Exploring urban structures
von | Mar 1, 2012

In the form of the Audi Urban Future Award 2012 the Ingolstadt-based Audi automobile company is continuing its initiative fostering research into urban structures. Following its premiere in 2010, this year six internationally renowned architecture offices will again be invited to develop "roadmaps for future urban mobility". "We seek to understand how the city works in order to be able to shape the mobility of tomorrow," explains Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. Stylepark is again curating the Audi Urban Future Award.

Back in 1800 there were only three cities worldwide with more than one million inhabitants, namely London, Peking and Tokyo. Today the number is 442 and the trend is upwards. The fastest growing conurbation today is Mumbai in India with about 72 million inhabitants followed by the Pearl River Delta in China, which actually boasts a population of around 80 million. That said, Tokyo, Boston and Washington, São Paulo and Istanbul are likewise metropolises where the rampant pace of population growth is creating new infrastructural and mobility challenges. One example: the rising commuter traffic between metropolises and their peripheries, between places of work and dwellings.

Precisely these metropolises are the research labs of this year's Audi Urban Future Award. The architectural companies invited to participate in this year's award are Höweler & Yoon Architecture (Boston & Washington), Urban Think Tank (São Paulo), Superpool (Istanbul), CRIT (Mumbai), Node Architecture (Pearl River Delta), and Ishigami und Associates (Tokyo). Their brief: to conduct research from which new mobility concepts can be derived. The architects taking part are specialists in the field of urban development and infrastructure planning in metropolitan regions; this year each will be supported by a local curator to strengthen the way each project is anchored in the particular city.

Before the end of spring, a workshop will be held in Ingolstadt to present the architects' initial ideas. An expert international jury will evaluate the architects' projects and bestow the Audi Urban Future Award at the prize-giving ceremony in Istanbul this October. The winning design will form the basis for a "City Dossier" that gives a detailed account of demographics, infrastructure and resources and triggers practical projects in the long term. jg

Selva Gürdoğan and Gregers Tang Thomsen from Superpool, photo © Pinar Gediközer
J. Mejjin Yoon and Eric Höweler, photo © Höweler + Yoon Architecture
Doreen Heng Liu, photo © NODE Architecture & Urbanism
Ishi Junya Ishigami, photo © Kenshu Shintsubo
Hubert Klumpner and Alfredo Brillembourg, photo © Urban Think Tank
Rupali Gupte, Kausik Mukhopadhyay, Aneerudha Paul, Prasad Shetty, Rohan Shivkumarrohan Shivkumar (f.l.t.r.), photo © CRIT