PoroCity - Opening up Solidity

Session: Track C: An Update on Innovation: Old Challenges, New Ideas

Jan KnikkerProject image

Jan Knikker
Partner and Director of Strategy & Development, MVRDV
Rotterdam

Urban sprawl is damaging our planet, and urban density is a solution. Yet, monotonous Hong Kong density is unhealthy and damaging to humans. How to combine suburban life quality with dense cities? MVRDV and its think tank, The Why Factory, conducted research “PoroCity,” in which community building and vertical villages reconsider the current model of the tall building. The research was scripted and led to hundreds of tower typologies that were analyzed based on their social and vertical urbanist qualities.

This research was then tested and put into practice when MVRDV was asked to design Valley, a mixed-use building with human-scale architecture in Amsterdam’s Central Business District. At the last open site in the area, its location between infrastructure, sporting fields, a residential neighborhood and the business center, the building had to take in all the qualities of the surrounding and make up for lack of urban quality.

The now-realized building, with its extremely fractured façade, offering outside spaces and small gardens, is a test to combine suburban lifestyle with an inner-city location. Many said it would not be possible to realize a building that is so different, but its realization was only possible due to parametric architecture.