2017 Speaker: Jaron Lubin

Safdie Architects

Jaron Lubin is a Principal at Safdie Architects. He is currently serving as project designer for two projects in Singapore: Jewel Changi Airport, a lifestyle destination located at the heart of Changi Airport; and Sky Habitat, a new condominium complex in the Bishan neighborhood. He has directed numerous competitions undertaken by Safdie Architects in recent years, including the Xiqu Cultural Center, West Kowloon in Hong Kong; the National Art Museum of China in Beijing; and the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem. Previously, he was integral to the competition-winning design effort for the Marina Bay Sands project, for which he relocated to Singapore to oversee design and construction, most notably as resident design architect for the SkyPark.

Tackling Dense Urbanism

As cities become more populated, infinitely more complex and dense, the challenge to design humanist buildings and livable places becomes more and more difficult.  For example, while the skyscraper has been with us for more than a Century, we are still looking to discover how to deploy it as an effective building block for contemporary urbanism.  Becoming more common than a singular tower development, are clusters of mixed-use towers atop a podium, predominantly designed as self-contained, introverted, and privatized environments.  These large-scale projects can distort the edges of the public realm and damage the fabric of our cities.  Outside the city, at our airports, we also face the challenges of mega growth, with new airports underway that run the risk of being characterized as no more than expansive, generic retail malls.

Planning, zoning and urban design disciplines have not yet provided the tools to accommodate and regulate the great inter-dependency of these large developments, in or out of the city.    What if the high-rise tower was reconceived as a vertical neighborhood, with an engaging and friendly front door?  Can we re-imagine apartments in the center of the city, to include the amenities and open space gardens of a suburban home?  Can we design an airport that makes the engagement to the public realm a first principle of its planning thinking?  Using several recent projects as case studies, Jaron Lubin, a Principal with Safdie Architects, will share the practices’ current thinking on one of the toughest challenges that face architecture and urban design disciplines today, designing for the megascale.

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