Vertical Life

Vertical Life

Urban Qualities in Future High-rise Buildings

aac Workshop, Hamburg, Germany
14th February to 9th March 2018 on Campus
Rainvilleterrasse in Hamburg

This workshop is under the guidance of
Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Dipl.-Ing. Meinhard von Gerkan and
Dipl.-Ing. Architect Stephan Schütz


The Utopia of the vertical city has forever kept planners and utopians under its spell. From the Tower of Babel to the production designs of “Blade Runner” this vision is recurrently conjured up, the architect and urban planner Yona Friedman visualised comparable ideas in his designs “Utopia” and the “Ville spatiale” in the 60s.

The adaption of these ideas for solving the existing challenge of increasing concentration on large cities and the resulting global megacities has produced a pronounced high-rise boom worldwide. These high-rises, in parts emblematic, offer maximum living space on a minimum footprint. Newly developed concepts for multifunctional high-rises attempt to reach urban qualities to maximise the amenity value and quality of life for its users and residents. Unresolved, however, are issues of vertical densification, which do not loose urban values and neighbourliness as they are found in traditional urban residential quarters with their heterogeneous variety of functions and uses.

The Chinese metropolis Shenzhen in the South of China is currently regarded as one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Its current population amounts to approx. 12.5 million, making Shenzhen the fourth-largest city on mainland China. Over the past 30 years, the city has developed from a small costal town to a modern metropolis, representing the political reforms, the social change and the technological advances of China. The workshop will focus on the design of a hybrid high-rise for Shenzhen, which as a three-dimensional urban structure shall translate urban qualities into the vertical, by means of a functional mix of public and private functions, of open and closed spaces as well as urban and green elements. With spatial variety, public circulation and communicative open spaces and taking the traditional values of the grown city into account, a current reinterpretation of the Utopia of the “Vertical City” shall be developed.

Download Prospectus