Safdie Architects, Boston
While bridging between tall buildings has been explored for many years, it was the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark in Singapore that elevated the approach to a ‘typology’. The SkyPark became a prominent showcase for the public to see and experience what the profession already knew – that placing public activities ‘in the air’ not only affords unique experiences but is a very achievable and sustainable means of densifying the city.
With the ‘how’ behind us, we must now evaluate this typology’s impact and explore how the act of interconnecting buildings - aggregating a diversity of program, activities, and usages at a high level - can, and should, influence the design of cities. Iconic shopping districts, equivalent to Barcelona's La Rambla, may soon exist sixty stories above ground level, as an example.
While the act of experiencing more of the city from at height is exciting, it also challenges the definition of the public realm as we know it, as we begin to network spaces between privately owned towers and shared communal spaces at multiple levels. These discussions are expanding beyond the design and construction industry and into the realm of city policy makers and other stakeholders.
This presentation traces the evolution of the SkyPark across multiple building types in different cities, climates and contexts from urban, architectural and social perspectives.