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If the reader finds it interesting to follow the story more closely, the following words try to craft the atmosphere of my vision for the project:

“Paris 2024 – A cyclist’s reinterpretation of movement at the Olympic Games”


My project’s fascination started with my passion for sport as an amateur cyclist and an interest in the effect that a certain type of urbanity has on its inhabitants’ cycling behavior. A sport that has preserved some of the simplicity of mobility on two wheels, but which has also, in the past few years, seen major shifts connected to technological advancements. For my project I have chosen to explore the introduction of virtual cycling as new Olympic Sport in the context of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, along with BMX cycling. The Games, as major international sports event that has shaped sports worldwide to a considerable extent are a great opportunity to propose a re-interpretation of the Games on several aspects that I will elaborate on further. ● The project has many facets and my work on it is framed with a quote from Donella Meadow’s book Complex System: “Managers are not confronted with problems that are independent of each other, but with dynamic situations that consist of complex systems of changing problems that interact with each other. I call such situations messes… Managers do not solve problems, they manage messes.” ● The way that I will approach it is the following: 1. First of all I will introduce the complex context of the Olympics. 2. Second I will discuss the urban analysis and how it encourages a specific reflection towards the strategy proposed 3. I will then present a key workshop that has helped shape an initial design and manufacturing vision 4. And discuss the material research and practices regarding robotic manufacturing 5. And finally, reflect on how these different inputs will be integrated cohesively in the architectural project as proposal for an innovative concept of the Olympic Games.

●Cycling has been featured as an Olympic sport since 1896 and has been one of the 5 sports featured at every one of the Games since. ●After a relatively extensive literary review regarding the Olympics, I have chosen to focus on a few distinct patterns relevant to my theme and address them through my project. ● Beginning at an urban level, the Games represent a very extensive operation in terms of territory. ● The multiple venues and the Olympic Village are designed to host an international public (both athletes and non-athletes). Often times host cities allocate fringe territory for these extensive developments as well as supporting infrastructure. Unfortunately, due to poor integration of these developments within the existing urban fabric as well as lack of post-games re-purposing, they often become deserted.

● Quite obvious, but important to mention, the Games are an event of temporary character, the summer Olympics lasting for about 2 weeks.

● At the architectural level, the games have time and again contributed to an effect that got to be coined the ‘white-elephant’ building. Since the venues are designed for a public that exceeds local or even national events, it is a challenge to adapt these to the capacities of sports events happening after the games. At times some of them simply do not match in terms of program the popular national sports. Large stadiums and sports venues remain unused and if maintained, they cost colossal sums to the national budget.

● Besides the urban level, I have also chosen to approach this project from a social perspective. The host country pays for the project from its own budget, which has caused some inhabitants to complain against the expenditure of very large sums on an expensive project, instead of investing in causes such as education. After all, the inhabitants ‘offer’ their city and ‘receive’, in an unfair exchange, more traffic, disruption of local activities, temporary tourism overload. ● Looking beyond their predominant focus on sports, ● the Games have been socio-politically charged, recent years showing a positive focus on inclusivity of diversity. A recent example is that in 2016, Rio had a separate Refugee team, as a response of awareness to the global refugee crisis. ● I am proposing the integration of virtual cycling as a medium to educate and connect people at all levels of the sport, as well as inspire any athlete towards their personal goal. Virtually anyone can virtually join a race, the space constraints have disappeared. ●An extreme scenario is that during the lockdown pro athletes were able to join races remotely from their own home.


●As a winner of the bid to host the Olympic Games, the Parisian urban authorities have decided to concentrate the majority of the venues within the existing urban fabric, sometimes through re-use of extant sports venues, also as a means to showcase French sports heritage. On the Masterplan, the site for the cycling venue is in the very central area of Champs Elysee, in Paris’ 8th arrondisement. ● As location of the site I decided to place my project slightly outside of the tumultuous boulevard, on the southern bank of the Seine River. ● The river connects important urban landmarks, from the Notre Dame cathedral on the East to the Eiffel Tower to the west. ●The site is situated in immediate connection to important Parisian boulevards… ●…facing the Tuillerie Gardens on the opposite side of the river. The character of the neighborhood is defined by its cultural attractions (Musee d’Orsay) as well as central governmental buildings. ● While being a predominantly residential neighborhood, the region is well equipped with Parisian restaurants and food supplies, as well as offering hospitality opportunities, which become very popular during the Games. ● In terms of public transport, the site and its surroundings can quickly be reached by metro. ●…with the stop at Musee d’Orsay.

●Cycling culture has not yet maturely developed in Paris as a mean of pedestrian transportation. After all, the post-war Paris Urban development celebrated car mobility. The cycling network at this moment in time can better be described as insular. ●This is the current pedestrian access of the site ●…which has been subject to a program of pedestrianization since 2013. ● In relation to the current network ●…my proposal is to maintain the site for its current leisure/sports function by the inhabitants ●…as well as enhance it by creating a cycling park and connecting the intervention with the existing infrastructure. ●Because the site is situated between the river and the city, it spans an altitude gap of 5 meters. Here are some studies regarding establishing connections between site and city according to local program requirements. ●The tourists boats will continue to stop along the river terrace, but concentrated in 3 main points which offer ample docking area.


