“Flip/City”, a proposal by PinkCloud.DK which was shortlisted in the 2012 Rethinking Shanghai competition, proposes a new urban identity for Shanghai as a model for the development of future cities. By flipping the horizontal cityscape to the vertical, footprints of Shanghai’s existing typologies, only visible by plane, embody the new face of the vertical city. By expanding Shanghai up along the vertical plane, unused urban voids will be activated. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Imagine a city of a unique new typology that meets the needs of its inhabitants while maximizing the quality of life and work. This typology would embrace communities and their citizens as a flexible framework which adapts to environmental and economic changes. As a reactive healing force, this city could renew weak urban zones in decline by filling voids and dead space with functioning, thriving neighborhoods. Most importantly, this new typology would have the capacity to maximize green space and solve infrastructural issues while creating an efficient, accessible circulation system for public transit.
Shanghai’s exponential population growth was incurred by its international importance as a financial epicenter. This population boom lead to the import of Western urban typologies in Shanghai. While the high-rise typology effectively challenges high density with a small footprint, it is typically plagued with a homogeneous function. This contributes to the issue of exclusivity of the city center as a commercial zone. City centers often resemble the financial hub of the city, gradually extending into residential sprawl. This necessitates more transportation infrastructure to bridge long distances between office and residence. High-rise typologies also lose the intimacy of the human scale, forcing citizens to live and work in increasingly alienating, pollutive, and disconnected environments.
By expanding Shanghai up along the vertical plane, Shanghai’s characteristic urban pattern of patchwork typologies can accommodate a wider range of functions. Residential, commercial, educational, cultural, and infrastructural functions are arranged at the human scale to enable walking distance between all vital functions. Urban voids and abandoned sites are infilled with infrastructural installations and equipment. 3-Dimensional blocking in the vertical village constructs more numerous meeting spaces and communal green zones for the public.
Seven modular typologies are constructed in the micro scale (House, Y, O, =, ?), visible from the human eye at street scale. Each typology houses a function that is clearly readable from near and far distances. This enables clear wayfinding and navigation for inhabitants.
Unique typologies are configured and distributed with a parametric algorithm to maintain human scale throughout the project. The designer can choose the number of housing and office modules and select the density and footprint. The algorithm optimizes the arrangement of modules into close communities and uses site-specific qualities as parameters to optimize the composition.
The mega-scale of Flip/City uses different footprints to optimize the parametric arrangement of its modules. The proposal is adaptable to a wide range of situations from environmental influences to social structures. We have selected six diverse sites with unique urban problems for analysis. All six scenarios are tested with the Flip/City model to test its flexibility and adaptability.
Flip/City addresses four crucial aspects of sustainability. In the realm of social sustainability, the anonymous feeling of immense cities is challenged by interconnecting typically isolated diverse city zones. In the economical sense, increase green space invigorates the morale of Shanghai’s dense society. Dead spaces, voids and abandoned sites are also renewed. Ecological sustainability is achieved by recycling greywater of the Suzhou Creek. Heating and cooling is accomplished by collecting solar and wind energy. Finally, Flip/City sustains the cultural heritage of Shanghai by reinterpreting its historical urban framework.