MVRDV, The Why Factory and JUT Foundation for Arts and Architecture were invited by Total Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA) in Seoul because of the relevance of the project to the rapid development of cities in East Asia. A pressure to urbanize, coupled with the need to create dense urban environments, has turned many cities in East Asia into hyper-urbanized metropolises of block and slab buildings with repetitive apartment blocks. This “Block Attack” replaces historic and vital elements of the urban environment: the traditional low rise, small scale, light types of architecture.
The block architecture, which is cheap and easy to build, replaces the vital elements and communities formed by the traditional homes. These new buildings replace highly social and connected communities, that had diverse interests reflected in the architecture of their homes. These community cultures, when replaced with monotonous block buildings with identical units inspired by the Western standard of living, experience a sense of alienation between a new lifestyle and their own ways of living.
The “Vertical Village” explores an alternative to these blocks and places visitors into a space where they can imagine a new model for their cities while still addressing density and the preservation of traditional village life. This inspiration is not exclusive to East Asian cities, but is also applicable to Western cities that have fallen into the same cycle.
Is there an alternative to this process? Can one imagine a new model for the development of East Asian cities? Can these areas be densified in such a way that the qualities of the traditional village are preserved? The Vertical Village is proposed as an contemporary alternative– a three-dimensional community that brings personal freedom, diversity, flexibility and neighbourhood life back into East Asian – and maybe even Western – cities.
Images via Flickr User MVRDV. All Rights Reserved.