Juste Tresor

Juste Tresor

Boston, MA, US


POSTMANHATTANISM: The age of the transformer and the megacity.

POSTMANHATTANISM: The age of the transformer and the megacity.


SINGAPORE: It's 2050 in one of Southeast Asia's most populated metropolitan areas and scenic archipelagos. We have seen a surge of climate change immigrants flocking to our cities, attracted by their reputation for resiliency and adaptation to sea level rises. The region had already added 100 million of its native inhabitants over the last 30 years, a growth that was anticipated and prompted visionary municipals, academics, and professionals in design fields and urban planning to re-imagine the ways cities have been planned in the past. The transformer and the megacity have established their role in recent rapid urbanizations. Thanks to the advances in computation design and swarm fiber robotics technologies, the conscious move became a reality. Construction, as we knew it at the turn of the century, became inadequate and antiquated. The art of building has become the domain of information technology. Proactive and bold leadership efforts in urban planning have set in motion policies and agendas that favored curbing urbanization's totalizing forces. Overtly, capital and its apparatus, the global economy. The square-grid cities like Manhattan in New York City are rigid models of urban form that proved ill-equipped to absorb shocks of rapid climate change and accommodate migrations' floods. The strict plans had many limitations, including allowing the city's formal expansion only in the upward vertical extrusion. In many cases, response to emergencies like large swaths of migrants has proven to be inefficient, insufficient, chaotic, and in extreme cases, just nonexistent, leaving it to the newly arrived to fend for themselves. Cities around the world facing similar challenges couldn't adapt or provide housing for the newcomers and needed to be able to handle ethnocultural differences, promote integration and social cohesion, integrate mobility, and offer a comprehensive approach for growth.

The extreme scenario plays out in Post-Manhattanism, a plausible urbanism project that frames a critical way to rethink urbanization. In its wake, it enlists technologies in robotics and computation design to be its greatest allies and co-conspirators. The Post-Manhattan project proposes an urban environment where architecture anchors the character of a city. Here the diverse composition of a city is activated by architectural devices in a sea of urbanization. In the post-Manhattan project, architecture could generate heterogeneity and yet subtle spatial qualities and experiences. The distinct parts that compose a city could emerge from sensing, synching, and actuating the urban and built environment, including the social and environmental dimensions in their shaping.  This approach could take urbanization a step further from the traditional process of individual typological experimentation, currently constrained by the managerial parameters that define a disconnected conglomerate. The new city could become a composition of organic life and new highly technological materials that can self-generate and adapt from the continuous feedback of multiple levels of information, adding the temporal dimension to their physical characteristics. These entities could potentially build the capacity to communicate and self-generate from the nanoscale to the multiscale and morph into an integrative fabric that can selectively resource energy, water, and materials.  When societal and environmental conditions can self-regulate via a network of multiscale computations, then the resultant urban fabric could merge its place's human and natural characteristics. In the post-Manhattan project, the traditional dichotomy between typology and urban planning would become obsolete in favor of the dialectic between continuity and discontinuity. This new organism of a non-hierarchical, ultra-connected juxtaposition of nods would adapt to the demands of both, the places of origin and destination, creating a space for active and discernable devices which characterize a city.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Singapore City, SG
My Role: Author, Designer
Additional Credits: LAM