Urban Shelf presents an alternative approach to designing urban neighbourhoods

A new concept called Urban Shelf has been revealed at the Smart Skyscraper Summit, presenting alternative approach to designing urban neighbourhoods.

The first spatial module derived from the Urban Shelf concept is the Modul Hashtag, presented by vice-president at Schindler Transit Management Group, John Mizon.

Developed by Schindler AH and Studio Schwitalla, the model is of an urban neighbourhood constructed around a central courtyard in a hashtag pattern.

Comprised of multiple levels, the courtyard is surrounded by intersecting platforms with streets and allocated space for residential housing, commercial offices and retail, as well as public functions such as parks.

Movement throughout the communal structure is accessed through a central ramp that supports the use of micro-mobility vehicles. In this design, elevators serve a dual function as vertical access points, as well as structure components.

The origin of the concept stemmed from a research case study undertaken by the urban think tank of ETH Zurich’s Architecture and Urban Design Department.

Sponsored by Schindler Transit Management Group, the project focused on Torre David, a 45-story skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela, which was occupied by 750 families following the abandonment of the structure by the original developer.

Focusing on an unusual case of the informal vertical community, the case study became the basis of the book Torre David, which won Financial Times’ Best Book of the Year 2012 in Architecture and Design, as well as the Golden Lion at 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.

A number of viable sites for implementation of Urban Shelf have already been identified in Brazil, China, India and Germany. Originally conceived to tackle bottom-up developments typically associated in lower-income community developments, the concept also boasts application within developed top-down environments.

“We found something very important about this environment. It can apply quite well to the first world—the developed world, because there you have a need for the same thing,” said Mizon.

“You have a need to fill your spaces and instead of putting up one boring building, why not create real estate, create opportunity—allow urban environments to develop.”