As part of our Leaders Say transit oriented developments series, we spoke to our leaders about their approach to designing transit oriented development and new high density mixed-use projects. In the last installment of this series, Co Founder & Executive Director David Buffonge shares his thinking on creating these future development models.
High density transit oriented development (TOD) is the fastest growing sustainable solution for mixed-use environments and we are now seeing the evolution of new models in Asia. With a predicted 200 million people moving into cities across China over the next ten years, it has now become necessary to rethink how we deal with this higher level of densification.
The traditional TOD model has “live, work and shop” components positioned over a rail station or transport interchange, but as these developments become larger, it is our responsibility as architects and designers to incorporate the necessary ingredients that would enhance well-being and the personal experience of users and occupiers.
We typically start our process with a functional planning diagram, to maximise accessibility and connectivity, to create intuitive and natural people flows and movement. This approach will improve wayfinding and increase the overall legibility of the destination. In most cases, a common sense solution will prevail. Each function within the development needs to have their own entrance and arrival experience!
Our plans are usually organic and connections are designed to achieve ultimate pedestrian convenience. We have also developed a number of useful formulas to help us determine the appropriate distances between vertical circulation nodes. At the transit level, we have found ways to improve the arrival experience from underground rail connections into our buildings.
Place-making is about creating an address for the destination and each location needs to have a good sense of arrival. We have found new and interesting ways to integrate art, sculpture and landscape into our architecture. These initiatives are prerequisite to good architecture and should not be considered as simply add-on to spaces.
Mixed-use development types are also becoming much more complex with their own mixes within. New and interesting bookshops have emerged to become libraries and social spaces, concept stores have become mini museums and some commercial buildings have transformed themselves into art galleries. It is so important that we consider flexibility in our designs. Pop-up shops, pop-restaurants can also create the variety and experience needed to excite people.
Finally, a reminder about the use of natural light. Designing spaces that allow for controlled natural light is an opportunity that should not be missed. People are instinctively drawn to natural light so it can be a powerful tool to encourage vertical movement within buildings.
By: David Buffonge (Lead8 Co Founder & Executive Director)