The Wall Effect

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Olivier Ottevaere, Principal of Double O, Assistant Professor at University of Hong Kong

Program: Startup Hub
Site: East Coast Parkway flyover adjacent to Marina Bay
Scale: 10 000 sqm


Asia has become, for some time now, the largest producer and consumer of concrete and steel, fuelled by many urbanization projects. Yet its construction trade remains fairly traditional compared with other technologically advanced sectors (i.e. automobile, IT, etc.). Building structures still adopt for the most part a rudimentary cast-in-place skeleton frame, now ubiquitous and spanning a range of scales and architecture programs.

A column-slab system, once intended as a flexible structure that would support individualization of living spaces, has a century later promoted the reverse: mainly creating an order characterized by homogeneity based on the repetition of the same living units across building scales. This column-slab diagram, referred as the Dom-ino protocol (Domus and Innovation), came hand in hand with the technological advancement of reinforced concrete at the time.

With the recent introduction of new materials in Architecture (i.e. composites), a search for a new diagram seems now overdue.
The studio will explore concepts for lightweight tensile structures using composite materials that are capable to formulate new organizations of space. We will seek for high-performing structures that engage vigorously with its materials properties, that are more sustainable than existing models and that are environmentally integrated to its immediate context.