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Zaera-Polo, A., Bui, C. v., Calabro, V., Gage, S., Herrmann, E. and Starling, I. (2014) Ecotectonics? In: Andrachuk, J., Bolos, C. C., Forman, A. and Hooks, M. A. (eds.) Perspecta 47: Money. MIT Press, pp. 129-139. ISBN 9780262526883

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This paper proposes a new conceptual framework for the architect’s role in shaping global urban expansion, putting forth new solutions to improve liveability and well-being within the constraints of current development practices and environmental necessities. This approach is centred on data-based and performance-driven delivery mechanisms that can start to reconcile the often opposing concerns of financialization and sustainability. It stems from research and design studio work undertaken Spring 2012 at the Yale School of Architecture with architect Alejandro Zaera-Polo. The paper details the challenges posed by the confluence of rapid urbanisation, the financial mechanisms of large-scale development, and environmental crisis, and looks at alternative models that are beginning to emerge, including new types of modular prefab construction and new models of programmatic flexibility. From there, two design experiments are outlined in detail, radical new proposals addressing the outlined concerns and potentially deployable on a global scale. The first is based around an infill tower typology, and the second a high-density courtyard typology. Each proposes a generic urban fabric as a starting point which is made specific through the application of algorithms driven by climate and site data; the results optimise building performance within a financially viable framework, while providing maximum programmatic flexibility for both public and private spaces. The resulting proposals show the potential of a “data architecture”, with digital techniques used to move beyond formal experimentation and towards an architecture regulated and shaped by the twin pressures of energy and finance.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Architecture
Science > School of the Built Environment > Urban Living group
ID Code:84819
Publisher:MIT Press

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