Oliver HECKMANN_thumbnail_RESEARCH_Urban Residential High-rise

‘Urban Residential High-Rise Typology for Social Cohesion and Demographic Resilience’

‘Future Urban Habitation’ Symposium 2019 / Book publication (upcoming)


SRG Research Grant

Research Team Urban Housing Lab 

Principal Investigator: Oliver Heckmann 

Research Assistants: Aarthi Janakiraman, M.Arch, Pratt Institute School of Architecture / Chong Zhuo Wen, M.Arch ASD/SUTD 

Student team: Audrey Chin Mian Yee, Koh Xian Zhe, Chloe Tan, Tan Yen Lin and Zhang Ke Er 

Design-research based projects aim to find answers to the emerging challenges to human dwelling in the urban domain. They focus on socially and environmentally sustainable housing designs in urban contexts, and propose strategies for systemic adaptability to changing and diversifying societies and a social aesthetic of vertical communities, for climate-responsive layouts and material-efficient construction to minimize its impact on environment. Two projects combine this design research with the development of computational tools to evaluate the performance of designs.

‘Urban Residential High-Rise Typology for Social Cohesion and Demographic Resilience’ 

The project aimed to establish design knowledge for new high-rise typologies, determining how spatial strategies for circulation systems could constitute and enhance spatial integrity between the domains of the urban territory, the building, the unit and the individual resident within, essentially aiming for social cohesion under conditions of high-density living.  The project also determined solutions for adaptable layouts that can inherently respond to radically changing and diversifying urban communities with ever more unpredictable lifecycles that demand for new forms of co-habitation.  

Literature studies determined qualitative performance parameters. Subsequently conducted case studies on relevant precedents investigated respective spatial strategies.

Case studies on the ‘social logic’ of circulation systems identified how concepts for spatial integrity, geometric configuration and visibility impact connectivity, and how they facilitate physical and visual encounter. They also analysed strategies to formulate sub-clusters of apartment units conducive for the emergence of micro-neighbourhoods. 
Case studies on residential dwellings  determined alternative morphological approaches that inherently facilitate adaptability, by evaluating the poly-valency of room- and unit sequences, and their adjacency and connectivity. Unit ribbons have been developed that go beyond the socio-spatial conventions of ‘units’ as hermetic entities, and that are generic enough to allow diverse and inclusive urban habitats with possible appropriations beyond purely residential ones.

The research has also led to the Sustainable Design Option Studio 2 ‘Future Generic’


Click on the image below to download PDF

‘#GRAPHICAL Case Studies on Spatial Systems
for Residential High-Rise Buildings‘
ASD RAW Press, Singapore 2018 

Oliver Heckmann, Urban Housing Lab,
with Aarthi Janakiraman, Chong Zhuo Wen Alexandria