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Hybrid vigour and the art of mixing

October 16, 2008

Hybrid vigour and the art of mixing

Extract from the article written by Martin Musiatowicz

"A large number of current projects–particularly speculative ones– require multiple functions to be housed together. The concentration of various activities into one structure, as Steven Holl has written, places pressures on the architecture and has a capacity to ‘…distend and warp a pure building type’ (1).
The current boom in high density buildings has in part been fed by exploding economies, astronomical rises in land value and the rise of emerging economic zones, in particular China, over the last twenty years. The increasing tendency among designers in dealing with this problem has seen the re-emergence of the hybrid building, in preference to a ‘sum of all parts’ mixed use solution, a level of concentration and hybridisation is increasingly understood as a way of activating the building, its individual uses and the surrounding urban fabric.

The Specific History of Hybrids
The idea of hybrid or mixed-use buildings is not new. Throughout history, density, the value of land and the overlapping of functions have been inherently linked. In antiquity, the city-states developed borders and walls in order to defend and define the distinction between the civilised and the wild (2). The main forms of movement and transport of goods for a large proportion of the population at the time would have been by foot. Consequently, programs such as workplaces, commerce and housing were located either in the same spaces or stacked on top of each other and in many cases there was little or no distinction between rooms or functions. With space at a premium, the confined city form meant any expansion or construction required amalgamation and overlap, and hence density. Functions, rather than being located in isolated parts of the city, filled whatever space was available and through this, as the cities grew, they formed a single hybrid entity constantly changing and evolving as one..."

Article published in a+t 31. HYBRIDS I. HIGH-RISE MIXED-USE BUILDINGS

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