Airports have become major drivers of economic development. Linked to international networks yet grounded in local territory, airports, however, also create tensions and embody great spatial challenges for their surroundings. What does this mean for spatial planning? What are the parameters and stakeholders involved? How can we steer them to formulate strategies for better airports and urban developments? Based on a decade of research on Singapore and its larger cross-border region, this book advances a typological reading of Changi Airport’s spatial effects at different scales. The findings also reveal the many actors involved, the intricate journey airport-terrestrials flows take, and the governance require. In doing so, the book enables the emergence of a new concept of what an airport is and how it interacts with a large territory.
Author: Anna Gasco
Design: Studio Laucke Siebein
English | hardcover | illustrated
Funded by the Singapore ETH Centre (SEC) Future Cities Laboratory (FCL)
Inaugural lecture as Head of Urbanism at the Amsterdam Academie van Bouwkunst, which took place on October 5th 2023, and which outlined my vision for urbanism education and provided an overview of my own background in relation to cities, reflecting on my experience being born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, studying and practicing architecture and urbanism around the globe and concluding with the importance of Degrowth and Social Justice for the future of urbanism's education.
Copy Editing: Richard Glass and David Keuning
Design: Edwin van Gelder (Mainstudio)
© 2023 Amsterdam Academy of Architecture
English | illustrated
Inaugural Speech Booklet
Based on The Grand Projet research, eight actions for sustainable urban megaprojects were published as part of the final volume in the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL)’s Indicia series, which presents the results of the FCL research program in the form of actions for sustainable city-making. These eight actions focused on several inclusive and adaptable urban strategies tackling governance, opens-paces, mix of uses, spatial frameworks and phasing amongst others. Indicia 3 complements the first and second volumes of the series that respectively documented the research challenges and approaches that prefigured these results. Read together, the three volumes chart the full arc and many productive eddies of the five-year program and its mission to shape sustainable future cities.
Authors: Anna Gasco & Naomi C. Hanakata
In: Future Cities Laboratory, Indicia 3 (various pages)
Editors: Stephen Cairns and Devisari Tunas
Design: Studio Joost Grootens
English | paperback | 17 x 24 cm | illustrated
Brows the book
This chapter was published as part of the third and final volume in the Future Cities Laboratory’s Indicia series. The chapter presented the findings of the Waterfront Tajong Pagar multidisciplinary research platform, which adopted the old port of Singapore as a testbed. Several research groups tested their respective research findings, and developed cross disciplinary design actions and visions for sustainable city making.
Authors: Anna Gasco & Naomi C. Hanakata with Dietmar Leyk
In: Future Cities Laboratory, Indicia 3 (pp 43-54)
Browse the book
This book presents comprehensive research and comparative analysis of urban megaprojects in Asia and Europe. Large-scale master-planned projects have increased in number and become major drivers of (re-)development in global cities. Yet their often top-down design, long-term implementation, frequent cost overruns and opaque operations have led to many challenges and critiques.
By investigating the commonalities and differences of the eight paradigmatic case studies of Marunouchi Tokyo, Lujiazui Shanghai, West Kowloon Hong Kong, Marina Bay Singapore, HafenCity Hamburg, La Défense Paris, 22@ Barcelona and King’s Cross London, this book examines the potential of such projects to become spatially more adaptable and inclusive in the future and, in doing so, act as positive change-makers for our cities.
Editors: Kees Christiaanse, Anna Gasco & Naomi C. Hanakata
English | hardcover | 17 x 24 cm | 640 pages | illustrated
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This chapter was published as part of the second volume in the FCL’s Indicia series, which focuses on the tools, methods and approaches needed for urban research. The chapter introduces the specific methodology developed to analyse and compare the case studies of the Grand Projet research. To capture the entire development phase of urban megaprojects, we created a set of five analytical frames: Conception, Design, Implementation, Operation and Implication. The comparables incorporated were not the case studies as a whole, but rather selected themes of central importance to the problematic of Grands Projets: aspects of Centrality, Border, Catalyst, Model and Plan.
Authors: Anna Gasco, Naomi C. Hanakata & Kees Christiaanse
In: Future Cities Laboratory, Indicia 2 (pp 3-11)
Included in ‘Shaping Cities in an Urban Age’, the third addition to Phaidon's famous and acclaimed Urban Age series published in collaboration with the London School of Economics (LSE) and Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft (AHG), this chapter examines the underlying forces and challenges of Singapore’s urban development at the beginning of the 21st century.
