Serial Architectures | Systems of Multiplicities
Rethinking Podium – Tower Urbanism

Related Staff : Christian Lange

Supervisor: Christian Lange

With an estimated increase of around 300 million village dwellers becoming city dwellers within the next decades in China, the building industry is facing a challenge unprecedented. If in average a housing tower can provide living space for around 450 people, China would have to build around 650,000 of them.

Hong Kong has experienced a building boom already quite some time ago. Due to the historical circumstances and the lack of space, the tower typology became eventually the modus operandi within the city boundary. In the last two decades the podium tower typology emerged as the predominant building model of efficiency and economy for high-density housing in Hong Kong. Now this model has become a reference for contemporary urban housing developments in China. Although nothing is eventually wrong with this building type per se, if deployed in large numbers urban spaces turn into highly repetitive organizations, lacking orientation, identity and specificity. As a result architecture and urban form turn into pure monotony.

The key questions that must be asked: Is the podium tower typology aggregated in huge numbers the right model for high density living, and if not what are the other models that could be suitable? On the other hand how can we architects avoid the pitfall of producing one of a kind designs that get repeated over and over again? The studio tried to find answers to these questions and invested deeply in the experimentation and production of alternative solutions by establishing new design techniques that can produce difference, variation and specificity.