Conference PaperPDF Available

QUITO OPEN CODE, BETWEEN FRAGILITY AND MODIFICATION

Authors:

Abstract

Quito is located at 2800m altitude, wedged between the Andean volcanoes and, crossed by creeks and Equator’s zero line, which separates the world into Northern and Southern hemispheres. The city is a place of environmental fragility and risk, where different forces meet. The sum of these differences informs an urban context that seems difficult to understand: we can consider it as a palimpsest of layers that needs interpretative keys to be firstly understood and lately transformed. Those changes cannot consist in superficial interventions, as it happens nowadays, however they should compose a system of structured actions. The paper proposes an interpretation/intervention strategy that identify all the structural assets of the place through the definition of a system of interpretative readings.
Experiential Design
Rethinking relations between people, objects and environments
AMPS Proceedings Series 18.2
2
AMPS PROCEEDINGS SERIES 18.2
AMPS, Florida State University
1617 January, 2020
Experiential Design Rethinking relations
between people, objects and environments
3
EDITORS:
Yelena McLane and Jill Pable
SERIES EDITOR:
Graham Cairns
PRODUCTION EDITOR:
Eric An
© AMPS C.I.O.
AMPS PROCEEDINGS SERIES 18-2. ISSN 2398-9467
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INTRODUCTION
Volume 2:: Wellbeing, Design and Society
In January 2020, Florida State University hosted the international AMPS conference Experiential
Design Rethinking relations between people, objects and environments. The keynote speakers were
Chris Downey from Architecture for the Blind, and Angela Spangler from the International WELL
Building Institute.
The conference reflected a confluence of ideas and methods derived from two discrete calls
for proposals the first we directed to designers, artists, and architects, and the second to
health, wellbeing, education, and psychology professionals. Although there were many
confluences between the concepts addressed by these esteemed scholars and
practitioners, we have structured the conference proceedings to reflect the original proffers.
This second volume emerged from the following:
The diversity of issues dealt with in the fields of psychology, health and education mean that
these disciplines are, almost by definition, interdisciplinary. Environmental psychology is
intrinsically linked to issues of the spaces we inhabit and the places we identify with, making
it uniquely relevant to this conference. Similarly, the Public Health movement has its origins
in issues directly connected to this conference: the living conditions of the 19th century
urban poor.
The education sector has long been at the forefront of spatial design, with the effects of
environment on learning being long studied. However, it is not only these specific spatial
strands of the psychology, health and education fields that are interdisciplinary and relevant
to this call: social psychology, mental health care, clinical psychology, educational
psychology, geriatric medicine, nursing and occupational therapy are all examples of other
relevant disciplines.
In all of these areas health, wellbeing, education and psychology professionals can, should,
and do engage with the world of designed objects and environments: school buildings,
residencies for the aged, commercial settings, orthopedic products, artworks, ergonomic
furniture, rehabilitation products and planning law for accessibility to name but a few.
Each paper in this volume centers upon the premise of wellbeing and design. We have arranged them
thematically based upon the objects or environments implicated in the wellbeing of users, vulnerable
populations, and larger social groups and societies. The perspectives of psychologists, urban
designers, and architectural, interior and product design scholars, and design and engineering
educators combine to reveal the extent to which design can be a catalyst for change in peoples’ views
of environmental stewardship, history, social equity, and equality.
We thank all of the participants for their engaging contributions to the growing discourse on the
manifestations and meanings of designed experiences and experiences of design.
Yelena McLane and Jill Pable
Tallahassee, Florida
5
TABLE OF CONTENTS
6
Chapter 1
PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS OF BIOMIMETIC FACADES
Mahsan Mohsenin
8
Chapter 2
PHOTOVOICE AND THE DESIGN OF SCHOOLS FOR ASTHMA EQUITY: RETHINKING ARCHITECTURE
AND NURSING FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF DISABILITY STUDIES
Robin Evans-Agnew, Sushil Oswal
14
Chapter 3
INHABITING THE PUBLIC INTERIOR. AN EXPLORATION INTO THE CRITICAL ROLE OF
PERSONALISATION IN IMPARTING QUALITIES TO PUBLIC LIFE.
