Natalia Barreto

THE YING AND YANG CITIES
My first impression when I arrived to Ottawa and Gatineau from Montevideo – Uruguay was the immense amount of free space, of air…"where is the city”, I wondered.
The city seems to be the free spaces, the voids that are connected by infrastructure.
And I mean free space / air and all different senses and situations. Everything is bigger, the ceiling is higher, the houses are made of light materials, there's air above the ceiling and under the floor.
So I think Canadians can create solid from air, they are capable of building a house with air where you are going to feel comfortable in temperature ranging from -40 to +40 degrees.
On the other hand most of the Latin American cities I have experienced seem to be the opposite, the sensation you have can be much more oppressive, there’s always the need for a free space.
South American cities and Canadian cities are like the “Ying and Yang”…
Take a massive space built of brick and mortar and remove some pieces and you have Montevideo for example…take a immense free space, a green field and spill it with some buildings and roads and you have a Canadian city.
But also I felt that the city was somewhat empty, all the free space was space free of people. My very first impression was that nothing happened in the city but people working or studying, later I realized that there are lots of different activities going on, but in a less spontaneous way, things seem to happen in parallel…everything is organized and planned.
I think that architecture is not only about space and form but also about what happens in the space, it’s about action and interaction. Architecture becomes better when people enjoy it…so, can architecture accelerate the chances of events? the probability of spontaneous interaction between people?