“THE DENSER OUR CITIES BE­COME, THE MORE IM­POR­TANT IT BE­COMES TO THINK ABOUT THE SPA­CES WE CAN CRE­ATE IN THEM”

Singapore Tatler Homes - - STYLE -

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The CCTV head­quar­ters in Bei­jing, China

BUILD­ING WITH PUR­POSE

Based pri­mar­ily in Bei­jing for nearly 20 years, the Asia re­gion con­tin­ues to in­spire and shape Scheeren’s work. “In the past two decades, there was re­ally an in­cred­i­ble mo­men­tum in Asia—so much was hap­pen­ing at an in­cred­i­ble speed,” he re­calls. “The mag­ni­tude at which cities and en­tire coun­tries changed was both breath­tak­ing and full of op­por­tu­nity. In­stead of build­ing as quickly as pos­si­ble, the time has come to re­ally in­ves­ti­gate how we can build in a more re­spon­si­ble way to cre­ate a more sus­tain­able model for our ur­ban lives.” Rather than con­stantly de­mol­ish­ing old struc­tures and build­ing anew, Scheeren hopes to see more adap­tive-re­use projects that cel­e­brate a city’s built her­itage while adapt­ing these build­ings for the fu­ture. “I think it’s im­por­tant that we develop strate­gies about how we can reimag­ine ex­ist­ing struc­tures that will not only bring them into the present, but also for­ward into the fu­ture,” he says. His re­cent project in Frank­furt, to be com­pleted later this year, is an ex­am­ple. By in­sert­ing panoramic floors into the ex­ist­ing con­crete struc­ture, the firm will con­vert the Bru­tal­ist­style of­fice tower from the 1970s into a res­i­den­tial tower with lofty, light-filled spa­ces. When asked about his am­bi­tions for the fu­ture, Scheeren is op­ti­mistic about the ways in which ar­chi­tec­ture can help im­prove the ur­ban land­scape. “If a build­ing can give the city some­thing it didn’t have be­fore—whether it’s a great space to live in or a mem­o­rable place where a lot of things hap­pen—i think that’s one of the best things we can achieve,” he says. “For me, that is a per­sonal achieve­ment.”

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