Valerie Mace
25
Chapter 4
FRACTAL WELLBEING IN INTERIOR DESIGN
Noor Danielle Murteza
36
Chapter 5
DESIGNING FUTURE MEMORIES: AN EVIDENCE-BASED SELF-HELP INTERVENTION TO PROMOTE
USER WELL-BEING
Jeremy D. Faulk, Clara Dewey, Oluwanifemi Oluwadairo, Carlos Aguiar, Jungkyoon Yoon
49
Chapter 6
THE RESIDUAL SPACE: EXPERIENCE-BASED METHODS
Carley Rickles
59
Chapter 7
ELDERLY-FRIENDLY INTERIOR DESIGN
Chandni Luhadiya
69
Chapter 8
CHALLENGING REDUNDANCY IN INSTITUTIONS: AN ATTEMPT TO AMELIORATE STATIC LEARNING
ENVIRONMENTS
Ananya Sethi, Ramadass Bama Thiruvengadam
76
Chapter 9
EXPLORING THE INFLUENCE OF USER WELLNESS IN COMMERCIAL INTERIOR DESIGN
Amy Huber
97
Chapter 10
THE ROLE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL FLEXIBILITY IN THE THERAPEUTIC ENVIRONMENT. THE CASE OF
THE MAGGIES CENTRE
Caterina Frisone
112
Chapter 11
ARCHITECTURE AND DISABILITY: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF THE INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES OF
PEOPLE WITH MOBILITY, VISUAL AND HEARING IMPAIRMENTS IN SPORT AND LEISURE BUILDINGS
Roberta Cassi, Masashi Kajita, Olga Popovic Larsen
119
Chapter 12
QUITO OPEN CODE, BETWEEN FRAGILITY AND MODIFICATION.
Paola Bracchi, Dario Giordanelli
132
Chapter 13
ACTIVATING COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY VALUES TO PROMOTE INCLUSIVE ACADEMIC SPACES FOR
DIVERSE POPULATIONS
Kevin Bonnell, Renae Mantooth, Rebekah Radtke
140
Chapter 14
7
UNVEILING THE PRENATAL ORIGIN OF THE CHILD CAVES PHENOMENON
John David Flores
148
Chapter 15
PRODUCT DESIGN ETHICS THE NAUGHTY HELMET
David Domermuth
156
Chapter 16
ELEMENTS OF CONTROL AND DEGREES OF FREEDOM IN THE NEW CIVIC SPACES OF THE
CONTEMPORARY CITY
Pedro Bento
161
CHAPTER 17
MOVING TOWARD A MINDFUL ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN; INTEGRATIVE HOUSING; HOME, WORK,
WELLNESS
Isun A Kazerani
169
CHAPTER 18
THE QUALITY OF WORK ENVIRONMENTS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS’ WELL-BEING: AN
INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
Mia Kile, Natalie Ellis, Kyong-Ah Kwon, Ken Randall, Timothy Ford, Adrien Malek
179
Chapter 19
EXPERIENCE-BASED CARTOGRAPHY: OBSERVATIONS ON THE ECOLOGY OF MENTAL HEALTH
Kornelia Dimitrova, Juliette Bekkering, Torsten Schröder
190
Experiential Design Rethinking relations between people, objects
and environments
Florida State University, AMPS, Architecture_MPS
Tallahassee, Florida: 16-17 January, 2020
QUITO OPEN CODE, BETWEEN FRAGILITY AND
MODIFICATION.
Author:
PAOLA BRACCHI, DARIO GIORDANELLI
Affiliation:
FACULTAD DE ARQUITECTURA Y URBANISMO, UNIVERSIDAD UTE DE QUITO,
(PAOLA.BRACCHI, DARIO.GIORDANELLI) @UTE.EDU.EC
QUITO. GEOGRAPHY AND URBAN GROWTH.
