Dubai Nhabitat, a mixed-use tower proposed by Ankara-based firm rgg Architects, utilizes its own unique formal system to create "permeability through different materials and building tectonics." The tower is an aggregate of individual modules that can be enlarged or shrunk by an "8mx8m grid" based on programmatic needs, creating views and outdoor spaces unique to each spatial arrangement.
Urban Density: The Latest Architecture and News
Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne has completed a three-semester–long study of Houston’s future, given its current sprawling urban conditions and rapid growth. The project, conducted alongside 21 University of Houston students and faculty members Matt Johnson, Peter Zweig, and Jason Logan, focused on ways of addressing the problems that arise from Houston’s historical lack of zoning in conjunction with the largely unregulated growth of industry and capitalism. These approaches include reinventing the current energy infrastructure, changing real estate and density, and leveraging the lack of zoning to generate new ideas.
Nowadays the main building materials used in the construction industry are concrete, steel and timber. From the point of view of ecological sustainability, there are four important differences between these three materials: first, timber is the only material of the three that is renewable; second, timber needs only a small amount of energy to be extracted and recycled compared to steel and concrete (but the implementation of its potential is not as developed yet); third, timber does not produce waste by the end of its life since it can be reused many times in several products before decomposing or being used as fuel and; and fourth, timber traps huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere – a tree can contain a ton of CO2  – and the carbon absorbed remains embedded as long as the wood is in use.
Considering the fact that 36 percent of total carbon emissions in Europe during the last decade came from the building industry, as well as 39 percent of total carbon emissions in the United States, the materiality of construction should be a priority for governments’ regulations in the future as measurements against global warming. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the level of carbon emissions of the big economies across the globe are big issues that need to be solved with urgency in order to avoid larger, more frequent climate catastrophes in the future. The current regulation in several countries of the EU, which is incentivizing the use of renewable materials in buildings, is showing the direction the building industry in many other parts of the world should follow. And if these measures are adopted across the EU and beyond – if other countries start to follow this tendency as well – there will be significantly more wood in cities.
With the touch of a button on your smartphone, your furniture begins to reconfigure while new walls glide into place. In a matter of seconds, your bedroom can become the kitchen, dining room, or simply an empty room thanks to the ingenuity of architecture students at Delft University of Technology's Hyperbody design team. The Pop up Interactive Apartment occupies a mere 50 square metres of multi-use space optimized for specific real-time use, allowing the occupant to choose a configuration based on current needs.
Enter the hyper-efficient world of Pop up Interactive Apartment after the break.
Japanese artist Katsumi Hayakawa's "Paperworks" exhibition explores the impression of architectural density through delicate three-dimensional installations. The intricate sculptures were all hand-crafted piece by piece out of paper and glue, creating an awe-inspiring assemblage of multi-layered urban conditions at different scales. For more information and images, keep reading after the break.
Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French photographer who captures the dizzying heights and uncommon densities of Hong Kong. Inspired by "the geometry of the urban environment and the vivid lives it shelters," Jacquet-Lagrèze has not only captured the verticality of Hong Kong's built environment, but also compiled a new book, Vertical Horizon, "a photographic journey between the buildings of a relentlessly growing city." See more of Jacquet-Lagrèze's images, and read an excerpt from Vertical Horizon, after the break.