The influence of the underground on the field of urban design and architecture is growing. What goes on underground has an increasing influence on the possibilities above ground. As designers we often are not concerned with the city below ground level, what takes place under our sidewalks is usually considered the task of civil engineers. Over the last centuries many of the processes and systems that keep our cities going have disappeared from our streets and therefore also disappeared from the domain of the designer. What we cannot see, we cannot design. Or should we?
The major challenges of the 21st century consume space and largely take place subsurface. The pressure on the underground is increasing, since various sectors compete for the precious cubic meters below ground level. Space claims are piling up and money can only be spent once. Can we rethink our relationship with the underground and by doing this, can we add value to our cities?
This studio considers the underground as a fundamental part of the city and as a critical design task for urban planners and architects. We explore the unknown and mostly invisible parts of the city through research by design, resulting in spatial interventions that not only offer solutions to current and future challenges, but also create new opportunities for urban life.