The prompt of this project raises the questions of what urban planning would look like in the near future, with a focus on sustainability and the absence of cars. Subways, buses, and bikes will become the main methods of transport. The site stretches over the northern terminus of the 710 Freeway and W Del Mar Blvd in Pasadena, California, offers the opportunity to explore architectural form and methods of integration into urban planning and public transportation. With the freeway now unusable and running underneath the bridge, the main concept behind the design of Fluicity explored ways to retain the identity of the freeway without leaving it as a giant ditch separating two communities.
Freeway intersections from above had a unique composition of roads intersecting and merging with one another, often involving multiple levels and elevations to direct drivers to their destinations. The paths in Fluicity follow the same principle: establishing the directions of heavy commute and weaving multiple paths to ensure pedestrians are aimed in the trajectory they need to head towards, even if they’re not familiar with the area. In this case, most of the commute is predicted to happen going north, and crossing the West Del Mar bridge, the major influences in shaping the paths. Smaller ramps are weaved in between levels, offering a smooth connection for merging lanes. Levels near the surface are carved with large openings to offer sunlight to the lower levels, giving a sustainable approach to energy consumption.
In the light of future expansion, the weaving network of Fluicity can easily integrate with any pre-existing structures, moving towards a future of cohesive urban architecture. Fluicity, with respect to the removal of the 710 Freeway extension, has proven that bridging communities that were once harshly separated, is indeed a step towards a brighter future in urban development.
This urban design intervention cleverly works within the constraints of the pervasive road network to establish a new design language, at once fitting in and asserting itself. The student found a way to deal with a problem that so many cities have: how to fill up the ”underbelly of the beast”
– 2023 Urban Design Awards Jury