Urban density poses challenging questions and investigations for architects who are addressing housing solutions for an escalating global population. Massive, anonymous housing blocks are replacing smaller-scale dwellings, and regional building traditions are yielding to the bland homogeneity that has plagued large-scale housing for years.
MVRDV, a Rotterdam-based architecture firm, has explored various alternatives to multiple-unit housing blocks on a number of different scales. Vital to any of its projects is the integration of local traditions and individual identities. One of these experiments is Didden Village, a rooftop house extension for a family in Rotterdam. The architects created a “mini-village” on top of an existing residence, with bedrooms as individual “houses,” connected by a series of mini-plazas and enclosed by a parapet wall. The whole vertical extension has a sky-blue polyurethane coating, giving it a distinctive identity while adding color and life to the neighborhood skyline.
The architects applied the same methodology on a larger scale in VerticalVillage, a temporary installation in Taipei, Taiwan, which uses existing buildings as “hosts” for extensions of different typologies, materials, and forms. The architects observed and used as their model the informal structures built on rooftops in crowded Chinese cities such as Taipei and Beijing. They expand the living space of the occupant in a highly personalized way and provide dense, socially connected communities with an overall diversity of structure and design. A kit of parts categorized by building, material, typology, landscape, and fence is the organizing principle of VerticalVillage’s 3,300-square-meter (35,500-square-foot) site. Within these categories, the intention is to mix and match so that individual expression and spatial requirements become the primary parts of the equation. As colorful as it is charmingly haphazard, VerticalVillage gives hope for an informal and regional urbanism in the future.Location: taiwan, the netherlands