40-minute Poly-city. Rebuilding the environment through temporary experience

Dallas and Fort Worth related to their airport. Below: system diagrams
Regional site-plan, 40 minute poli-city
Mapping of urban airport infrastructure
40-minute sections
Zoom, 40 minute poli-city. Infrastructure convergence at airport.
Mapping of city plans with system diagrams overlapped
Variables catalogue, from mapping existing cities to materialisation of tracks
Section. Transport lanes and stations
Isometric. Airport access nodes
Isometric. Regional topography
Deployed topographical sections every 10km
Bi-city generic prototype, overlapping variability range. Below: Transportation reaches

Primary Authors

  • Martina Barra
  • Rocío Fava
  • Andrea Jean Taylor


  • Universidad Torcuato Di Tella


  • Sergio Fabián Nepomniaschy Forster (Department Head)


  • Ciro Fabián Najle


When traveling, one aims for the best path. This path is determined as the best according to how much time it costs. Time is fundamental. It is the key factor in movement. It makes us take a longer distance in space, to achieve a shorter distance in time. The thesis proposes that contemporary transport infrastructure must be planned thinking about travel time and considering the tracks themselves as places, that lead us to other places. Each infrastructural system possesses an average reach that results from two aspects: the speed at which the vehicle travels and the amount of travel time that the activity requires. When we refer to airports, the average travel time is of forty (40) minutes. Not only does the 40-minute poly-city manage the reach of infrastructure vectors, it also creates a hierarchical system to extend a virtual connection network between existing cities. The previously described mapping of existing infrastructure as iterations of branches and loops, identifies open ended loops, which pose an opportunity to create circuits with neighbouring cities. These regional loops connect nodes that correlate to transports with various reaches: the central station in the city, the urban infrastructural ring and the suburban infrastructural rind. The connection is materialised when cities have analogous nodes, creating a natural traffic flow with a new and multicultural interaction. This allows to create efficient connections in so far as cities are not only connected by proximity, but also by necessity and compatibility.

Project Statement

40-minute poly-city proposes an airport-city in the River Plate Basin through a network of transport infrastructure that connects nearby cities and generates a temporal experience. The project starts by creating a master plan as a pre-architectonic abstract machine, where the organisation in multiple scales draws from systematisation and acceleration of architectural potentialities embedded in existing typologies and regulations. It redefines these as rules systems, coordinating them into a multiplicity of differential prototypes. The internal attributes of these prototypes, although stipulated and controlled with precise variables, act as differential systems in which regulations control the consistent adaptation of the systems to the contingency. Regulations: Unit of measurement: time Urban reach: 40 minutes Infrastructure: nodes and vectors Nodes: intersections Cities: centrifugal growth of the vector system, alternating iterations of radial branches and of loops connecting branches. As a starting point of the investigation, a taxonomy of multiple airport cities is mapped with the vector system, using regulation trends from study cases as generative rules for the system. Such trends generate patterns in which types are identified, allowing to classify existing cities according to their infrastructural development. As a result, a particular type of city is identified, opening the investigation and giving place to the project statement. This type is identified as the bi-city, two cities tied by their infrastructure, both having one same airport within their reach, thus becoming one bi-city with the airport as its topological origin.

Project Description

The generic system results in a by-city prototype where variables are classified as either static or dynamic. Dynamic variables allow the system to be inserted in a specific site, no longer a hypothetical average. The extension of by-city networks between all possible pairs of cities within the River Plate Basin results in by-city intersections. These are conflicts in so far as they have not been absorbed by the system and naturalised as infrastructure nodes. This is when the system triggers its own counteraction. The bi-city evolves into the poly-city by applying the elements studied in existing cities, but inverting their order. In the poly-city, iterations of branches and loops are centripetal, thus vectors converge in place of branching. It is centripetal because the origin of the counter-system are the multiple cities along the coast, and the convergence to single nodes is in the airports. Transport infrastructures materialise in response to their inherent variables. Regulated variables translate into dynamic material variables.. Each type of transport acquires a specific rhythm of stations along its journey according to its speed. These stations obtain the dimensions of their curb sides, platforms, and vegetation as a result of their capacity and frequency. The travelling experience is designed in terms of elevation of tracks, with underground tracks on the coasts, liberating city views, which rise as the 40 minutes go by, reaching peak height at airports, where the user can glance back at his unknown journey.

Dallas and Fort Worth related to their airport. Below: system diagrams