New Orders

Department: Architecture
Designer: Olivier Ottevaere

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The project investigates a series of alternative structures for housing through a design-research prototyping process.It proposes a new method of designing and building vertical architecture, which in turn has the potential to transform how interior and exterior space is organized, programs arranged, structures articulated, and circulation defined. The series explores nine specific massing and structural organizations, each at 1:1 scale, which through analytical diagrams are further architecturally tested as speculative towers for urban high density living at 1:100 scale. Nine proto-structures were initially conceived and realized as castconcrete columns. At 1:1 scale, concrete as process rather than just concrete as material sets the main design-research methodology. The value of working at 1:1 scale lies in realtime material computing, in the empirical feedback from active forces of materials. This project emerged through a series of trial and error experiments with specific material properties, particularly concrete. Studies of the transformation from liquid to solid led to the development of new formwork techniques that responded more sensitively to the particular pressures of the material, its fluidity, and continuous transition between tectonic 8 elements. Design research and analysis was informed by the work of early structural rationalists such as Felix Candela, Pier Luigi Nervi, Heinz Isler and Robert Maillart, all of whom worked to develop specific structural systems for improved performance with reinforced concrete. New Orders was inspired in part through this work, though it departs from precedents in its direct response to the high-rise urban context of Hong Kong. The experimental methods of design and casting tested in New Orders were further realized in several subsequent designs, including Smoke Shafts, a series of ventilation chimneys fabricated in a precast factory in Dongguan and incorporated into a mixed-use building project in Shenzhen in 2018, and Casa Trevo, a cast-in-place concrete house (of an area of 250 square meters) under construction in Lisbon, Portugal and due to be completed in summer 2019. It has been presented at 4 international conferences (ICSA 2016, ACSA 2016, ACE 2016, AAE 2016); selected and exhibited at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture; and been published in two peer reviewed journals. It has received positive reviews from conferences proceedings: “Pertinent research-based learning practice, work of a high standard” (AAE conference, The Bartlett, UCL), “Global evaluation10 of paper: Very Good” (ICSA 2016, World leading conference on Structures and Architecture), “Appropriateness of Topic: Highly Appropriate / Conceptual Adequacy: Outstanding” (ACE 2016, International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering).

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