Our ‘living frame|work’ Skyscraper proposal has been awarded Special Mention!
In answer to the challenge of rapidly growing urbanised areas in highly dense cities such as Mumbai, we proposed ‘living frame|work’. ‘living frame|work’ is an open framework adapting, growing and evolving with its community’s social & economical interactions.
View our full entry here or read the highlights below.
1. A building with no land
“Every day, about 190.000 new people join the world’s urban population, which is alreayd more than half the global population” – Science & Vie, issue May 2015.
Living frame|work is a collection of skyscrapers designed to provide improved life conditions in urban environments, while preserving – and enhancing – the local socio-economic dynamics of the local context.
Living frame|work is a building with no land. Erected on top of existing slums, it is a 3D steel ‘scaffolding-like’ grid, where container units and open platforms can be plugged into place with a simple crane. The construction’s minimal site coverage increases the skyscraper’s implantation possibilities in any city. Living frame|work deploys its space above the urban fabric and its solely structural base occupy a minimal footprint on the plot (steel columns only) on which it is implanted. The plot can therefore continue to be used for a variety of social, economical and environmental urban activities. Living frame|work does not need an empty plot and can be implanted anywhere above existing urban fabrics. It is easily transferable and replicable in other contexts and highly populated cities around the world.
Rising like a tree looking for air and sunlight, Living frame|work is a solution for the rapid urbanisation of highly dense populated areas.
2. This is not a building, This is a city.
“Cities are the result of million of individual human decisions, all rational but relatively non coordinated, which makes the resulting whole behavior quite unpredictable” – Mike Batty, Manager of CASA, Science & Vie, issue May 2015.
Living frame|work does not provide housing, it provides housing, shops, open spaces, ‘roads’…etc. Just as “Dharavi is a city within a city”, Living frame|work is not a residential building but a piece of the city, with complete socio-economical dynamics happening in a complex curation of different typology spaces. The housing flats in this complex have private but also semi-public and public sections allowing small home-based businesses and production units to be run from the ‘residential’ units. In addition, Living frame|work contains open plazas, public spaces, ramps, stairs, water collection systems, solar farms, recycling facilities, leather tanneries, metal and wood workshops, pottery studios, garments, luggage and jewellery workshops…etc. In its different towers and different areas (ground floors and roofs), this project houses different neighbourhoods with their different activities and industries.
“Inhabitants of big cities show oversized performances;
a doubling of population corresponds to a growth of 15% to 20% of wealth production and creativity by inhabitants” – Science & Vie, issue May 2015.
Capturing the atmosphere of dense urban centers, Living frame|work aims at fostering interactions. This is because we believe that interactions are the heart of all activities and innovation. Like Schuiten and Peeters’ “Fièvre d’ Urbicande”, Living frame|work creates the context that fosters social interactions, in order to support the local economy of residents, and revitalise socially deprived areas.
3. An incomplete skyscraper
This proposal provides the framework (structural, mechanical, electrical, sustainable but also open plazas and public spaces…) and a starting status (a number of container flats are provided). Once people inhabit the skyscrapers, do business, grow their families and attract other residents, Living frame|work will grow organically – within the structural framework – as a city grows. It is up to residents to move in new container flats, move them out, acquire a new one for their newly-wed son or start a new business. Delivering this project as an ‘unfinished’ building creates room for growth and invites the residents to further interact with their spaces, their ‘city’.
Starting with an “incomplete skyscraper” requires lower initial costs. One can imagine that the structural grid as well as operational and sanitary facilities – including electrical, mechanical, circulation, water collection, solar panels…etc) – are financed first, and container flats can be purchased and plug into place as more people inhabit the skyscrapers. Future growth is not only controlled by the structural and facilities’ framework but it is sustained by residents who can add container flats as they go and where the space allows.
Living frame|work is not only delivered ‘incomplete’, it is also impermanent – it is constantly evolving and changing – and imperfect – it is not a shiny new skyscraper, but rather a city within a city, with its textures, smells, hustle and bustle, it is a living vertical urban fabric.
Each Container flat is made of two container units on a platform, one of which is lifted. Each flat is hoisted by a crane and slides into place through the facade. When in place, one of the container unit is lifted and connects to the platform above. The structure allows residents to choose the position and orientation of their container flat, they are free to install it within the provided platform, which ensures basic rules of open space, views, ventilation and natural light are always respected.
4. Sustainability is three folds
Living frame|work is designed to be a light, non imposing and non-obstructing landmark. Living frame|work is a self-sufficient, organic and sustainable ecosystem. Sustainability should not be restricted to green or ecological measures only. We believe that “sustainable” means a system that can sustain itself for the long-term future. So in addition to the environmental sustainability, Living frame|work ensures social and economical sustainabilities as well.
Environmental sustainable practices are incorporated in the form of water collection and purification systems, compost treatment, waste collection and recycling, solar panels, local farming and growing food, natural ventilation systems and others, please refer to the diagrams below for details of each. Contrary to traditional skyscrapers, Living frame|work is an ‘outdoor’ building, designed with open spaces allowing views, air and natural light to inhabit the towers. Even though container flats can be plugged in by residents themselves, that is only possible within the provided framework, which ensures that public spaces, views and natural light cannot be blocked.
Social sustainability is key in creating a successful community, and that starts with interactions. To foster interactions, flexible serendipitous spaces are essential. Residents will use the building as it suits them. The building will grow and adapt with the lives of the communities inhabiting it.For fruitful rich interactions, horizontal circulation is crucial. This is one of the main disadvantages of skyscrapers. In Living frame|work, the use of elevators is discouraged and instead a multitude of ramps and small stairs connect close-by floors, providing a more natural horizontal circulation that is more inviting for interactions.
Economical sustainability is ensured when the new skyscraper does not eradicate local practices. On the contrary, Living frame|work retains the residential but also economical nature of slums. In addition to open spaces and market squares being incorporated on the ground floor as well as within the towers, every container flat also includes semi-public and public areas to do business from home, as is the current practice.