Urban rendering

‘Future Hybrid High-rise Commune’

Material Studies



Grand Challenge: Sustainable Built Environment

Research Team 

Principal Investigators:
Michael Budig
Oliver Heckmann

Research Assistants:
Markus Matthias Hudert
Amanda Ng Qi Boon

Lynette Cheah, ESD/SUTD 
Colin Yip, Arup Singapore

Richard De Neufville


‘Future Hybrid High-rise Commune’

Selected for the Singapore Venice Biennale Pavillion 2020 ‘To Gather’ 

The design study proposes alternative models for inclusive high-rise housing that could be applied as generic templates across multiple contexts. The poly-valent flexibility will enable different forms of occupation: User-driven scenarios will organically evolve, can be short- or longterm and easily shift from one setting to another: Multiple forms of co-habitation emerge next to work-live scenarios, co-working offices and workshops. Project-based occupations hosting collaborators are neighbours of communal spheres for shared activities and mutual support. Interface spheres negotiate adaptive boundaries between public and private, with domains expanding into each other if desired.

The optimistic application of digital platforms is an opportunity to avoid urban anonymity by merging physical and digital encounter, to experience the urban vibrancy of vertical communities both physically and digitally. The vision is to complement buildings with a virtualmirror, taking digital representations of its spatial structure as a canvas for interactive and mutually negotiated occupations and collaborations, for the sharing of spaces, expertise, commodities and service.

The generic pattern synergizes essential, otherwise often conflicting thematic pairs of urban practice: Local & Global – Physical & Digital – Living & Working – Public & Private – Producing & Consuming – Temporal & Permanent – Socialising & Withdrawing – Sharing & Keeping – Determined & Bottom-up – Formal & Informal. 

In a participatory design exercise based on the polyvalent standard level layout groups of students formulated joint concepts of living together as neighbours, to then take on client- and designer roles for the individual units to express and accommodate individual conceptions of co-habitation.