Vertical Village

Individual, Informal, Intense

Research project, design studios, workshops, exhibitions, lectures, book, software

In collaboration with MVRDV we envision a new model for the development of Asian cities. Their idea is The Vertical Village, a three-dimensional community intended to bring back personal autonomy, diversity, flexibility and neighbourhood life to cities in Asia.

The project started in 2009, with the Taiwanese  JUT foundation for arts and architecture. JUT asked us together with MVRDV to develop a new edition of the ‘Museum of Tomorrow’, a temporary museum dealing with the future of Taipei.  For this, we focused of the Asian urban village and how this rich urban form disappears under the increasing pressure of urbanization.

As a result of demographic and economic forces, cities in Asia are undergoing rapid change. Traditional urban villages, which formed the core of the cities for centuries, are being replaced at a merciless pace by uniform tower blocks. In tracking the development of nine very distinct Asian cities, this research provides insight into the evolution, current situation and future of these urban villages. From here, we developed an alternative: The Vertical Village.

The Vertical Village is a vision of a bottom-up residential development, which evolutionary grows and changes over time. It aims to combine the freedom of suburban architecture and the social coherence of village life with the density of the city. The Vertical Village knows two key elements: One is the HouseMaker©, an application, which allows the village settler to design and build his dream house himself.  The other is the ‘VillageMaker©, an interactive, dynamic planning software, which replaces masterplans and safeguards the qualities of each house in the growing and changing Vertical Village.

The first stage of project was developed in a series of research projects, design studios and workshops, in Delft, Rotterdam, Taipei and Taichung. It led to the publication “The Vertical Village” and the exhibition with the same name, which was on show at the Chung Shan Creative Hub, in Taipei, Taiwan between October 8th 2011 and January 8th 2012.

From there, the exhibition travelled to South Korea, where it was shown at the Total Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul. Here, we worked with students and teachers of the Yongsan University on a next step of the Village Maker. Equal Books Publishers Seoul publish the Korean edition of ‘the Vertical Village’ catalogue, with added and updated to the English and Chinese edition.

In the summer of 2013, the exhibition was shown at the Hamburg Museum, presenting the work for the first time in Europe. Again, the research was extended with a series of models and the third update of the VillageMaker.