Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Unpredictable Verticality: Paradigm of a Vertical City

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posted on 2021-12-08, 08:43 authored by Lai Siaw Kwan, Joel

With the densification of urban cities, our urban concrete jungles are populated by self-supporting and monolithic building blocks such as high rises and skyscrapers, connected only by the ground plan that they sit on. Although the buildings of today’s cities are getting taller, the architecture of today’s cities is still being developed on a two-dimensional template, where ground is the base plane and tall buildings remain independent to one another. This has created a segregation between the claimed internal spaces of our built environment and the public domain of architecture within the vertical realm of our urban fabric.  This thesis speculates what vertical architecture of the future could be like if we challenge the conventional perception of our claimed vertical space, proposing an alternative while exploring the idea of a three-dimensional urban fabric. The research also encapsulates exploration of future technologies that may aid in the feasibility of this type of vertical architecture.  Utilizing a design-led research approach, design experiments were employed to explore different ideologies surrounding futuristic alternatives in approaching vertical architecture. The research explores the proposition through design experiments of three different scales, namely, an installation exploring connectivity through abstraction, a ‘mid-scale’ vertical residence and a vertical city at a public scale. This research was predominantly influenced by the theoretical works of Yona Friedman, Nat Chard, Lebbeus Woods and Cedric Price. Their works were analyzed and merged to generate a hybrid concept for an alternate utilization of vertical space.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Experimental Design Research

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Twose, Simon