Related Staff : Holger Kehne
Keywords: Structure, Material, Splay, Layering, Towards a New-Architecture
The podium tower has gained hegemony in Hong Kong and all over Asia due to its basic fitness in combining the needs for housing and commercial spaces at maximum GFA. On the positive side this contributes to a dense and compact urban fabric, even loads on transportation and other infrastructures and the round-the-clock liveliness of many areas. Yet it is rightly criticized for a wide range of urban, environmental and social problems. Tectonically, the notorious transfer plates- necessary to shift the loads from densely distributed vertical shear walls of the residential towers to a much sparser series of columns within the commercial podium beneath- are not only wasteful and cumbersome but also separate what happens below from the above. The studio focuses on exploring integral three-dimensional structural and massing solutions that in turn enable continuities, connectivity and new architectural potential and expression.
Programmatically, the bipolar banality of private residential repetitive units above a shopping mall is in dire need for revision: can the vertical combination be expanded to include all necessary ingredients for a self-sustainable urban fabric and respond to specific needs and potentials of their location?
Urbanistically, the podium needs to engage properly with the public realm, its neighbours and the various datums around it. For air flow and other kinds of movement, additional porosity and connections will be necessary.
From a hands-on comparison of various load transfer systems such as arches, vaults, trusses, frames, and Dougong systems, students work in groups to project a range of experimental, paradigmatic building systems, that are applied to various sites in Macau. The tiny SAR has even less available buildable land supply in comparison with Hong Kong and Singapore while at the same time needs to keep growing and diversifying its highly successful casino and integrated resorts economy and provide housing and amenities to a growing population. In addition to reclaimed land from the sea, it appears that more radical steps will be required: students develop a range of idiosyncratic sites with a diversely layered mix of programs and spaces. Examples are the existing airport terminal, the old Maritime Terminal, one remaining casino/ resort plot on the Cotai Strip and the Gongbei border crossing facilities. In addition to employing density to project architecture, the aim is also to coalesce the currently separated realms of tourism and inhabitants and to replace Macau’s borrowing of 1980s Las Vegas with a new iconicity of diversity and coherence aligned with the dynamics and sensibilities of the New Millennium.