San Francisco de Quito is one of the oldest cities in Latin America. It is the capital and the political,
cultural and financial centre of the Republic of Ecuador. It is located at an average height of 2850
m.a.s.l. in the Andes range, more accurately within the Guayllabamba valley, in the Inter-Andean
Alley plateau which separates the eastern and western sides of the Andean range. The city’s western
end is defined by the eastern slopes of the active Pichincha volcano, which dominates the urban
extension in such way that its hillsides are visible from any angle, shaping the city’s sectors. This
geographical condition gives the city its peculiar elongated pattern, with 50 km in length and
averaging 3 to 7 km in width, traversed by more than 100 ravines from east to west. The city, located
about 25 km north of Quito’s old town, is crossed by the equator, which produces significant
landscape diversity. The geo-morphological and geological conformation comes from the presence of
the Pichincha volcano. The soil is composed of deep layers of lava and ash which have little resistance
to river erosion and harden in contact with air. This has allowed the preservation until recent times of
the engravings generated by the last ice melting: a system of seasonal watercourses, "quebradas". It is
a system of intermittently-formed rivers that rhythmically go through the city’s plain from east to west
(Peltre 1989)
Images 1 - Quitos Ravines original system. P.Peltre (1989)
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Experiential Design Rethinking relations between people, objects
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Florida State University, AMPS, Architecture_MPS
Tallahassee, Florida: 16-17 January, 2020
Such geological formation determines a privileged condition not only from the environmental point of
view (note 2), but also for defensive purposes, so much that the Incas decided to install one of their
cities in this territory. Quebradas were natural barriers that were difficult to cross. These ravines can
reach 15-20 metres of depth with steep edges and strong slopes (20-30 degrees). They constitute an
important natural drainage network which has been modified over time to favour the city’s growth.
According to current urban development there are more than 120 ravines, many of which have been
filled up (Peltre 1989).
The foundation of Colonial Quito (San Francisco de Quito, 1534) is based on a reticulated urban
layout, typical of a colonial town, inspired by the Roman castrum reticular structure. The regular
checkerboard was adapted to the site’s topography, where necessary adjustments were made not so
much due to mountain hillsides but mostly because of the presence of ravines (quebradas).
Modifications to the squared block model used originally in the colonial city were made with the
objective of allowing the passing of water streams. The conquerors did not respect the presence of
ravines for their environmental role, but because the fluvial pathways were used as dumping sites,
which could get rid of urban trash using water power. From the 18th century onwards, the ravines
began to be closed in a fragmented and discontinuous manner according to particular interests (Crespo
2004). This phenomenon became symptomatic and recurrent when the city began to grow consistently
outside the limits of the colonial model, that is, from the 20th century onwards. While in 1902 the city
took up 300 hectares of land, this number increased to 1300 hectares in 1950 and currently the whole
Distrito Metropolitano (which includes the city and its surroundings) has an area of 290746 hectares.
Urbanised land has an area of 43116 hectares. From the second half of the 20th century until now the
size of Quito has grown tenfold, with a significant acceleration in the last decade. Its urban population
reached 1.98 million people according to the latest census.
Image 2 - Quito historical map 1858. The quebradas interrupted by the growth of the urban fabric.
Source: Secretaría del territorio, Alcaldía de Quito. http://sthv.quito.gob.ec/archivo-historico/
The need to respond to such phenomenon of accelerated and invasive growth through the north-south
spectrum, but also along the valley’s slopes, has led to decisions being made on the basis of urgency
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Experiential Design Rethinking relations between people, objects
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Florida State University, AMPS, Architecture_MPS
Tallahassee, Florida: 16-17 January, 2020
rather than on structured and integrated thinking of the city. A radical change in the relationship with
the natural context took place: the ravines, seen as elements which prevent fast growth, instead of
being interpreted as systems of environmental framing for urban development, were literally erased
from maps. For contemporary society the quebradas, silent traces embedded by the uneven tissues of
the city, are an element of great fragility that is expressed in a silent risk but always present, which
occurs punctually, but consistently, with the first torrential rains of the humid seasons. The
geographical memory of a millenary past was voluntarily removed from the decision-making
processes on the city’s urban development.
Image 3 - Quito historical map 1922. The quebradas interrupted by the growth of the urban fabric.
Source: Secretaría del territorio, Alcaldía de Quito. http://sthv.quito.gob.ec/archivo-historico/
ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF MEMORY AND ITS LOSS
The removal of quebradas was not limited to the physical territory and city maps. The filling involved
an apparent disappearance, smoothing the roughness and gorges that clearly marked the route,
disappearing from the spatial references of contemporary Quito’s citizens. The population over time
forgot that the quebradas, unsafe spaces and at risk of seasonal flooding, were a place unsuitable for
construction and requiring space so that the waters coming from upstream would discharge
downstream. Therefore, it is necessary to recover this ancestral memory of the paths of seasonal
streams, which were filled and often built on with road infrastructure, applying architectural
regeneration operations in such a way as to avoid the dangerous collapse of the urban system with
consequent flooding and landslides.
