“When we see increased density, we immediately think of the need for something more than occupied space, sold space, work space, living space – something more public or collective that could animate such a mass of habitation or work,” says James von Klemperer, president and design principal of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

Creating Vertical Cities

The ideal is to infuse large structures with a series of places where people could wander or congregate, just as they would in a city streetscape, “to create a very complex, inviting and interesting set of sectional experiences”. In mega-projects, architects can create ‘vertical cities’ by taking advantage of the gaps between different uses to create gathering places. KPF’s JR Central Towers project in Nagoya put almost 5 million ft2 of retail, office, hotel and public space stacked on top of a bullet-train station – it holds a Guinness World Record as the largest station building in the world. There is a range of public and outdoor spaces throughout the building, as well as Sky Street – a huge concourse on the 15th floor of the podium joining the two towers, which offers panoramic views to anyone who takes the elevator from the station.