public that it aims to serve. Follow Héctor on LinkedIn // ISSUU // his website.
Read more about AIA|DC’s Emerging Architects Committee 2015 Thesis Showcase.