High Intensity Urban Order

Patrik Schumacher
Zaha Hadid Architects, London

Density via high-rise structures remains a primary agenda in our era of urban concentration. It is crucial to understand the societal forces that drive concentration: the communication requirements of Post-Fordist Network Society. In contrast to prior Fordism/Modernism, urban intensification is now a matter of communicative intensification rather than dense packing. Current agglomeration economies are economies of scope rather than scale. This has consequences for the high-rise typology. The standard typology belongs to the bygone Fordist paradigm of segregation and repetition, resisting complexity. The volume is generated by extrusion: the multiplication of identical floor-plates, surrounding a core that blocks communication across the individual floor-plate and between floor plates. As space programs differentiate with soaring internal and external communication needs, the solid central core becomes more and more an obstacle to navigation and communication. This core needs to be exploded and replaced by navigation voids that turn towers from shelves into vertical streets.

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