●The first attempts to define the architectural qualities of the space and evolve a design methodology engaging computational design ● were made during a workshop we had within the Robotic Lab at the beginning of first semester. ● The exploration began through sketching a series of cross-sections in a manner reflecting the idea of fluid movement, the movement of the curve incorporating different users and their distinct behaviors. ● In terms of quality, the landscape will be multilayered, to accommodate the range of activities hosted by the Park. ● A sequence of these alternating cross-sections resulted in a dynamic environment to be experienced by foot or by bike. ●● Greg Lynn characterizes the dynamism integrated in design when he affirms that: “motion implies movement and action, animation implies the evolution of a form and its shaping forces”. The small scale prototyping ● of this morphological study underlies its plasticity. ● By using computational tools, we learned how to create an optimized model with regards to material use. This exercise is of particular relevance to my project since structural optimization and robotic manufacturing represent a reduction of material use, lowering manufacturing costs and reducing waste. ● Because the manufacturing processes I have chosen for my project are at the moment refined mostly at prototype level in robotic labs, I can not affirm that the cost of such a construction would be lower than a standard architectural project, but rather lower with respect to a non-optimized structure of the same kind. ● A few longitudinal section studies were used as a first step towards creating a feedback loop, to help reflect on spatial qualities of this exercise: ● separation of pedestrian/cycling paths, ● optimization of spaces that result non-user friendly, ● access to an upper level. ●

Material Research. Manufacturing

● In terms of robotic manufacturing, I have chosen to explore two robotic processes as application of the concept of circularity, both utilizing wood. ● During the workshop we explored together the application of robotic milling of the complex double-curvature shapes developed previously. ● The process constituted of sorting circular wood, stacking and milling by a robotic arm. ● The other application is part of a research done by Natalie Alima at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, and represents a materiality hybrid. Initially a biodegradable formwork is printed with a wood filament, and infused with liquid mycelium. Over time the mycelium grows, degrades and adopts the geometry of the bio-scaffold. The growth of mycelium is encouraged by a fibrous and porous structure. Smooth surfaces would prevent mycelium growth. After injection, the growing mycelium degrades and finally eats away the wood scaffold on which it has grown. ● A last important reference is the Bio-Cyber Physical Planetoid, project of the Robotic Building Lab at TU Delft, where scalable porosity is explored as well as 3d printing with wood, meant as local intervention to stimulate biodiversity. After exploring the architectural dimension of the project, I will return with a reflection regarding materiality and production. ●

The layout of the site is geometrically particular, due to its narrow, long distribution, ●between the river and the dense urban fabric.

●I have performed a study of the spatial requirements of the program, allocating spaces according to the necessities of the professional races, amateurs, bmx cyclists and visitors. A study of patterns of occupation is realized to encourage program flexibility (re-use of spaces). ● To accommodate these various requirements as well as the ease of repurposing, I studied the flexible use of space of the Yokohoma terminal by FOA. ● Furthermore, because I wanted to develop a dynamic functional diagram, I established a set of rules of proximity, such that sub-functions serve corresponding main functions. ● Based on this as well as the space allocated to each functions and to the whole program, the dynamic model was developed and one optimal configuration selected. ●● ● The configuration was further rationalized through a Voronoi diagram and the functions distributed on the length of the site. ●A defining function of the project is that it unfolds as a landscape that can be explored both by foot as well as by bike and allows different user behaviors. ● It introduces all visitors to the Olympic Games and the separate activities of the program but allows Parisian inhabitants to enjoy the waterfront as a leisure spot to practice sports as they currently do, as well as after. (ADD IMAGE OF PEOPLE DOING SPORTS HERE)

●How are these qualities achieved? ● I would like to relate my project to the statement of Rem Koolhaas regarding the Jussieu Libraries project: “The ground is no more. There are too many needs to be realized on only one plane. The absolute of the horizontal…. Has been abandoned”


● First of all, a platform ‘mould’ of the site is created and suspended at a heigh of 3m. This allows liberating the ground, continuing the idea of the waterfront as a leisure spot. ● ● Second, the program is distributed around the site. ● And further subtracted in order to visualize a negative space that will act as a social connector. ●This connector is replicated again and lifted. The ground here can become a ceiling ● , offer protection from the rain, ● Step5: and it can be ‘sculpted’ or folded to issue a vertical connection with the ground. …contributing to e reconceptualization of the ground. ●

How does it solve the white elephants phenomena? A part of the project will disappear (mainly furnishings strictly connected to the Olympic Games activities, or other functions which require sustained presence of personnel on site: the drinks area, workshops, technical equipment storage). As these have been 3d printing with wood filament, they would be injected with liquid mycelium. The great thing about mycelium cultures is that it helps decompose the 3d printed matter, and it has been proved it also eats through plastic. Through its growth mycelium speeds up the recycling process turning it into compost. Thus the wood comes back full circle. ● This strategy, although generally really interesting, caused difficulties in terms of feasibility, due mainly to the danger a living mycelium culture might pose to the safety of the users. Thus the two steps were replaced by a logic of re-use. The 3d printed wood remains on site but is re-purposed to host plants, thus turning the Olympic Park into a vibrant waterfront garden, where visitors can continue their activities previous to the Games in an environment that encourages pedestrianization and bike-use.