Claudia wigger – shophouse city

high-dense, intense, porous and fine-grained

As the world’s population steadily climbs towards nine billion by 2050, the issue of density becomes a critical reality. As most rapidly growing urban regions around the globe struggle with a shortage of housing and haven’t developed local precedents for high-density structures yet, practitioners frequently propose large scale residential developments that follow modernist design principles. Although these repetitive patterns of towers and slabs perform very well in terms of achieving high built and population densities, they often lack the complex social and economic vitality of historically grown cities and are essentially Western in their cultural language.

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Student Work

Asya Shine – “Blurred Boundaries”

Lagos, Nigeria is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, at an estimated 21 million inhabitants. One characteristic that separates  Lagos from other high dense areas is the rate of informal development. Makeshift homes, shops, and other infrastructure are casually integrated in the city. Lagoians manage to use the smallest space in front, between, and around buildings for their everyday functions.

Blurred Boundaries works to capture those informal conditions while addressing housing insecurity through a communal approach to affordable housing.

Sydney Farris – “Pol with a Third Dimension”

The city of Ahmedabad has a uniquely dense and obfuscating urban fabric made up of “pols”, or isolated communities typically of a few hundred people. While these social barriers have eroded over centuries, Traditionally a pol’s inhabitants were of the same caste, religion, extended family, or trade. The pol’s narrow lanes were often organized around a larger public space called a “chowk.” Access would have been tightly controlled, often monitored by a guard positioned above its one or two points of entry. Some pols would have been so self-sustaining as to have an independent source of well-water and full-time staff.

The individual pol house within this organization is similar to many other historic shophouse precedents: a narrow two- to three-story party wall home with more public greeting or commercial spaces towards the front and its raised threshold. What makes Ahmedabad unique is it’s organic, tight-knit fabric full of bend and dead-ends, which relies largely on user experience to navigate. [confirm with A’bad studio] Whereas the typical goal of an urban plan is to facilitate movement, Ahmedabad’s obstruction of free movement creates unique opportunities for social and commercial interaction.

What better way to induce a more vertically dense architecture with the same irregularities than to appropriate pieces of the fabric itself and adapt them to a new verticality through extracting, cutting, folding, tilting, and intentional misreading? Appropriating existing footprints provides a more granular, detail-rich form which responds to the human body. The new vertical pol retains the footprint and basic unit of the pol house and the spirit of its interactions, just on a new plane which yields a higher density. This form prompts new questions about its commercial and residential mix, about how common space is negotiated with an added dimension, about who its inhabitants are, and about how neighboring pols view and interact one another. Relationships between pols

JJiasun Jocelyn Wei – “Towards A New Shophouse City”

As a merge of living and working, “Shophouse” manifest a new type of lifestyle. Derived from the traditional shophouse type in Singapore, the investigation into the “front vs. back” tension leads to my ultimate vision fo a mixed identity of shophouses that fosters diversity within density.

This proposal seeks to re-vitailze the hidden alleyways through elevated urban fabrics, where programmatic variation is encouraged as well as circulation dynamics for social interactions. Preserving the conventional longitudinal configuration, typical modular units are arrayed for future adaptation or expansion, in which those “wet” areas along the edge constructs a noble lifestyle with intended visual appreciation.

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