MVDRV is an (post)modern architectural and urban design firm well-known for their surrealistic interpretations of city living and fantastic visions for the future of urban design, but few of their conceptual designs see the bright light of day – or the cool layered lights of night, shown above in their winning design for a new city center in Korea. Gwanggyo Power Center is a fascinating vision of a future city lined with vertical vegetation.
“The diverse program has different needs for phasing, positioning and size. To facilitate these complex requirements, each building is designed as a series of rings. By pushing these rings outwards, every part of the program receives a terrace for outdoor life. Planting around the terraces with a floor to floor circulation system store water and irrigate the plants. The roofs of these hills and terraces are planted with box hedges creating a cohesive, vertical park. The greenery will improve the climate and ventilation, reduce energy and water usage. As a result, the city itself becomes a kind of landscape.”
The mixed use set of mounded towers are at once clearly artificial but also layered with organic material, each level having its own green terrace to the outside world and exposure to the surrounding environment, natural hills that ring the new development.
Live, work, shopping, entertainment and educational spaces are all built into the layers of this futuristic urban design. Exterior homes ring interior atrium spaces that are filled with institutional uses from stores and restaurants to museums and theater spaces.
On the lower levels of the design, thin layers give way to thicker ones packed with commercial uses and common spaces for public interaction.
The cultural life of this self-contained sustainable city concept is focused internally yet the structural forms of the rising buildings and the box-hedged terraces that ring them speak to and have views out on the surrounding natural landscapes, tying this new urban design to existing environmental formations.
“Call it responsibility or accountability,” says MVRDV. “Or simple popular demand. The rarefied world of design is embracing the environment as never before. Top architects are implementing revolutionary methods. Fashion and furniture mainstays are manufacturing products using sustainable materials. And luxury empires are establishing credos on issues their customers are still waking up to. Behind the scenes, trailblazing executives are taking big risks to make it all happen — beautifully.”