This fall, Professor of Practice Carlos Zapata led a M.ARCH Graduate Research Studio on the Dynamic Highrise.
The 2014-15 High-rise Studio focuses on the way that tall buildings meet the ground, with “ground” understood a) as a place for structural support, b) as a natural or built surface that visually complements the building, c) as the enclosure of services and infrastructure, d) as the place for arrival, etc. In essence, ground is a multi-level zone where the building interacts with its larger environment. The discussion was guided by program, context, and by the latest developments in sustainability, including the concept of self-sufficient structures.
A wide range of case studies were analyzed, from tall buildings that are sited in dense cities to landmark skyscrapers that were designed in conjunction with a customized ground plane to set them apart from the surrounding context. We studied a variety of ground conditions including roofs of existing structures, water, conventional sites, landmarks structures used as the bases of towers, underground transportation systems, etc. In addition to architectural precedent, we sought inspiration in offshore oil drilling platforms, science fiction movies, built and unbuilt structures, art, and futuristic writings.