samedi 27 septembre 2008

# Resisting the Generic Empire by Yicheng Pan (AA)

Project in AA's studio 6 led by Christopher Lee

Presentation Text in Typological Formations. Renewable building types and the city (AA publications)

In Singapore, urban planning projects are subject to stringent control by the state. This project resists the formation of a state-engineered "Generic Empire" by inverting the skyscraper to provide a typological urban framework that cultivates difference through the coexistence and participation of multiple types and skateholders.
Marina Bay is 139 hectares area of reclaimed land that has remained barren for a decade because of the economic crisis in the region. It was relentlessly promoted by the former goverment, to no avail; now a new political leadership is trying a different approach, relaunching the original failed masterplan for the site in a repackaged form, complete with a series of iconic high-rise structures that promise to generate a spectacular skyline. The masterplan proliferates a single building type and stubbornly resists the participation of all other scales, types or investments. The simple homogenous plane of regular blocks can only be occupied by mega-corporations and skyscrapers. As a consequence, the collective public ground plane is forsaken. Lacking the flexibility to involve local etablishment and bussinesses in the development of smaler building types, the site passively awaits huge investments by global corporations.
To subvert the endless proliferation of these skyscrapers across the city grid, this project makes strategic use of the overt political control of urbanism in Singapore. To enforce difference and freedom, it inverts the skyscraper's massing, forcing it to relinquish its control over the ground plane and make way for a multi-layered urban plan. The enables the immediate activation of smaller building types and creates multiple "clustered" volumes that encourages partnership between both private and public bodies.
Departing from the state sponsored, postcard image of a fantasy skyline, the new urban plan of inverted skyscrapers presents an image of perpetual activity, creating an array of differential developmental scales that are less dependent on global economic cycles. Development can now incrementally begin to form a continuously shaded open space, providing the necessary level of comfort to sustain sociability in Singapore's hot and humid tropical climate.
This project challenges and reconciles issues of control and flexibility in urban planning. It proposes that the best to sustain difference and participation is not to relinquish control, but conversely, to intensify it.

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