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Strait of Gibraltar

Strait of Gibraltar

Instructor: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy 
Location: Spain, Gibraltar (U.K), Morocco
Dates Abroad: June 1 - June 21, 2013

The studio investigates the geographic as a design question.

The Strait of Gibraltar is the only natural entrance to the semi-enclosed Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, second only to the Malacca Straits in Singapore. Europe and Africa are separated by 14 km at the narrowest point, and ferries cross between the two continents every day in as little as 35 minutes.

The Strait of Gibraltar has for long stimulated the architectural imaginary. As early as the 1920s the German architect Herman Sorgel proposed damming Gibraltar and draining the Mediterranean to unite Europe and Africa into a new supercontinent. The project aspired to provide a "habitat" in North Africa for an overpopulated Europe. How do contemporary issues of access to water, food, energy, and the rescaling of the political question requalify the megaproject imaginary, regional networks, and the geographic project?

The studio explores the architectural and urban potentials of the territory of Gibraltar addressing its conditions as a spatial enclave, a gateway to the Mediterranean, and a bridge between Africa and Europe. Along the lines of the journal New Geographies, the studio responds to a condition in which designers are increasingly compelled to address and transform larger contexts and to respond to problems that had been confined to the domains of engineering, ecology, or policy.

See the Studio Proposal (PDF 5.9MB)

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