Sponsored / Architecture

How can we build “feel good” cities?

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Bac Ninh City Hall

More than a manufacturer of city-friendly cars, smart sees itself as a concept born to shake up the status quo. The outlet for the brand’s message smart magazine, which describes itself as “a place for stories about visionaries and creative urbaneers, about projects and initiatives that help to improve life in the city.”

It’s a world which reaches far, far beyond cars. smart magazine has positioned itself as an expert on experimental urban architecture with a suite of articles on vertical gardening, a concept which frees up space in busy cities and has hugely positive environmental affects at the same time. Win/win! We’ve rounded up three articles from smart magazine, which will tell you everything you need to know about vertical gardening and why it has the power to keep our cities clean.

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The Met, Bangkok
Photo: Patrick Bingham-Hall

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Stefano Boeri, Architetti Liuzhou

WOHA: “The basic responsibility of a designer is to do good”

Ian Hsieh spoke to Singapore-based architecture practice WOHA about its eye-catching and unconventional response to poor environmental conditions in cities. Since 1994, Richard Hassell and Wong Mun Summ have been looking at ways to improve lives through design. “The basic responsibility of a designer is to do good,” says Richard. “Do good ethically, good urbanistically, good climatically and environmentally, good socially. And that being good should bring benefits to everybody – the developer, the public, the end user.”

WOHA’s projects such as Skyville @ Dawson – a project which brings together 960 apartments, 500 car parks, a childcare centre and a shopping plaza with four vertically stacked sky villages across three interconnected blocks — become integrated mini-cities, which simultaneously encourage the development of self-sufficient cities which WHOA terms “macro-architecture micro-urbanism”.

Considering structures of steel and glass as detrimental to the mental health of the user, one of the architecture practise’s core ideas is to make buildings that breathe. WOHA designs not for the here and now, but for the cities of the future.

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Permeable Lattice City, WOHA

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Park Royal, Singapore
Photo: Patrick Bingham-Hall

From a visionary farm in Shanghai to the vertical park of Bac Ninh

smart magazine took its readers on a whistle-stop tour of this year’s most verdant vertical gardens, farms, and planted facades.

In Shanghai, a 100-hectare acreage spot near the city’s centre and airport will be transformed into Sunqiao Urban Agriculture District by architecture practise Sasaki. This new kind of farm will grow leafy veg on vertical posts under LED light fuelled by rain water and fish waste from the system’s water reservoirs and the scheme incorporates museums and educational institutions as well as restaurants, shops, and even a marketplace selling locally grown produce.

Elsewhere in northern Vietnam, the city of Bac Ninh is to be treated to a new, relocated city hall designed by Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia. “The city is like an urban jungle. And we need to be more connected with the earth and the trees,” the architect commented, and, unsurprisingly, the new city hall looks like a vertical park with each level of the two touching high rise buildings surrounded by a belt of green.

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Bac Ninh Vertical Garden

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Park Royal, Singapore

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Green architecture, Singapore
Photo: Patrick Bingham-Hall

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School of Arts, Singapore
Photo: Patrick Bingham-Hall