Are cities evolv­ing faster than we can com­pre­hend?

Ac­cord­ing to P&T’s James Ab­bott, cities are chang­ing in ways that are in­creas­ingly hard to pre­dict thanks to ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy

Middle East Architect - - MARKET FOCUS - Im­ages cour­tesy of P&T Ar­chi­tects and En­gi­neers

Cities are now chang­ing in ways that ar­chi­tects, plan­ners and de­vel­op­ers are hav­ing a hard time un­der­stand­ing, said P&T’s di­rec­tor and ar­chi­tect James Ab­bott.

“The use of tech­nol­ogy in the way that we work, the way that we buy goods and ser­vices, and the way that we spend our free time is hav­ing a fun­da­men­tal im­pact on the eco­nomics of build­ing de­vel­op­ment, and ar­chi­tects should be at the fore­front of the re­sponse to these changes to en­sure that cities can con­tinue to de­velop with a rich mix of uses,” he said. “This would en­able self-con­tained com­mu­ni­ties, dis­tricts and neigh­bour­hoods to de­velop within their greater lim­its.”

While tech­nol­ogy pro­vides the tools for de­sign, with com­put­ers and soft­ware be­com­ing more pow­er­ful, com­plex and adapt­able, de­sign­ers have had to re­alise more am­bi­tious projects.

“There are al­ways up­sides and down­sides,” Ab­bott said,

“and the dan­ger with all new tech­nol­ogy is that it leads rather than as­sists the de­sign. Fun­da­men­tal goals and ob­jec­tives are rel­e­gated to sec­ond place in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.”

Ab­bott noted that cur­rent trends for mixed-use projects in­clude de­vel­op­ers want­ing in­creased in­te­gra­tion of dif­fer­ent uses within sin­gle build­ings or de­vel­op­ments, as well as flex­i­bil­ity in the use of build­ings dur­ing the de­sign stage, con­struc­tion stage, and dur­ing the life of the build­ing after it’s been con­structed.

“This is chal­leng­ing be­cause the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment in which au­thor­i­ties and ar­chi­tects work rarely, if ever, makes this level of flex­i­bil­ity easy or even pos­si­ble at all,” said Ab­bott. “On rare oc­ca­sions un­for­tu­nately, build­ings are built at great ex­pense to all in­volved, and usu­ally for rea­sons that ap­peared per­fectly jus­ti­fi­able at the time, that never re­ally meet the eco­nomic and so­cial re­quire­ments of their lo­ca­tion. Such build­ings be­come un­wanted and unloved land­marks.”

P&T has re­cently re­vealed a de­sign for Dubai’s Com­merCity, an up­com­ing mixed-use de­vel­op­ment that Ab­bott said re­flects the trends cur­rently hap­pen­ing in the sec­tor, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing de­sign tech­nol­ogy.

“The whole de­vel­op­ment has been planned with a sim­ple and ex­tremely flex­i­ble plan­ning strat­egy that al­lows for the de­vel­op­ment to be adapted as eas­ily as pos­si­ble over its en­tire life­span ac­cord­ing to chang­ing trends in mar­ket con­di­tions, and end-user and com­mu­nity re­quire­ments,” he said.

“The de­sign has been de­vel­oped us­ing the lat­est tech­nolo­gies, but it has not been driven by tech­nol­ogy. We feel that the most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions with re­gards to tech­nol­ogy is that the de­sign al­lows, as far as it is pos­si­ble to pre­dict, for the adop­tion of fu­ture chang­ing tech­nolo­gies that may im­pact our lives. The im­pact of au­tonomous trans­port sys­tems on the site and within the lo­gis­tics fa­cil­i­ties and the op­por­tu­nity for the in­cor­po­ra­tion of large scale re­newal en­ergy gen­er­a­tion from so­lar en­ergy are just two of the many trends in tech­nol­ogy that are be­ing con­sid­ered as the project de­vel­ops.”

Sky Park in Hong Kong by P&T

Guiyang Jinyang Golden Cross by P&T

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.