This requires using memory as an active element of transformation of built parts of the city that often
unconsciously are at risk for poor or no permeability of the soil. This phenomenon implies that in the
case of heavy rainfall, as in the case of rainy seasons, water does not find its natural outlet in the local
structures of the quebradas and violently causes damage to everything it encounters along obstructed
interrupted or deviated routes. It is appropriate to define the particular meaning that this study
attributes to memory in order to define the concept of active and transformative memory as opposed to
passive and conservative memory. In the Treccani Encyclopedia the term memory is defined as a
process linked to the genesis of a modification (note (Encyclopedia treccani) and it is in this meaning
that the present study interprets this word. If memory is a process of shape modification, it can be said
that it is a dynamic phenomenon, which involves one or more transformations, not static. This
clarification implies a radical departure from the common perception of this word in architectural
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Tallahassee, Florida: 16-17 January, 2020
theory and practice, in which often "memory" becomes a taboo of exceedingly conservative tendencies
linked to the rhetoric of the immutability of the objects considered as documents. In fact, the need for
stability of our liquid time (Bauman 2000) combined with the rhetoric of the "end of history"
(Fukuyama 1992), have contributed to the tendency of using memory as a passive form of
"mummification" of the architectural document subject to intervention, in order to cancel the
deformation suffered by the form over time. To consider memory as passive action is typical of some
conservative positions. The root of this antithetical conception is perhaps precisely in the simultaneous
and dialectical presence of these two opposite tendencies (progressive and regressive) related to the
operativity of the term "memory" as a function of the reaction to the critical or catastrophic
deformation of the form.
GOALS
The goal of the article is, through the case study of Quito, to demonstrate how the loss of the urban-
geographic memory of the places generates a series of physical-spatial, technological-environmental
and socio-cultural problems, which determine conditions of fragility.
APPROACH AND METHODS
The approach, totally new compared to the studies carried out on Quito up until now, consists in a
simultaneous vision of the relationship between the original geo-morphological condition, the urban
development over time and the conditions of morpho-climatic risk that make up a general framework
of exceptional fragility.
Image 4- Hydrogeographic system of Quito and its territory. In the red framework is visible
the ravine absence. Source: IGN-DMPT
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Experiential Design Rethinking relations between people, objects
and environments
Florida State University, AMPS, Architecture_MPS
Tallahassee, Florida: 16-17 January, 2020
In order to achieve the intended objective, a step-by-step methodology is used to recognise and sustain
the current phenomenon in order to open up future urban regeneration scenarios based on the
reinterpretation of the traces of a recent past.
The method is developed according to two differentiated and related channels that are realized in three
phases of study. On the one hand, an analysis and interpretation of the cartography will be conducted,
which thanks to their overlap becomes a tool to unveil the tracks. On the other hand, there is a
recompilation of events that highlight the physical, social and environmental effects of removing
quebradas from the urban fabric of Quito.
Image 5 - Pichincha slope water system facing with the valley. Surface runoff and Groundwater flow
Source: Bracchi, D. (2020)
A first analytical-descriptive phase allows highlighting, through a sequence of historical maps, how
the urban growth has gradually erased the presence of quebradas. The physical elimination of a
geographic element has subsequently led to obvious infrastructural criticalities in the city’s
hydrogeological malfunctioning. More than 80% of the quebradas in Quito have been buried or filled;
this generates risks of flooding and landslides. The first drainage system in Quito began construction
in 1905, with the water discharge network placed in the ravines until their filling. In the beginning of
the 20th century, the widespread conception of ravines was that they served only as evacuation
systems for used wastewater, rainwater and trash. Environmental issues, such as the reduction of
natural drainage these actions entail (Hazen&Sawyer 2011), were not reflected upon then. Hazen and
Sawyer’s report on EPMAPS, together with other relevant documents, confirm that the sewage
system, even if partially fixed, continues to be the same than in 1900 and still works as initially
conceived: through a combined form. This means both rainwater and wastewater (disposal water from
human activity) run through the same pipes (Hazen&Sawyer 2011)
The state of the sewage system reveals important issues:
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Experiential Design Rethinking relations between people, objects
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Florida State University, AMPS, Architecture_MPS
Tallahassee, Florida: 16-17 January, 2020
1. Sewer pipe combined usage and capacity. The diameter of pipes used in the early 20th century
does not respond to the increase of fluid volume generated by larger population and higher torrential
rain intensity due to climate change.
2. Obsolescence. Many pipes remain the same than in the beginning of the 20th century. The old
sewer pipes have varied forms, made through composite construction (stone, brick and concrete) and
present holes and infiltrations. There are quick obsolescence processes in more recent pipes due to
lack of maintenance, sediment accumulation and construction defects.
