Living in a forest, in the sky
By Jovin Hurry
What kind of lifestyle would our children’s children have in their cities of the future? We can only dream up of innumerable opportunities modern architecture will provide to satisfy density, liveability and sustainability. Wong Mun Summ, Founder of WOHA, an internationally-acclaimed architectural practice based in Singapore and Stefano Boeri, Architect and Former Executive Councilor of Milan both explored eye-opening architectural strategies at the ‘GreenUrbanScape Asia 2013’ at the Expo Convention Centre in Singapore earlier this month.
Our children may end up living in a vertical forest – the new model for urban densification. This vertical biodiversity generates a micro-climate of its own, with an interaction among the water systems, life, and concrete structure. This idea of continuous sequence of biological diversity creates a facade and makes it a living building. Biodiversity of plants and diversity of people coalesce to become part of new vertical living standards in dense cities.
The BoscoVerticale (Vertical Forest) has at its heart a concept of architecture which demineralises urban areas and uses the changing shape and form for its facades. This hands over to the vegetation itself the task of absorbing the dust in the air. The micro-climate created filters out the sunlight. “This is the kind of biological architecture that refuses to adopt a strictly technological and mechanical approach to environmental sustainability,” said Stefano Boeri.
This 21st century living offers the chance to reclaim connection with nature – a connection residents in an urban jungle may have lost.
While climbing the vertical forest up and down may become a daily routine for the new residents, they would be looking at enjoying skyrise living, way up there. Wong Mun Summ shared about creating the same ground level feel in the upper floors. In an architecture that reflects both intention and design, he looks at creating “the sky kampung”.
Tropical high rise living is morphing from a solid building to a porous one, where the vertical and the horizontal are being torn down to give way to greenery and usable areas. Children or tomorrow will be making friends in sky spaces especially designed for community bonding, which will be one of the “multiple ground levels”.
The vertical forest and vertical ground levels are paradigm shifts in city planning and build on the profound awareness of local context, tradition, an ongoing exploration of contemporary architectural forms and ideas, and a blend of deep connection and playful invention. Sustainable environmental principles are no longer a technological overlay, fixed in determinism, but profoundly embedded into future designs.
Skyrise living takes on a new level. Our children have a new vision to look at. The horizon will look closer than before.