The demand for housing in urban areas is growing and growing. The magic word here is redensification. Roofs are being raised, parking spaces converted into building plots, vacant rooms are being re-used and gaps filled. It is precisely when gaps between buildings are filled that elegant and imaginative buildings are created. We present a few interesting examples.

[Translate to English:]


Photos: Patrycia Choiej, Yurika Kono

Stair miracle: detached house in Tokyo

In 2019, a good 38.5 million people will be crowding into the greater Tokyo area, of which about 9.6 million will be in the city's core area. This means that a quarter of the Japanese population lives on just under four percent of the country's surface area. This makes it all the more astonishing when single-family homes are repeatedly built on the smallest of footprints, such as the Waseda House by Suzuko Yamada Architects - a tall, narrow house for a married couple with two children. The modern vertical building was erected in an old residential area of Tokyo, not very far from the lively Waseda student district. The heart of the family home is a large spiral staircase, which also serves as an extension of various areas. The stair design is based on the staircase designed by Lina Bo Bardi for the art museum in Bahia, Brazil. In Tokyo, however, steel was chosen as the material instead of solid wood. The wide steps also serve as additional floor space and invite you to sit and relax. Thanks to several skylights, it also functions as a covered terrace and extends individual rooms as a table or chair. A very smart solution for optimum use of space - and comfortable for the residents.

[Translate to English:] Collage


Photos: Juan Francisco Díaz Hidalgo, Jack Gisel

Generation meeting: All under one roof in Guadalajara

The Spanish city of Guadalajara is the fourth largest city in La Mancha in terms of population, and is one of the cities that has expanded most in recent years due to its proximity to Madrid. It is less than 60 km from Madrid, about 20 minutes by express train. In the middle of the centre of the growing city, the demolition of an old building left a gap in the building, which the architectural firm Taller Abierto skilfully exploited. Here too, the clients were married couples with two children. Due to the age of the family members who wanted to live in the house together, three residential units were to be created within the building shell, which would ensure both cohabitation and a certain independence. Each residential unit was assigned a floor, with the living rooms facing south and the bedrooms facing north. Each floor has a large sunny outdoor space: an inner courtyard on the ground floor and two large terraces on the upper floors. To make the most of them, a series of pergolas have been designed to provide shade in the summer. This is a solution that spans the generations, with a successful mixture of cohabitation and self-sufficiency.

[Translate to English:] Bildcollage: Architektonische Skizze, Skyline von Singapur, Verschachteltes Hochhaus


Photos: Jérémy Binard, Mike Enerio

Nesting: Vertical settlement in Singapore

Singapore is growing and growing - but because of its island location, the city cannot simply be expanded into the surrounding area. Within a few decades, a developing country has become a banking metropolis and a popular tourist attraction. To cope with the resulting rush, land has been piled up for years, for example for the major international airport Changi. But of course, construction work is also being carried out at higher altitudes in order to make optimum use of the limited space available. A particularly intelligent version of the high-rise development is the "Interlace" (Ole Scheeren / OMA). With a gross floor area of around 170,000 sqm, the development will offer 1,040 residential units of various sizes with extensive outdoor areas and a dignified landscape design. In this case, the high-rise buildings were simply laid out: 31 apartment blocks, each six storeys high, were stacked in a hexagonal arrangement to form eight open courtyards - a vertical village with cascading sky gardens and private and public roof terraces. An innovative alternative to the skyscrapers otherwise common in Singapore.

[Translate to English:]


Photos: Carlos Valenzuela, Nitin Badjatia

Defiant skyscraper: Awarded tower in Mexico City

The capital of Mexico, Mexico City, is the country's most important economic and cultural centre. The urban agglomeration with more than 15 million people is one of the largest in the world. The unbridled growth of the city and its satellite towns, partly due to the massive influx of destitute rural populations, has led to housing shortages, among many other problems. On the one hand, illegal shanty towns are emerging, on the other hand, spectacular high-rise buildings are being constructed. One of these was awarded the International Highrise Award in 2018. A prize which, among other things, is intended to highlight innovative high-rise buildings worldwide as an increasingly important form of construction in a time of increasing urban densification. The unusual office tower "Torre Reforma" by architect Benjamín Romano initially appears defiant and closed, but the south-west façade of the triangular tower is airy and reveals a spectacular view of the rapidly growing metropolis. Although the tower, unlike most others in the region, was built solidly, it has already withstood a medium earthquake. An impressive building in an unusual form.

Making optimum use of free space - with emco

Due to the increasing density of cities, it is becoming more and more important to plan in a space-saving way and to use existing rooms cleverly - also within buildings. With the ASIS function modules from emco, bathrooms can be equipped in a particularly functional and versatile way. The modules fit flush and compactly into the wall and create individually designed storage space without taking up much space.

Discover current magazine articles