The Vertical Village 3 in Hamburg, is on display as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA Hamburg 2013). Spanning an incredibly broad range of media and work, from urbanism to public art, the exhibition features 20 individual spaces which tell the story of, and theoretically frame, the ZhongShan Vertical Village, an urban regeneration scheme designd by MVRDV to prevent monotonous housing blocks from replacing the traditional urban fabric of the city, as is currently happening across Asia.
Under the title ‘The Vertical Village – Individual, Informal, Intense Taipei’ the exhibition explores the rapid urban transformation of East Asia, the qualities of urban villages, and the potential to develop much denser, vertical settlements as a radical alternative to the identical block-like architecture of standardised units and their effect on city life. The exhibition includes newly commissioned films, interviews, and public works of art, centred around the City of Taipei’s urban regeneration scheme ‘Urban Regeneration Station’ (URS) which has successfully redeveloped seven disused properties into a wide variety of public facilities, cultural programs and spaces for artists and entrepreneurs. The open-source software The HouseMaker© and the VillageMaker© are also included in the exhibition. Visitors can design their ideal house and compose their own Vertical Village with these parametric packages. In the main courtyard of the historic Hamburg Museum an interactive sculpture of the Vertical Village is exhibited.
Installation artists from Taiwan have also contributed work connected to the theme of the Vertical Village: ‘Arcadia in the Back Alley’ by Hsie Ying-Chun, ‘City Cabin’ by Hsiao Yu-Chi and ‘Whispers of the City’ by artist collective Interbreeding Field. Along with the exhibition a catalogue of ‘the Vertical Village’ will be published in German and English. The 100 page volume contains the extensive research that took place, made easily understood with countless colour illustrations.
The pressure of rural to urban migration on East Asian cities has lead to increasing urbanization and densification over the last few decades. It has made way for the construction of gigantic buildings, mostly towers, blocks and slabs. A ‘Block Attack’ that gradually replaces and scrapes away the more traditional low rise, small scale, often ‘lighter’ types of architecture and urbanism: the individual houses of Taipei, the hutongs of Beijing, the small wooden houses of Tokyo, or the villages of Singapore and other East Asian cities.
Can we imagine a new model for the development of East Asian cities? Can these areas be densified in such a way that the qualities of the traditional village are preserved and enriched? The Vertical Village exhibition offers an alternative to the ‘Block Attack’, a contemporary Vertical Village designed by MVRDV – a three-dimensional community that brings personal freedom, diversity, flexibility and neighbourhood life back into East Asian cities. This theory is tested with a case study on a site in Taipei's ZhongShan District.
And what could the Vertical Village concept – in principle developed as proposal for the future development of Asian cities – contribute to the discussion in a European context? Could exhibiting the Vertical Village concept in Hamburg thus help to liberate our sometimes limited European cities, to add more diversity, programmatic richness and flexibility to our cities, and to allow for more individual and collective initiatives and creative development models?
- Design team
- Strategy & Development
- MVRDV, Rotterdam, NL
- The Why Factory, Delft, NL
- The Berlage Institute, Delft, NL
- Jut Foundation for Arts and Architecture, Taipei, TW
- Tamkang University, New Taipei, TW
- National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, TW
- Tunghai University, Taichung, TW
- Fu Jen University, New Taipei, TW
- Tarumanagara University, Jakarta, ID