Authors: Kees Christiaanse, Anna Gasco & Naomi C. Hanakata
In: Shaping Cities in an Urban Age (pp 383-390)
Editors: Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode
Download the chapter
This chapter was published as part of the first volume in the FCL’s Indicia series, which frames FCL’s mission to shape sustainable cities through science, by design and in place. The chapter introduces our study of urban mega-projects in Asia and Europe. Increasing in number globally since the 1980s, these Grands Projets have become spatial manifestations of cities’ larger economic and political agendas. In their development, they have triggered changes in the urban condition beyond the boundaries of their sites. As such, they offer a productive means of investigating current urban trends in a globally connected form of concentrated urbanisation.
In: Future Cities Laboratory, Indicia 1 (pp 51-58)
Published in ‘The SIJORI Cross-Border Region Transnational Politics, Economics, and Culture’,
based on multidisciplinary research by 22 scholars, this chapter re-examines and broadens Singapore's cross-border perspective through the lens of aviation. Singapore's air-traffic has grown at an astounding rate since Changi Airport’s 1981 opening, supporting Singapore’s development and the growth of the Singapore-Johor-Riau (SIJORI) Cross-Border Region. Through fieldwork conducted in Singapore, the State of Johor in Malaysia and the island of Batam in Indonesia, this chapter posits that Changi Airport, along with its related transport links, is a critical lens for questioning how this larger territory is being redesigned to facilitate the production and global circulation of goods and passengers.
In: The SIJORI Cross-Border Region Transnational Politics, Economics, and Culture (pp 341-369)
Editors: Francis E. Hutchinson and Terence Chong
Published in ‘Airports, Cities and Regions’, this chapter provides a framework for empirical description of airports’ urban impact on their surrounding areas and larger territorial regions. Developed based on the cases of Amsterdam Schiphol, Zurich Kloten and Singapore Changi airports, the framework differentiates airport effects into five types according to their scale and exposes a high specificity in how these effects materialise. Focussing on similarities between the cases analysed, the chapter also identifies several urban types recurrently appearing in areas around airports, helping to decipher the morphological impact of aviation.
Authors: Christian Salewski, Benedikt Boucsein & Anna Gasco
In: Airports, Cities and Regions (pp 257-282)
Editors: Sven Conventz and Alain Thierstein
With an integrated vision that links economic development to sustainable urban design, landscape, and mobility strategies, Team KCAP won the international competition for the Keflavík Airport Area Strategic Masterplan. Codenamed K64 – for it straddles the 64th parallel north – the masterplan seeks to transform strategic locations in the airport area into a showcase for the country’s ambitious economic development and sustainability strategies, together with a proposal for collaborative development between public and private sectors.
By: KCAP Architects&Planners with WSP, Felixx, MIC Mobility in Chain, VSO Consulting, Buck Consultants International, Buro Happold, Base Design, Maurits Schaafsma, and Kanon Arkitektar
Personal role: KCAP’s project coordinator & urban designer
Client: Keflavík Airport Development Company (KADECO)
Size: 25,000 ha
Located in one of the greenest yet centrally located neighbourhoods of Singapore, the interior design of this small colonial black-and-white house aims to create the perfect blend of indoor and outdoor living. The tropical modernist style mixes natural materials with designers’ furniture and art pieces to shape a minimalistic, calm interior with a Southeast Asian twist.
By: Studio UPLA
Size: 160 sqm
KCAP’s design transforms a former shipyard on a primary waterfront site in downtown Singapore into an Urban Village of ten residential buildings embedded in lush vegetation and with floating pools in the dock. The Urban Village concept creates three building typologies – Courtyard, Tower and Villa – grouped around a sequence of diverse open spaces and intimate gardens with exceptional views of the waterfront.
By: KCAP Architects&Planners with DCA Architects Pte Ltd and Grant Associates Singapore
Personal role: KCAP’s associate and local representative
Client: Keppel Land Singapore and Mapletree Singapore
Status: Under construction
Size: 2 ha, 429-residential units
KCAP’s masterplan offers a holistic vision for the redevelopment of the eastern territory of Ho Chi Minh into a destination at the forefront of industry 4.0. It provides a robust transformation framework that capitalizes on existing built and natural ecosystems and resolves challenges of severe flooding, lack of public transport, physical barriers and dispersed urbanisation to bring permeability and hierarchy to the heterogeneous built environment.
