Jakarta's Vertical City of the Future

Skyscrapers and mixed use towers aren’t anything new, though we’re constructing them bigger and higher all the time. But Peruri 88 is something else: a multi-level tower atop several other, distinct structures and units kitty-cornered below.

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Nov 23 2012, 12:00am

Resembling something out of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Jakarta’s newest neighborhood may soon be its most unique. The recently announced design by MVRDV-Jerde-Arup is a proposed 400 meter high “vertical city,” examining mixed-use development in a soaring new spatial configuration.

The planned structure is a collaboration between three international design firms: LA-based Jerde PlaceMaking, Arup of Dublin, and Rotterdam’s MVRDV. Their towering city-structure Peruri 88, so named for its 88 planned floors of retail space, offices, apartments, townhouses, a luxury hotel space, spas, a parking structure, a mosque, wedding venue, IMAX theaters in addition to parkspace and an outdoor amphitheater. The topmost floor is composed of a panoramic restaurant and viewing platform.

Skyscrapers and mixed use towers aren’t anything new, though we’re constructing them bigger and higher all the time. But Peruri 88 is something else: a multi-level tower atop several other, distinct structures and units kitty-cornered below.

When presented in the design specs, these vertical “blocks” and neighborhoods offer a strange and chaotic play between the distinct structures that call to mind at once both the sleek and playful futurism of Frank Ghery’s Stata Center and the continuous reach ing upwards of Rio de Janeiro favelas.

For a city so dense, so overly-developed and starved for green space as Jakarta, Peruri 88 offers one small part of sorely needed urban solutions. The greater metropolitan area of 250 square miles is home to 28 million people, of which more than 10 million live in the city center. (For comparison, New York City is about 470 square miles, and home to 19 million.) Parks and open space have been crowded out in recent decades as the city developed.

In 1970, over a third of the area of the city was designated green space, a number that has dropped to less than 10 percent. Garden terraces of local plants and trees aim to create a “forest in the sky” that acts as an air filter for the city.

“Peruri 88 is vertical Jakarta. It represents a new, denser, social, green mini-city; a monument to the development of Jakarta as a modern icon literally raised from its own city fabric," said Winy Maas, MVRDV co-founder.

The bid is just one of many for the location, but should it win, it offers a vision of vertical living for future cities that isn’t stuck in a boring rectangular box.