Castles in the air: Innovative designs for communal living

Updated 21st December 2017
: 8 Spruce Street, New York, Gehry Partners. Courtesy of Forest City Ratner Companies/dbox
Castles in the air: Innovative designs for communal living
As cities around the world try to cope with housing and land shortages, the need for apartment buildings has never been greater.
It's a reality architects are keenly aware of, with many having proposed radical, beautiful new models for apartment living, including towers that change shape, absorb carbon, and break up when you do.
1/12The Interlace (2007-13) by OMA and Ole Scheeren in Singapore
In his new book "Building Community: New Apartment Architecture," Michael Webb looks at 30 of the world's most compelling new apartment buildings.

The Interlace comprises 31 identical six-story blocks stacked on top of each other. In the spaces between them are eight courtyards and an Olympic-sized swimming pool, creating a micro community outside of the city center.

"We wanted togetherness, not isolation; a return to when Singapore was a village of little buildings, tightly knit together," Ole Scheeren says in the book. Credit:
Courtesy Iwan Baan
However, while the rise in designer apartments has been a boon for top-earners in search of inventive new living quarters, affordable options with the same quality and creativity remain scarce.
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"It is convenient as well as financially necessary to live in an apartment. That has raised the recognition of apartments as a pattern of living. But unfortunately in Britain and America, the provision of really high quality, affordable apartments has lagged, and has in fact fallen short of the need," Michael Webb, author of "Building Community: New Apartment Architecture," told CNN over the phone, blaming "the lack of support (for creative architects) from private developers, who only want to make a quick profit, or from cities, who've dropped out of the housing market."
"The tragedy is that the best architects worked for public housing authorities or nonprofit housing associations for a number of years, and now through privatization, they no longer can," he added.
1/31Twisting tall towers of the globe
The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has released a comprehensive list of the world's twisting tall buildings that are either completed or under construction. From Shanghai to Dubai, CNN takes a look at these spectacular spiraled skyscrapers, as well as some of the other tallest buildings in the world. Credit: courtesy GORPROJECT
In "Building Community," Webb highlights 30 apartments, designed by internationally renowned firms like Gehry Architects, BIG and OMA, that truly defy convention.
From a sustainable urban three house in Turin, Italy to an interlocking megastructure in Singapore, these apartments "suggest models for how you can provide decent housing for people of every income level, from the very poor to the very rich, and in between."
"They are beacons of sanity and imagination that show how much better we could live, if only architects were liberated to do their own thing," Webb says.
"The basics of good design haven't changed: space, light, privacy, good sound insulation so you're not listening to your neighbors and traffic outside. These are the qualities that good architects can bring, but they can only do it if someone's going to commission them."
"Building Community: New Apartment Architecture" by Michael Webb, published by Thames & Hudson, is out now.
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