Housing and High-Rise Building: a Longstanding Love-Hate Story
Author: Luca Reale
Affiliation: Sapienza - University of Rome
Climate change and the global pandemic seem to be pushing urbanization in opposite directions: the opposition between densification and distancing could open up, in the coming years, an increasingly frequent collision between the conflicting demands of climate and public health issues. However, the push for new concentration, after several decades in which lowand medium-density settlement patterns were favored, is now seen not only as a necessity on the urban level, but also as a fertile architectural design opportunity. In the housing towers of modernity, the living experience has often clashed with the monofunctionality of buildings and the problem of the loss of any relationship with the street and the ground. Many architects since the 1960s have attempted to bring some common spaces, intermediate between public and private into elevation, but this has often been insufficient to transfer urban vitality within a residential building and ensure the connection of housing to the ground and street-life. Today there is an attempt to recover the "streets on the air" through the Hong Kong lesson of an integrated and connected city, or there is a return to experimenting on the urban block and Medium-rise blocks by attempting to simultaneously generate high-density and human scale, better connecting people with the urban ground and with each other. Finally, we try to prefigure a new kind of multilevel city, in which a common dimension of many functions related to living is shared in spaces distributed along the height of high-rise buildings, also taking inspiration from the spontaneous power of informal associations that teach us to foster relationships among people, variety and flexibility of spaces, leading the experience of living back to an idea of domesticity thus overcoming the modern idea of the machine city
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