The spatial consequence of global urbanization in the twenty-first century is the expansion of the city into the vertical dimension. This vertical urbanization is driven by the high-rise typology elaborated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It still depends fundamentally on the building core, the physical synthesis of three mutually dependent potentialities: vertical circulation, service/structural capabilities, and the stacking of privatized space. The repetitive insular stacking of privatized space ultimately dominates the stagnant public ground. The result is a quantitative and qualitative unbalanced ratio of the two categories of urban spaces. An urban experience dominated by isolated architectural objects rather than a continuous topological space is the inevitable consequence. Let us take a critical snapshot illustrating the impact of urban verticalization on life within our cities and question whether this produces humane settlements.
The urban qualities defined by the United Nations twenty years ago in the Habitat Agenda (the document agreed at the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, 1996) were inspired by two principles of equal global importance: adequate shelter for all and sustainable development. Furthermore, the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements announced ‘our cities must be places where human beings lead fulfilling lives in dignity, good health, safety, happiness and hope’.
How does global urban verticalization fulfill these ideals? As we enter the era of the three dimensional network society, with its need for programmatic diversity and spatial continuity, we need to find an alternative topological urban answer. What happens to the urban morphology if we invert the given ratios of privatized and public space? Let us show you this experiment...
Oke Hauser (Dipl. Ing.) finished his architectural studies at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, with first class honors and won the prestigious Bruno Taut Award for his thesis. After working at Rem Koolhaas’ office OMA in New York and Herzog & De Meuron in Basel, he joined Studio Schwitalla, Berlin as a collaborative partner. He is currently working as an editor for the upcoming publication ‘CoreCity’ with Schindler AG, Luzern.
Max Schwitalla (Dipl.Arch. ETH/Architekt) studied architecture at the University of Stuttgart and at the ETH, Zurich. He received his Master’s Degree in Architecture from the ETH, Zurich in 2006. Prior to Studio Schwitalla, he co-founded HENN StudioB, Berlin and worked for Rem Koolhaas/OMA, Rotterdam/New York and Graft, Berlin/Los Angeles. He has been a regular studio and seminar instructor and guest critic at the TU Berlin, ETH Zurich, TU Dresden and Aedes Network Campus Berlin. He is currently working as an editor for the upcoming publication ‘CoreCity’ with Schindler AG, Luzern.