The City in the Sky: Q&A with Jaron Lubin, Safdie Architects

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Jaron Lubin is a Principal at Safdie Architects, one of the world's leading architecture firms. Specializing in dense urban centers around the world, the firm endeavors to question the role that designers have in shaping the city of the future.

AERIAL FUTURES: How do you feel UAM can facilitate your attempts to activate the urban context?

Jaron Lubin: What's interesting is that in recent projects that we've been taking on, in the brief, we've been asked to integrate something like a heliport or a droneport. It's a new request, and we're starting to struggle with these things. We're yet to really figure out the appropriate way to integrate them.

Now as an idea, the UAM proposition is very exciting for us as architects, urban designers, and people who think about cities. We see great opportunity in integrating things like droneports or new methods of getting from, for instance, an airport to your destination in a really quick way and expedient way.

AF: How will UAM impact the city?

JL: I think it's a significant question for us and we're working through it right now. The locations of these transport hubs are going to create hot spots, they are going to create attractors. They might create value propositions for new places in the city that are currently less desirable. It's definitely a new challenge for us as architects.

AF: How do you perceive the interplay of design and technology in the future?

JL: One of the themes in our work is to rethink the way how a tower might perform in the city. If we go back 50 years to Habitat 67, Moshe [Safdie] rethought the tower by fractalizing it, by breaking it down into smaller components. And by doing so, he created many building blocks and also many horizontal surfaces that relate better to the human scale.

Today, we continue to look at the possibilities that come about when we multiply the ground plane, and at different scales. At The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, for instance, we have the SkyPark, which is in this case a very large communal space 57 storeys in the air. It is the idea that you can have different spatial experiences: at the ground, at the sky. This is a fascination of ours, to activate and participate in the city at multiple levels.