Imagine Trespa

Trends of the future





TANJONG PAGAR CENTRE | SOM. Photo Credits: Studio Periphery



Peter J. Kindel sees the future of design and architecture in the world’s biggest cities as one with fewer people driving around in cars, and a growing trend towards creating master plans that preserve the environmental characteristics of cities.

“I think there’s going to be a new emphasis on the quality of our public spaces as more people move into cities,” he says. In fact, 68 percent of the world’s population will be living in large cities by 2050, a recent UN study shows.

“As more people live in cities, there will be demand for higher quality public spaces,” Kindel says. “Everything from how they’re designed to the types of materials that are used to the types of sustainable characteristics that they have.”

Kindel is the West Coast Director of Urban Design and Planning for architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and has spent the last 25 years putting plans in place for some of the largest urban environments in the world. Strengthening places, not marginalizing them, is part of what he plans to do. One example that bears his touch is a rapidly growing city in Texas, U.S.A.

As more people live in cities, there will be demand for higher quality public spaces.

Peter J. Kindel, SOM

“Houston has a particular environment that should be preserved, and not only preserved, but incorporated into the design of the city. Chicago has a different environment, San Francisco has a different environment,” Kindel explains when referring to some of the largest cities in the U.S. “Each of these cities has a unique personality from an ecological standpoint. We think it’s important to design cities in a way that complements and strengthens those local ecologies, rather than diminishes them. That’s one big thing that cities will be incorporating in their future planning.”

Dealing with the challenges of nature, especially in coastal environments and cities with water management issues requires some creative thinking, Kindel offers. On one such project, completed in 2009 in Houston’s Texas Medical Center, a 675 acres development, Kindel helped create solutions to the area’s problems with rainwater and flooding.



Tomorrows urban areas will emphasis rail and recreational pathways.

Peter J. Kindel, SOM

“What we advocated at the Texas Medical Center was to redesign the Brays Bayou to be more accommodating of flooding and to design the campus in a way that the buildings would be protected from flooding through the design of the landscape, and the topography of the land,” Kindel says. He offered suggestions to help create an area that was flood resistant and more resilient. It’s the kind of thinking that also went into projects Kindel has worked on in China’s Pearl River Delta, in Jakarta, Hong Kong, and in Chicago.

In addition to trends in sustainability of land resources in future cities, there is also a move towards


pedestrian focused districts within these cities, Kindel says. Tomorrows urban areas will emphasis rail and recreational pathways. “The car will gradually become less of a dominant force in the design of cities,” he explains.

High-speed rail will be one of the reasons for the push away from automobiles. Kindel, who lives in San Francisco, says that while the US lags on implementing rapid rail travel, other countries have embraced it, and with the innovation in travel comes specific design parameters.

“You want to increase density around high speed rail stations and provide both commercial and residential development around high-speed rail stations, so it becomes easier for people to move around. They don’t have to rely on their cars,” according to Kindel.

REINVENT PARIS | SLA + Jacques Ferrier Architectures



SLA is a multidisciplinary architectural lab based in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Oslo. The firm employs a wide range of disciplines, from architects and city planners to biologists, sociologists and forest engineers. Through innovative use of nature, design, sustainability and technology, SLA creates modern, adaptable cities that inspire community and diversity, whilst challenging and expanding the boundaries of urban space, city planning and landscape architecture.

Nature is the focal point for all of SLA’s activities. In fact this is a fundamental principle: nature’s grown environment and the constructed and built environment are considered complementary, constituting a holistic architecture together. SLA has realized numerous projects in Denmark, Europe, Asia and Africa.

We want to take nature into cities to improve quality of life.

Kristoffer Holm Pedersen, SLA

“We started some 30 years ago as a more traditional architectural studio,” explains Kristoffer Holm Pedersen, Head of Communications and Business Development at SLA A/S. “However, today we mainly take care of city strategies and advise governments, and also work on master planning and public space design. However, we also work together with architects to create, for example, living walls and new façade solutions. Because complex problems sometimes require solutions that go beyond building we work with multidisciplinary teams.”

“We see a number of key trends affecting architecture and urban planning. Urbanisation is, of course, a global megatrend. This is placing ever-increasing pressure on cities, which is a universal challenge. Looking at this from our perspective, which is based on solving problems using natural principles and processes, we want to take nature into cities to improve quality of life as well as deal with practical issues.”



AMAGER BAKKE | SLA. Photo Credits: Ehrhorn Hummerston.

“Cities are getting bigger, but many are breaking down and inhabitants seem less happy. There are several causes, from social strain to climate change. We believe that the way our cities have been organized for the past 100 years has been too

focused on buildings, planning and efficiency, and not enough on natural aspects, which make cities more adaptable as well as better and healthier to live in–there is plenty of

scientific evidence for this. Introducing natural elements also makes the environment more human. This is a very important aspect. We’re not against tall buildings, for example, but these should only be introduced wherever they add quality.” “Sustainability shouldn’t be the end goal for cities, but the starting point. Introducing natural elements can do much more than simply make a city CO2-neutral. Green facades, for example, don’t just look good, but can add functionality. We’ve worked on introducing green facades near the polluted Paris peripheries ringroad, for example.