3. Underground dripping. The joining of sewer pipes is often done in forced angles and at great
speed, leading to hydraulic singularities which damage the sewer pipes (Hazen&Sawyer 2011). This is
observed at the contact point between the slopes and the plain, exhibiting underground dripping
parallel to the sewer pipes (Peltre 1989). Unstable filled soil can reveal underground erosion which
can lead to street sinking, as it happened with the sinking of Vial del Trebol in 2008 and the recent
street sinking between the Amazonas and Naciones Unidas avenues (21 January 2020).
4. Torrential lava/mud flows. At times of intense torrential rain, the generated flows above the
ravines can bring up soil and mud which block the pipes. These flows seek other routes towards the
lower plain and along the streets, knocking down what they find in the way (mud flow in Barrio del
Pinar Alto, March 2019).
From a socio-cultural point of view, the lack of knowledge of their geographical pre-existence by
authorities and population, allows the construction of houses, urban spaces and infrastructures in the
filled ravines beds. This fact puts the population in a condition of risk.
A second critical-interpretative phase allows the creation of a synergistic framework, where previously
collected information shared among all parties. An overlap of maps highlights the relationship
between the quebradas deleted and the contemporary urban condition.
This first interpretative map constitutes the basis of a process of Coding of the current condition
(physical/social/environmental and morphology/typology/technological) of those urban sections that
were originally crossed by quebradas.
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Experiential Design Rethinking relations between people, objects
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Florida State University, AMPS, Architecture_MPS
Tallahassee, Florida: 16-17 January, 2020
Image 6 - Quito Open Code. Quito diachronic map. Visible (blu) and invisible (red) ravine traces.
Source: Bracchi,P., Giordanelli, D. (2019)
The third phase (prepositive-operative), starting from the study of the codification of the present
conditions (code) is able to recognize differences and similarities of behaviour that allow us to define a
taxonomy of possible design actions. Such actions, by changing the code, can rescue not the image,
but the environmental and regulatory role that quebradas can have on future urban choices. These set
of operations consider memory as an active tool for transformation. The revealed ravine’s hidden
system shown in the map, demonstrate the high fragility of Quito’s urban landscape, but at the same
time these areas can be interpreted as the spaces able to invert the tendency. Understanding the
importance of the memory role inside the urban fabrics is crucial in order to define the variables of the
action code in time.
RESULTS
The methodology comes to the definition of an interpretative code that is known as Open Code. This is
a matrix evolving over time (or in evolution) that uses active memory as a design tool and allows the
modification of physical-environmental-social variables, transforming a fragile condition into a state
of opportunity for the future Quito.
The study relates three parameters that had never been studied together before: memory/geo-
morphology (quebradas)/risk, highlighting the interrelationship between these three aspects and their
socio-spatial expression. The system of these variables confirms the fact that Quito is in a state of
fragility due to the deliberate loss of memory. The main morpho-climatic risk conditions are located in
those areas where the quebradas have been buried and deleted.
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Experiential Design Rethinking relations between people, objects
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Florida State University, AMPS, Architecture_MPS
Tallahassee, Florida: 16-17 January, 2020
CONCLUSIONS
The need to establish a relationship with the memory of places highlights the need for a paradigm shift
in urban development choices. It is precisely the condition of fragility that allows opining up
innovative scenarios of regeneration in which the presence of the quebradas system is not a marginal
reality, but a fundamental component of the transformative project on the city. The fragility of this
system guides the architectural project towards new integrated strategies. Its revealing repercussions
also demonstrate that ravines are not isolated and fragmented elements, but are part of a system able to
establish a relation between the urban space, as a whole, and the surrounding Andean landscape. In
this sense the natural context, now considered as something separated from the city, like a background,
will be reintroduced inside the urban fabric with an environmental role. This new green infrastructure
system will be able to face the morpho-climatic risk detected.
This innovative change overturns the current concept by ensuring that such fragments inserted in the
complex system of the quebradas take protagonist role in the future rethinking of Quito.
The concept of Open Code presents the new urban system not as something fixed but as open to
changes over This is the result of a system based on a dynamic interaction between the original geo-
morphological traces and the ones related to the city in expansion.
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En las faldas inmensas de un monte: las laderas occidentales de la ciudad de Quito
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  • Andrade
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