Vertical Density And High – Rise Development

Friday, February 27, 2009 17:20

Posted by Cluster written by Marcia Caines, Cluster

‘The Living Bridge’ Nicola and Adelaide Marchi courtesy eVolo

Vertical density, due to rapid urban growth, has transformed the skylines of Asian cities such as Shanghai and Taipei beyond recognition and with the population implosion in megacities this phenomenon is escalating.
In Eastern Europe multinationals and banks erect towers that soar above the low-rise historical centres, and in Qatar cities, such as Dubai, ‘starchitect’ totems spring up in the desert to satisfy the fantasies of the world’s ultra-affluent, but if the sky is the limit, what’s going on at ground level?


‘The Living Bridge’ Nicola and Adelaide Marchi, courtesy eVolo

The construction of new skyscrapers has been the cause of many heated discussions among planners, city authorities, architects, environmentalists and citizens alike in different countries.
In the U.K. Prince Charles, who is committed to the historical integrity of city centres, spoke out against the project for a high-rise hotel complex downtown in Edinburgh. In Russia the city of St Petersburg contested the erection of the Gazprom tower and, despite the go ahead, city authorities have submitted an amendment to next year’s budget to cut money for the construction.
Torino itself has witnessed strong opposition to the Intesa San Paolo’s project to build a 200mt tall tower with a committee called “Non Grattiamo il Cielo” (Don’t Scrape the Sky) dedicated to the cause.
Examples like these are multifold.

In his book Content Rem Koohlaas invites us to ‘Kill the Skyscraper’, knocking it as an ill of the modern city that risks to become a banal phallic symbol of prosperity lacking in societal functions “The intensification of density it initially delivered has been replaced by carefully spaced isolation.”

The 2008 edition of the Biennial of Venice curated by Aaron Betksy “Out There: Beyond Architecture”, entertained taking the ‘building’ out of architecture, in search for a more city and design inclined architecture that can provide instruments, languages, constructions and objects that encourage social cohesion, initiatives and new resources for the ever-mutating city, in his words “a secret history of architecture that resists the notion that designing, making, and interpretation of buildings is a productive manner of serving our society with useful artifacts”.
The development-boom in large areas of the world has led to Market-driven Unintentional Development (MUD) that has violently invaded the ‘public realm’ of countless cities overnight, more traditional and bureaucratic urban planning processes have got left behind somewhere along the way and revealed their incapacity to keep up with the pace of this unprecedented urban growth.

We are inundated with images — on anything from the BMW magazine to fashion mags. –- documenting oppressive high-rise buildings shadowing over the city streets of the modern-day metropolises that spur within us a renewed sense of preservation, but let’s not forget the skyscraper holds strong cultural bearings that are deeply embedded in our perception of the city, its identification, orientation and our experience within it, it isn’t just a static representation of a consumer culture gone crazy, afterall, ‘By night the skyscraper looms in the smoke and the stars and has a soul’ poem Skyscraper Analysis by Carl Sandburg

So, what will become of our symbolic city icon ‘the skyscraper’?


‘The Living Bridge’ Nicola and Adelaide Marchi, courtesy eVolo

The skyscraper needs to be redesigned, refined and reconciled to urban culture.
It must respond to the needs of mutating cities, creative communities, density, flows, communal spaces and functions.

Verticle Density was the theme of the 2009 edition of the eVolo Skycraper Competition, organized by eVolo, the New York group of international architects founded in 2003, the competition invited architects, engineers and designers to explore new ideas with careful consideration of the urban fabric, human scale and sustainability to tackle the problem of vertical density and find new models for the contemporary skyscraper.

416 projects were submitted from 64 countries, Cluster features on its website “The Living Bridge” by France Team: Nicola Marchi, Adelaïde Marchi, that came second place in the competition.

All the images that accompany this text are part of this project.

Nicola Marchi, Adelaide Marchi

‘The Living Bridge’ Nicola and Adelaide Marchi, courtesy eVolo

The Centre of Paris is deeply characterized by the touching the historic monuments such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais. They are all landmarks that provide orientation in the city, as authentic milestones. The historic city can still grow its density vertically, respecting and highlighting the existing context. The grand open spaces of Paris, and particularly the Place de la Concorde, have the potential of integrating a new 400 meter high building, made of two narrow (12mt) and long (216mt) volumes, separated by 30 meter space. The building is separated by the Siene, becoming a new landmark and offering to the historic center the development of the most varied programmatic elements, from landscape to culture, museum and performance spaces. The new bridge for the city is a living one.

Michel Etienne Turgot, Borough city president of the city of Paris in 1734, commissioned to the drafter Louis Bretez the most beautiful and accurate representation of Paris in the ‘Ancien Regime’.
Based on this representation, it is evident that most bridges in the city at that time are living quarters and act as actual buildings, fully integrated to the bridge itself. The same typology is found in the historic “Ponte Vecchio” in Florence that survives unaltered to this date, with its direct relationship between ‘bridge and architecture’ and the river.

For information on eVolo and other winning projects please visit eVolo’s website here

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3 Responses to “Vertical Density And High – Rise Development”

  1. Sungjin says:

    January 22nd, 2010 at %I:%M %p

    Living Bridge (2009 Skyscraper Competition) #chofang

  2. Sungjin says:

    January 22nd, 2010 at %I:%M %p

    Living Bridge (2009 Skyscraper Competition) #chofang

  3. kuho says:

    January 22nd, 2010 at %I:%M %p

    Interesting!!! RT @chofang: Living Bridge (2009 Skyscraper Competition) #chofang

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