Sustainability shouldn’t be the end goal for cities, but the starting point.

Kristoffer Holm Pedersen, SLA

These capture pollution particles and turn them into plant fertilizer, whilst also serving as community gardens. We know that sitting inside and looking at nature improves your health, so can we create façades that maximise that positive effect?”

“Weather will become more extreme: hotter, colder, wetter… New cities will have to be designed to thrive under those conditions and all

existing structures will have to be adapted to that. That means robust designs and more flexible buildings. What’s more, rapid developments in building intelligence and IoT are fundamentally changing cities, and we need to make sure today’s designs take this into account. We’re trying to picture the cities, buildings and functionalities of the future, and design for these, even though we can’t precisely predict that future. We do know, however, that architects and urban planners mustn’t be dogmatic and must stop thinking in historical paradigms!”



“People” is the word chosen by Giancarlo Mazzanti to summarize the scope of architecture. His work, which spans over more than 25 years, is based on how architecture can foster new behaviours and transform its surrounding with a positive impact.

The name of his Colombian-based firm, El Equipo Mazzanti, gives insight into his multidisciplinary approach. “The idea of the name came by understanding that, since I began working, I have been teaming up not only with other architects and architecture offices but with professionals from different areas like artists, lawyers, biologists, designers, engineers,” he says.

The structure of El Equipo Mazzanti is not completely vertical. “In our projects we proceed taking into account everybody’s ideas and thoughts, so it is not only about multidisciplinarity which is basic for architecture, but also about understanding and involving all the actors around the project,” Mazzanti explains.

21 ATLANTICO KINDERGARTENS | El Equipo Mazzanti. Photo Credits: Alejandro Arango.


I have been
teaming up with
professionals from
different areas.

Giancarlo Mazzanti, El Equipo Mazzanti

He believes architecture has a key role in the construction of a competitive and sustainable society. Hence, his projects focus on promoting social change and the wellbeing of the community. For instance, El Equipo Mazzanti designed in 2011 a sports centre known as Forest of Hope. Located in Soacha, in the outskirts of Bogotá, Colombia, the space has become a place to practice sports as well as a social and educational meeting point for the community. The open structure is made of modules, allowing it to grow and to adapt according to the needs. It is also an icon, easily recognizable by everyone in the area.

Besides open systems, Mazzanti focuses on the creation of modular designs that can be reproduced and implemented taking into consideration topographic differences and the available plots. One such project is a system of 21 kindergartens made for Colombia’s Department of Atlántico. The design, based on one module that is then

combined, allows to present closed spaces as independent and self-contained. They can be used as classrooms but are also ideal for community activities. Once again, the disposition foresees the possibility to make changes in the future.

In each of his projects, communicating the architecture is as essential as learning from the community and those that will be involved with the structures. His team asks questions, investigates and experiments.

For Mazzanti, the value of public building is not the building itself but how it promotes the community life. “I do believe in ‘agritecture’ understanding it as selfsustainable architecture with which you can produce and participate in circular economies. I’ve found value in buildings capable of producing things, how can they be useful for the communities that are going to use them.” Each element of the building provides a space for interaction and relations. Therefore, architecture is a mechanism to foster these exchanges. When thinking about how urbanization and the building

MARINILLA EDUCATIONAL PARK | El Equipo Mazzanti. Photo Credits: Rodrigo Davila.

SANTA FE DE BOGOTÁ HOSPITAL | El Equipo Mazzanti. Photo Credits: Alejandro Arango.

To me it is interesting to explore through form and material how
to engage in new behaviours.

Giancarlo Mazzanti, El Equipo Mazzanti

industry will evolve over the next 60 years, Mazzanti points to the responsibility of working towards better and cleaner technologies. “Nowadays, construction is one of the most contaminating stages of the whole process,” he says.

An area of interest is to understand how new materials as well as traditional materials that can be used differently. “For example, when we did Santa Fe de Bogotá Hospital we experimented with the brick by putting it in tension and not in contraction, using it as curtain that allows different atmospheres in terms of light, ventilation and privacy. I find it very attractive to explore basic shapes and basic materials and challenge them with the new standards of efficiency; to me it is interesting to explore through form and material how to engage in new behaviours,” Mazzanti explains.

The impressive 12-floor building seamlessly connects the existing parts of the complex, giving it an organized flow

that helps patients navigate the hospital. The façade gives the people inside a relation with the surroundings as they can see the city and the nearby mountains.

El Equipo Mazzanti is known for being playful yet connected to the people and the landscape. “I think the office has been built itself by challenging ourselves and being risky. I will challenge young architects to start looking at architecture not as something fix but more as something that can evolve and be seen in different ways. My advice for them is to put in crisis everything that they are studying,” Mazzanti says.




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