Inverted Skyscraper Typology

The past decades have seen the creation of major cities from scratch, at break-neck speed, through the endless proliferation of Skyscrapers. Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dubai, Singapore are mere specimens of such a milieu that is set to perpetuate and grow.The mass production of this ubiquitous and definitive building type, that investors, planners, and government addictively rely on to achieve both market efficiency and the “landmark” effect in any new urban development, clearly exposes the very paralysis and inability of the state to imagine a new city that is not populated by high-rises.

However, the insistence of such an ambition consequentially culminates in an inflexible urban plan that hinges on “uncertain” investments, while indefinitely postponing and denying the participation of mid/small-range, often local, businesses from activating the site with more economical building types.

The total abdication of control for the laissez faire agglomeration of skyscrapers is no longer the solution. Instead, control should be localized and intensified typologically to give the “city” different types of buildings.

To subvert the control of the skyscrapers over the ground plane from its endless proliferation, the strategy is to invert the skyscrapers’ massing through the cultivation of multiple urban plans within the skyscraper type, hence not only releasing the ground plane for the immediate activation of a variety of smaller building types, but also creating multiple “clustered” volumes for increased partnership of public and private establishments.

The project resists the formation of a generic empire, a city entirely submitted to the discretions of the corporations, by providing an urban typological framework – The Inverted Skyscraper Typology, is committed to the cultivation of difference, through the coexistence and participation of multiple types and stakeholders.


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  • Katerina Vaseva
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