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CTBUH 2016 Conference: Vertical Urbanization

Image Courtesy Blackstation

With 42 million inhabitants, set to grow to 120 million by 2050, China’s Pearl River Delta is experiencing unprecedented urbanization, teeming megacities and vertical density.

So it’s only fitting that this “mega region” is the site of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) 2016 Conference , to explore the impact of density, vertical growth, and concentrated urban infrastructure, not only in China, but around the world.

More than 1,350 delegates from 46 countries gathered for the five-day conference, which kicked off on Oct. 17 in Shenzhen, China and took place progressively across Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Gensler’s expertise fit seamlessly into the conference topic with leaders from the Asia region presenting on vertical urbanism and creating vibrant communities.

Ray Shick, regional managing principal of Gensler’s Asia region, presented during a panel on the biggest threats and opportunities facing future cities through the year 2050. He shared the elements of an integrated, balanced approach to designing megacities that enrich the human experience. Other panelists included Steve Watts, Alinea Consulting; Jianping Gu, Shanghai Tower Construction & Development; Rui Gu, Group Research and Design Committee, CAPOL; and Chris Yoshii, AECOM.

Xiaomei Lee, managing principal of Gensler’s Shanghai office, presented in a panel on façades in Asia. Lee’s presentation explored the real impact of density, vertical growth and concentrated urban infrastructure in China using Shanghai Tower as an example, and looked at lessons that could be applied from other global urban centers. The session, chaired by Gene Li, Trosifol, included Viviana Muscettola, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Isabella Pallavicini, Fly Service Engineering.

Following Lee’s presentation, Gensler hosted a special critique with 13 visiting students from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) College of Architecture. The students, whose trip to China was sponsored by Gensler, presented their projects to Gensler staff. The students’ project thesis focused on designing cities in challenging terrain and climate zones, while factoring in issues such as natural disasters, population size, challenges to infrastructure, and access to food and water. Their projects are for Sustainable Vertical Urbanism: Towards 2050, a collaborative design studio jointly run by the IIT College of Architecture and CTBUH. Stay tuned as GenslerOn continues to cover this yearlong academic partnership.