The primary goals of this project are to connect the distinct neighborhoods of La Boca with the adjacent settlement of Avellaneda, and to reincorporate, both physically and metaphorically, the southern portion of the city with the wealthier, more subsidized northern sector. This objective is explored principally through the reactivation of the river’s edge and the addition of ______ affordable residential units in the immediate vicinity.
-- The urban grid is extended across the river via four new bridges open to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Water from the Riachuelo is brought into the site via controlled rivulets that track the polluted water through a series of marsh lands and biological filtering areas. This filtered water is used by the local communities and the marsh lands enhance the new park spaces. This process does not claim to remediate the inveterate ills of the Riachuelo, but it does serve to heighten awareness and to reestablish a connection to the river ecology.
Instead of razing the dilapidated industrial buildings along the river’s edge the shells of the structures are maintained and new pubic and private programs inserted. The shells are carved up to allow for views and access. Walls are eroded and vines are allowed to grow up the skeletal remains forming vertical gardens and places for play. The industrial masses now operate as visual connectors and programmatic filters between the communities and the river instead of blank walls that proscribe such linkages. The cleaved enclosures offer space for transient programs such as markets and performances as well as providing infrastructure onto which new construction can graft. By retaining these remnants of the past history and character of the area a future rooted in placeness emerges that is distinct and local and whose ownership by the community cannot be disputed.
While the southern portion of the city is not gaining population at any markable rate, the existing housing stock is severely dilapidated and overcrowded. New housing towers will be inserted into the industrial shells along the river offering additional dwelling and spillover units. Unlike the towers in the park of previous modernist experiments, these towers will be rooted to the site and have concentric degrees of privacy. The tower organization and form is derived from the long skinny plan of the chorizo house. Where this configuration is incredibly dark when packed horizontally into a city block, when organized vertically, the thinness of the plan allows light to penetrate the entire space. The long face of the chorizo units are oriented towards the river and receive the most exposure to sunlight. The courtyard space of the chorizo house is maintained through the tower with various scales of smaller private patios and larger communal outdoor spaces. Each unit has a view of the river and a private exterior space. By building vertically, the space surrounding the tower can be used for small scale communal farming – the agriculture sustained by the filtered water of the Riachuelo and the greywater from the building. The towers will have zero impact on the local river ecology as all waste water will be filtered using UV filtration. The wastewater is tracked through tubes running along the long southern face of the building where it is exposed to the greatest amount of UV light. These tubes create a façade condition that shades the units from the direct sun while still offering views and privacy. The tower iconography also ties the area to the new upscale tower developments along Puerto Madero in the northern part of the city. The towers kant at irregular angles over the river evoking the cranes of the immediate industrial area and the gently wrangled trees populating the parks along the river further to the north. The form of the towers thus responds to the local housing typology, the sustainable mandate, the development taking place across the city, the industrial heritage of the site and the reforesting of the city’s south.
While this project respects the existing urban configuration, it does not intend to romanticize the real and prevalent hardships suffered by the local communities. In order to respond to the need for economic stimulation and job creation this project plans for community based farming and a space in which to sell these products. There is also a scheme for small scale light industry to be incorporated into the existing community. Most of the industry once located on the site was dedicated to the production of plastic bottles – the refuse from the use of these products bobs relentlessly in the Riachuelo. I propose to introduce a series of redemption centers where people can receive money for salvaged plastic as well as a series of starch plastic factories – which are by nature produce zero emissions. The recycled bottles can be turned into UV water filtration systems that individual households can install on their roofs. The maintenance of agriculture, light industry, green technology and recycling facilities create jobs and opportunities for the enhancement of the now knitted communities.