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Skyburbs: Bringing the Burbs to the City

Posted By Bridgette Meinhold On September 11, 2009 @ 11:01 am In Architecture,Gardening,Urban design | 9 Comments

skyburb, vertical gardens, vertical suburbs, solar passive design, suburbs, urban design, gardens, parks

Some people like suburbia for the wide open spaces, yards, and the sense of privacy, but the ‘burbs [1] are not nearly as efficient as urban centers are. What if there was a way to bring all of the positive qualities of exurbia into the city while keeping all of the efficiency of an urban core? What about stacking blocks of suburban space onto blocks of urban space, similar in theory to vertical farms [2], creating modular gardens, orchards, parks, playing fields, community centers and even homes? The concept is already out there. Dreamed up by two Sydney-based architects, Skyburbs introduces the qualities of the suburbs into denser urban environments.


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This flexible and adaptable vertical space provides the infrastructure for many different purposes. Levels can be used for gardening [3], orchards, public parks, playing fields community centers, homes, and apartments. Each level has a floor plenum, which is equipped with energy, water and services to support the various functions of the level. The structure itself to support this is composed of steel beams in order to let enough light into each area.

In the winter, the low angle of the sun will be able to penetrate into the center of each level, providing warmth and passive solar heating [4]. During the summer, the sun will be high and only light the edges of the building, allowing the center to remain shaded. Combined with excellent natural ventilation across the level, the interior should remain cool.

Skyburbs could also contain a number of sustainable features depending on the types of amenities inside. Rain water collection and grey water recycling will help supply water for irrigation. Solar and wind power will help meet the energy demand and trombe walls [5], passive solar design and radiant heating will aid in heating homes and buildings. Each level is adaptable, flexible and changeable. Should an owner decide to change his/her own level, build or remodel, the levels can accommodate those additions.

The Skyburbs concept was developed by Mark Gazy and Neil Haybittel, both from Tzannes Associates [6] in Sydney. We love the idea and hope they continue developing the concept.

Thanks for the tip Mark!


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/skyburbs-bringing-the-burbs-to-the-city/

URLs in this post:

[1] ‘burbs: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/08/19/reburbia-competition-winners-announced/

[2] vertical farms: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/07/15/vertical-farm-for-futuristic-london-bridge/

[3] gardening: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/08/19/big-box-agriculture/

[4] passive solar heating: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/08/12/japans-otake-house-showcases-sleek-passive-solar-design/

[5] trombe walls: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FTrombe_wall&ei=P2KqSsKMHY_YsgPH56D_BA&usg=AFQjCNFv6PpNOK0B4lk_IbWj2xeO7IS72A&sig2=ddAbR1Zq8YqNahbz6Oc-Mw

[6] Tzannes Associates: http://www.tzannes.com.au/

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