PennDesign among Select Schools to Participate in Vertical Cities Asia

Wed. 6 July

The University of Pennsylvania School of Design is one of ten international universities invited to participate in the “Vertical Cities Asia” competition, hosted by National University of Singapore and the World Future Foundation from July 6-8. 

SINGAPORE—The University of Pennsylvania School of Design is one of ten international universities invited to participate in the “Vertical Cities Asia” competition, hosted by National University of Singapore and the World Future Foundation from July 6-8.

 “Vertical Cities Asia” encourages design explorations into the prospects of new models of urban architecture, noting that with ever-increasing urbanization, new models must be formed to take on increasing populations and development.  Half of the world’s population is already currently living in cities; by 2050, that figure is projected to climb to 70 percent.

The competition aims to promote the development of ideas and theories in urban growth and architectural form related to density, livability and sustainability specific to the rapid and exponential growth of urbanism in Asia. In the first of this series, the theme of “Fresh Air” will be explored with the site in the Sichuan province of China.

Teams are challenged to respond with an urban and architectural invention that offers holistic integration and a visionary paradigm to meet the realities of increasing urbanization, setting the stage for investigation into urban density, verticality, domesticity, work, food, infrastructure, nature, ecology, structure and program.

PennDesign students, including Master of Architecture candidates Tia Crocker, Eva Jermyn Andreas Kostopoulos, Mark Shkolnikov,  Alexandra Van Orsdale, Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture candidate Jeong Hwa Lee and Master of Science in Architecture candidate John Sullivan, drew from experiences in a research seminar to dream up two proposals that offer radical solutions that respond to extreme urban situations.

 “Hover” imagines the city as a megastructure lifting above raw nature—the creation of a truly non-hierarchical fusion between the living environment of humanity and nature. “Park City,” meanwhile, looks to de-individualize architecture towards the common good, where form generation is geared towards a larger purpose than excessive individual building shapes. It also empowers inhabitants to reclaim a connection to nature through a hybrid of real and artificial nature across architectural elements.     

Both proposals incorporate elements of master planning drawn from the United Nation’s 21 principles for sustainable development, first proposed in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in 1992.

“Making cities work and thinking about the city as a machine for living is the wrong approach,” notes Matthias Hollwich, a lecturer in PennDesign’s Department of Architecture who is serving as the team’s faculty advisor. “We have to look at the city as a place for the fulfillment of individual dreams, lifestyles, and desires—especially for the people who are forced to move into them.”

Winners will be announced July 8. More on the competition design brief may be found at www.verticalcitiesasia.com.