Vertical Horizons- Built-up Neighbours


The rise of the skyscraper was not driven by programmatic needs or artistic desires, but rather economic conditions coupled with turn-of-the-century technological innovations. As it evolved, systems matured to provide comfort and safety while economic efficiency was always prioritized. The skyscraper and its systems reached its evolutionary plateau in the 1950s when mechanized systems transformed the building type into air-tight homogenous structures, maximizing efficiency and economy. This was based on an office culture that today, due to innovations in communications technology, is growing ever more obsolete. However, as cities continue to grow, skyscrapers are increasingly residential. In fact, residential skyscrapers can have population and land areas similar to city neighbourhoods, yet lack any character or identities that give neighbourhoods diversity.

This project reconceived the skyscraper as a vertical neighbourhood – a dynamic network of communities in the sky. The inverted design process prioritized the community by focusing upon the internal social and spatial systems of the skyscraper. The influence of this prioritization also redefined the currently parasitic relationship of the skyscraper to the city into a symbiotic one: the living skyscraper becomes part of an urban food chain, dependent on the environment to insure its own survival, and on the city to provide identity and culture. The design exploration thoughtfully integrates systems as a result of a social agenda, creating a dialogue that raises questions and aspirations about the social validity and potential of the skyscraper as it exists today. Built-up Neighbours, included design measures and community spaces built into a high-rise high-density apartment building to encourage the formation of a genuine neighbourhood and diverse communities.