Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Collective Tower in Tripoli, Lebanon by Adrian Lahoud Architect using Generative Components by Bentley
April 8th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
This project addresses the problem of co-existence between different city forms; specifically small-scaled, fine-grained building fabric and towers.
In many cities in the Middle East, with little or no provision for heritage protection, the potential for co-existence between the traditional city core and new development is impossible. A tabula-rasa approach to the context is typical. In order to actualize the real estate potential of centrally located sites, they are stripped bare and prepared for generic forms of high-density development.
In the place of the traditional urban core, a generic application of towers on podiums replaces the fine grain fabric that once existed. On the other hand, in the mere retention of these traditional sites and their conversion to photo props made for the consumption of tourists we face another problem; the reproduction of history as a commodity.
If both possibilities are equally problematic, how do we begin to acknowledge the need for urban transformation and yet retain the potential of co-existing –though different, regimes of city form? Simply reducing the footprint of a tower has little purchase in this context because of the reduction in floor area that comes with it.
This project explores the possibility of a flexible triple support structure that transforms to accommodate the myriad of small, variable site conditions that are characteristic of fine-grained sites in older cities. By conceiving of the collective structure according to a bundle of three smaller towers that are joined in the middle, structural stability can be married to high density in a low scale existing context.
By joining the towers at the middle, two significant changes are introduced, firstly, the public podium level occurs at the mid-rise of the tower, while the ground condition – now shaded by the volume above can take on a more active public character.
The project is designed as the collection of a series of semi-autonomous scalar problems. Each problem registers in the building in different ways. The idea is to develop a generic and repeatable strategy at each register.
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