San Juan - Anticipating Urbanism

Anticipating Urbanism received an honourable mention in Princeton Architectural Press’ call for entries to the 36th edition of Pamphlet Architecture, judged by a jury including Steven Holl and Thom Mayne among others.

Developed around the theme of buoyancy and lift, it addresses the issue of rising sea levels with an interrogation of the concept of floating cities, a field of inquiry gaining increasing relevance and urgency with the impending reality of climate change.


Competition, Honourable Mention
San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2015
Team: Emily Xiao, Arthur Kirkwood, Adam Kelly, Chrysa Theodorou and Robin Søndergaard


Puerto Rico is in a political and economic state of limbo. Reliant upon the mainland USA for federal aid, and yet crippled by the financial and trade regulations they share, the issue of independence has been a point of contention in the country for centuries.

Can we speculate upon an alternative future for Puerto Rico in which an ‘Anticipating Urbanism’ can capitalise on a new independent status?

In consequence our project re-imagines San Juan during a transition phase towards independence, proposing this alternative future. The newly inaugurated capital of San Juan looks to its old port as an area prime for innovation and prototypical development. The release of trade regulations could result in a new influx of expertise and materials to the shore of San Juan. Yet as a young country, in which monetary and material resources are low, a new urban environment floating upon the sea is posited as a method to establish and expand the countries self-reliance with minimal investment, exploiting the new incidental physical and intellectual resource to incubate innovative programmes. As a result, this project rejects the proposed vast investment in cruise tourism, as an ecologically unsustainable and low-yielding industry.

P15_Blue plan.jpg

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