WOHA. Installation view at Palazzo Bembo, 2016.

Photo: Patricia Parinejad

Time Space Existence - Biennale Architettura 2016

Time Space Existence - Biennale Architettura 2016

Fragments of an Urbam Future
Applying theory to practice, WOHA reinvents the 20th century Garden City as a multi-layered, high-density, high-amenity 21st century Mega City. Lush landscaping permeates its towering structures, which are dense and vertical, yet sociable and sustainable. Beyond individual buildings, WOHA envisions the skyscraper as a matrix of sequenced human-scaled environments. Their hyper-dense architecture breaks ground in the tropics, boldly confronting some of the most imminent challenges for emerging cites.
Based in Singapore, WOHA recognizes the need for context-sensitive responses for the Asian tropics. From Bangalore to Shenzhen, rampant expansion is rendering urban paradigms untenable. With sweltering tempe-ratures and populations topping 20 million, western architectural conventions and their modernist legacy cannot meet the needs of the dense tropical city. Caught in an unprecedented growth spurt, these cities are undergoing an urban puberty and rapidly outgrowing their infrastructure. But the Asian megacity is an ideal testing ground for new urban typologies and architectural strategies. WOHA projects stand as prototypes for many comparable locations in the global south, where climate change, resource scarcity, and rapid urbanization jeopardize stable development.
The extreme congestion, pollution, and inequality facing emerging megacities today resemble western capitals at the turn of the 20th century when architects and urban planners in Paris, London, and New York called for the reintegration of green spaces into urban life – giving rise to the Garden City movement. Inspired by this vision for a healthier city, WOHA emboldens tropical mega cities to move beyond the western concepts and evolve their own city models for the 21st century.
Informed by history, WOHA’s Garden City Mega City re-introduces nature into the built environment as vertical landscapes – redefining notions of scale, density, and materiality along the way. Biodiversity, ecology, and the local vernacular offer site-specific solutions for the city of tomorrow. Rather than accelerating land consumption, WOHA’s elevated gardens, integrated greenery, and a spectrum of communal spaces add delight to everyday architecture. As a result, WOHA’s projects act less like buildings and more like self-sufficient organisms of recreational, environmental, and aesthetic value.
Fragments of an Urban Future showcases WOHA’s model for high-amenity, high-density, high-rise living. Layered planes bend sculpturally while supporting a canopy of leafy vegetation; verdant towers soar into a skyline of perforated volumes and floating walkways, thriving at every turn with lush greenery and spontaneous exchanges. These porous passageways and breathing cityscapes invite glimpses into a biophilic future.
The vision for Garden City Mega City may appear utopian, but WOHA’s projects are the built manifestation of its potential. By intensifying land use, radically multiplying green space, and integrating cooling breezeways, WOHA’s vertical ecosystems prove that buildings can in fact lessen their environmental impact. What emerges is a blueprint for sustainable development and a progressive philosophy for city making. If buildings are designed as open communities rather than isolated silos, and nature is enhanced instead of exploited, cities will prosper as vibrant networks for all.


  • Title: WOHA. Installation view at Palazzo Bembo, 2016.
  • Creator: Photo: Patricia Parinejad

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