Gratings. City. LifeWindow grates visual impact on a city drastically affects the urban landscape. We believe that there is a standard beauty that must be guaranteed to everyone. We believe that architecture is a social art and creativity is worth no more than social responsibility. We believe that architecture affects people's life as well as private behaviour has effects on cities perception.
Window gratings convey an image of deep urban and social degradation.
In our inquiry we try to understand which are the main reasons for people to use in such a peculiar way window grates, and how to eventually respond in a different way to people needs, giving them a more beautiful urban environment and a healthier way to live their own interior spaces.
These grates affect both our private spheres and collective spheres.
Private spheres: window grates in Asian cities are often used as an extension of the home filled to excessively with personal belongings and often treated as extra storage space. This implies that natural light and fresh air barely penetrate inside homes.
Collective spheres: window grates visual impact on a city drastically affects the urban landscape. Because of the prevalent use of these window grates, a beautiful city with the typical buildings and architecture covered in these gratings can be perceived as dangerous and unsafe, when in actuality, today's modern China is one of, if not the safest, countries to be living in.
WHY PEOPLE USE WINDOW GRATINGS
The purpose of using window grates is obviously for the homeowners' safety and security.
In China, this is not the case. Compared to the rest of the world, China has one of the lowest crime rates.
Still, when asking residents who use to have window grates, they expressed the installation of these structures purpose is to safe-guard against intruders. Yet still, one can observe the over use of window grates at the 15th floor of a 34 storey building, or installed just on a window while others on the same level do not.
Finally we concluded that such an exaggerate use of window grates is just an excuse to claim alternative uses for them, such as creating extra square meters for the already cramped space.
After a first observation, it is easy to understand what the real main uses of the grates are: dress drying (the most common), storage (due to the absence of indoor storage space in standard apartments) and pigeon house (especially in hutong lower buildings).
In order to solve this issue there is a sustainable solution: with a recycling value of 30-40 rmb / kg, steel is the most recyclable material in the world. So it is possible to transform window grates in something useful for people, realizing recycled steel urban furniture, or using money saved from recycling process to provide utilities for dwellers.
Using money came from the selling to recycling steel companies, is it possible to refurbish the facades: because grates are not used just for security, but also for storage or greenhouse, the money could be used to provide alarm systems at lowest and highest floors, flower boxes at middle floors and storage boxes on the roof, as well as public utilities for the whole compound.
INSTALLATION FOR BEIJING DESIGN WEEK 2014
Homes space is meant to be a sanctuary where everyone should feel serenity, safety, security. Our installation is a virtual indoor and outdoor interpretation of emotions felt when living within or in front the confines of window grates. Instead of creating peace, these window grates are actually creating an artificial filter that restricts our view to the world outside, as well as confine our own imagination as well as they make ugly the cities.