Vertical Village: A Sustainable Way of Village-Style Living / Yushang Zhang, Rajiv Sewtahal, Riemer Postma & Qianqian Cai

Courtesy of , , Riemer Postma & Qianqian Cai

Yushang Zhang, Rajiv Sewtahal, Riemer Postma and Qianqian Cai (with studio tutor Alexander Sverdlov, at The Why Factory of professor Winy Maas (MVRDV) at the TU Delft) shared with us their project, “Vertical Village: A Sustainable Way of Village-style Living”, which was awarded the first prize in the d3 Housing Tomorrow 2011 Competition. The competition called for transformative solutions that advanced sustainable thought, building performance, and social interaction through the study of intrinsic environmental geometries, social behaviors, urban implications, and programmatic flows.

The d3 Housing Tomorrow competition assumes that architecture does not simply form, but rather perform various functions beyond those conventionally associated with residential buildings. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Yushang Zhang, Rajiv Sewtahal, Riemer Postma & Qianqian Cai

What we strive to explore in this medium‐density housing project is a new way to obtain the joy of village living without occupying as much land resources as traditional villages do.

park and playground

A traditional village provides its habitants with various plots to build their unique house which shapes or reflects different lifestyles. However, a village occupies too many land resources which should belong to nature. A high-rise residence provides efficiency and capacity, but personal domains lose the uniqueness they should have. Therefore, we came up with the idea of the “3D plot” to provide a third choice called “Vertical Village”.

small park on the way upwards

The division of the 3D plot is based on the 3D Voronoi algorithmic system, which can translate the relation of points into interfaces to divide a certain volume into individual cells. If every cell is owned by one family, by changing the positions of points, we can create various 3D individual domains.

the interior of a family

A special rule controlling the generation of points is that every point should be relatively orthogonal to its nearest point, so that every cell will have its largest surface being perpendicular or parallel to the horizon. Some activities, like cooking or studying, can rely on those orthogonal surfaces, while others, like gardening or having a party, can happen in those irregular parts. Therefore, both practical and dramatic spaces have been defined by this system.

watching stars in the garden

Like the embryo living in its egg, each family can decide where and how to put their house inside their 3D plot. A series of cells are designed as circulation and public facilities to provide habitants with conveniences and places to have collective activities.

a garden with various altitudes

In the end, collective dwelling is not a simple stacking of layers anymore, but becomes a more complicated and organized coexistence of unique individual domains in a vertical village.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Vertical Village: A Sustainable Way of Village-Style Living / Yushang Zhang, Rajiv Sewtahal, Riemer Postma & Qianqian Cai" 09 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Bhujon Kang

    Just me feeling something with this?

  • Andrew

    I don’t understand how voronoi-derived 3d spaces is more “sustainable” than rectilinear ones. Not only will it take more material to construct, it is volume wasted (ie uninhabitable spaces that must be heated and cooled).

  • gaga lala

    it sustains steel industry, architecture firm, facade consultant and structure engineers… hahahhahahaahahahaah

  • TC Lai

    Interesting idea. But is this more a vertical shanty town than a village? By definition, villagers live and work in a shared space. They may be near or far. But each have their own space. Is this too intrusive? I believe communication is key, how each is interacting/communicating with the whole commune. A building that allows each to walk through shared space (“inter-spacing”, not door to door) would be more effective. Each commune also should have a communal hall where the majority can do something together (e.g. celebrations, projects, etc).

  • altego

    Refreshing to see a voronoi scheme utilized as 3D complex rather than just another trendy 2D facade. The renderings and model are great. The project, however, seems a bit manneristic, obsessed with forcing a 3D voronoi solution on a housing scheme. This geometry, especially as a structural solution, is not very convincing for plug-in city archigram tribute. The sun and wind studies are far from being persuasive and circulation possesses some Escher drawing qualities. Very very nice try though. Applause.

  • Anne

    My very personal perception of a village is: a place where you have a lot of place, nature and possibly you partialy (or fully) sustain yourself by producing food. Plus you know your neighbours very closely. All in one: you live there, work, get your food, watter and social interactions at one place.

    And this is just another apartment block, where people come home to sleep after working elsewere, shopping elswhere, socialising elswhere. And what can you grow on steel?- apple trees or patatoes?

  • up_today_arch

    But still no one building with this kind of structure exists… I would like to see same space done…

  • rupert

    Again, voronoi is just an overabused algorithm. While it’s a pattern recurring at many scales in nature, it has nothing to do with the architectural scale. if you wanna read an essay on the topic.

  • shetu

    It can be anything but a village. Village is not about the space occupation, its all about their lifestyle and freedom to create their own teritory (not furnish their own house only).
    Once again its been proved that, architect can not design a village.

  • shetu

    building a high-tech high rise in a village is being called sustainability now!

  • Laszlo Kiss

    This is the logical conclusion to James Wines’s Stacked Suburbia of the ’70′s. This would actually work and be a livable place with a little more thought given to the integration of hydroponic farming.

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