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Mercato:constructing new types of circulation

Collaborator: Yinong Tao

Addis Mercato locates in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is the largest market in Africa. To accommodate the current expansion, the city established a new zoning requirement to build every block up to a minimum of five stores. The project engages the market’s transition from a horizontal patchwork of shops to a collection of malls. New mall ‘types’ are invented by subjecting them to the constraints of the market and the city. 

Mercato is shaping and shaped by numerous merchandises of different varieties, the buyers and sellers from time to time. Shoppers navigate through diverse conditional space that is restrained by negotiable shop boundaries and impassable structured components. The marketplace is transforming from day to night, shaped by floating events and shifting unregistered trading activities. 

 

Circulation of the existing site


By examining the space that is able to occupy as solid, and movement of people as an act of carving, this drawing demonstrates a 20-second circulation pattern of a generic crossing point on site. The circulation pattern formed by people is organic and chaotic, yet controlled by the permanent construction, informal structure, temporary merchant stand, and passing vehicles. 


An existing site circulation analysis presents the pattern of people’s movement — on the main street, in-between allies, adjacent to merchants, and at back streets. 

 

Sample Analysis: Circulation of Neue Staatsgalerie and Kunsthal

The image collages the circular void from Staatsgalerie as a center point, and ramping floors from Kunsthal as a connective mechanism. It references to the existing circulation of the site: merging points for constantly changing activity, and connection branches to various needs of the informal structure.

 

Informal structure: building the Mercato into five stories mall

The two different systems are used to organize the interior mall space, with the wall serves as the envelope to organize the mall; thus the mall expands from inside out, extend to the marcato street boundaryless.

From one end (right side), the interior quality shifts from formal to informal in a gradient moving away from the solid wall. From larger shops with the permanent vertical structure to small merchandise stands with temporary separations, the order demonstrates an infinitive extension that connects horizontal marcato grid with the mall. 

At the other end (left side), the gradient of formality expand sectionally on a continuous floor plate, with flat surface hosting more organized and static programs at top levels, and sloping platform hosting more scattered and fluid programs toward the ground floor. 

The area which the two systems overlap serves as a connection node. It hosts linear, ramping, and vertical circulation, and act as a non-program space where allows all types of interactions.

 

Circulation of people

The circulation of people in mercato is chaotic, yet shaped by a range of factors from merchandise, vehicle, informal and formal structure. The fluidity of people’s circulation is continued in the vertical structure, through the pattern of merchandise, vehicle and building structure. 

The way merchandise is arranged allow the exchange of product at the periphery, in which shapes fluid circulation pattern of people at outer edges of the mall, and directs specific trades of permanent stores to the inside of the mall. Vehicle access into the mall interferes with the pedestrian pattern. It preserves sharing of streets, at the same time, creates more alternative routes for only pedestrians to circulate horizontally and vertically inside the mall. The structure of the mall is constructed for all types of merchants. It consists from long-term storefront to temporary stand that changed from day to night. The vertical mall contains a range of spatial conditions from the existing streets and addresses the complexity in organized ways.

 

Circulation of merchandise

The two different systems are used to organize the interior mall space, with the wall serves as the envelope to organize the mall; thus the mall expands from inside out, extend to the marcato street boundaryless. From larger shops with permanent vertical structures to smaller merchandise stands with temporary separations, programs are organized with rigid and flexible breathing zones. Stair and sloping floor plates are inserted to establish the diversity of program spaces. Circular nodes are used as major connection and gathering points to serve linear and vertical circulation.


Two organizing systems are established on two sides of the ramp. The lower left side arranges merchandise from fluid and temporary at the facade, to stable and permanent towards the wall. The arrangement accommodates the structure as well as the circulation system of the building. The upper right side is ranging fluid merchandise on the bottom levels with ramped floors, to stable merchandise on the upper levels with flat floors. Both systems bring the existing mercato trading pattern in an organized vertical mall. 

 

Circulation of vehicles

The mall is a negotiation between the existing street condition and organized interior space. It contains a range of spatial conditions from the existing streets and addresses the complexity in organized ways. Vehicles are used as both transportation and temporary merchant stand in mercato. Both usage of vehicles in mercato is reconstructed in the vertical mall. Vehicles are able to enter the mall and weave through four different levels with ramps, which provide a set of program types based on the vehicular path between sloping floors and ceilings. The mall fuses together programmatic, cultural, and social parameters with a dense projection of contextual reference.

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