By: KCAP Architects&Planners with Group8Asia, Arup and Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
Personal role: KCAP’s senior architect & urban designer
Client: Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee
Official results publication
Interior refurbishment of a two-bedrooms apartment located in a 200-year-old guild house. A contemporary partition that doubles as display area and storage redefines the apartment’s central circulation. Whilst the minimalistic design brings hierarchy and clarity to the layout, the intervention creates a space that functions as a series of contrasting frames, generating distinct surprise as occupants pass from the bright, high-ceilinged living areas to the bedrooms.
Size: 120 sqm
Hub-airports attract multiple functions and evolve into urban destinations within their cities. To accommodate increasing air traffic, Singapore Changi Airport is developing Terminal 5, which landside area offers the opportunity to create an integrated mixed-use urban development. Partly as an outcome of my PhD at ETH, KCAP developed a vision for the T5 landside area that positions it as an integrated land-sea-air destination in the east of Singapore.
By: KCAP Architects&Planners
Client: Changi Airport Group (CAG) Singapore, T5 Planning Team
Size: 30 ha
KCAP’s Legacy Masterplan Framework (LMF) prescribes the redevelopment of the Olympic Park and Lea Valley following the 2012 Games. Building on their investment, the LMF guides the delivery of new homes, employment and community facilities to ensure long-term regeneration benefits for the area. A framework rather than a rigid blueprint, the LMF is supported by a series of flexible strategies, which collectively ensure that the project’s ambition is achieved over the long development timeframe.
By: KCAP Architects&Planners with Allies and Morrison Architects and Aecom (formerly EDAW)
Personal role: KCAP’s architect and urban designer
Client: London Legacy Development Corporation
Size: 170 ha, 1.560.000 sqm GFA
The territory of Genève-Eaux-Vives-Annemasse comprises an extended, multifaceted city, limited to the north by a vast agricultural space and to the south by a valley eroded by the river Arve. KCAP’s overall strategy is based on three principles: a mesh of public and natural spaces, strong public transport accessibility and diverse urban projects that materialise the programmatic vision into specific densities and typologies adapted to each site.
By: KCAP Architects&Planners with Arup Consulting Engineers Dublin
Personal role: KCAP’s architect & urban designer
Client: Service de la planification directrice cantonale et régionale de Genève
Size: 5000 ha
SOM’s feasible study and framework plan for the future urban development of the Billingsgate Market site envisioned this development as a potential catalyst of improved connection and integration between the lower-income Poplar Area and Canary Wharf Financial District.
By: Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s (SOM)
Personal role: SOM’s urban designer
Client: Canary Wharf Group
Size: 14 ha
To secure a new identity for the territory’s future expansion, SOM’s framework was based on clear development strategies: Crowns/Corridors/Islands. A series of new Rings framed existing natural and agrarian resources and strengthened the territory’s regional image as it developed over time. Each Ring’s focus—urban, energy, cultural, etc.—was inherently connected to local place. The scheme also densified existing areas along the threshold between the Plateaus and Valleys by infilling or extending local villages and research institutes.
Client: French Government
Size: Territorial Scale
SOM’s scheme transformed a former industrial site on the eastern docks of Dublin into a mixed-use quarter. The new layout maximised connections to the surroundings with a series of permeable urban blocks gradually opening towards a park. The related massing was carved out to maximise solar penetration and carbon neutral urban design. Following the ‘One Planet Living Community Charter’, the scheme also increased social interactions through public spaces and urban agriculture production.
Client: Becbay Limited & Grattan Property
Size: 10 ha
SOM’s design for a landmark residential community in Chelsea draws inspiration from the alignment axes of the surrounding area. Establishing a strong building frontage along the primary address of Chelsea Bridge Road, layers of parallel buildings rise to the northeast, creating a sequence of development backdrop. High-performance glass buildings with reflective surfaces mirror surrounding green elements, blurring the definition between development and landscape form.
By: Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s (SOM) with Gillespies Landscape Architects
Client: Quinlan Private
Size: 5.3 ha
Archi+I’s challenge was to integrate a sports hall that complied with all functional and dimensional requirements of official sports competitions within a north-facing restricted site located in dense, old urban tissue in Brussels. The building was sunken in order to create an appropriate height relationship with adjacent terraced houses. A glass façade guarantees optimum natural light and creates a visual link between surrounding residents and new activity.
By: Archi+I (now B2Ai)
Personal role: Archi+I’s Architect
Client: Public Borough of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean
Size: 1,600 sqm
Archi+I’s reconversion of an existing six-storey 1960s office building into a nursery uses minimalistic design with specific colours to promote user orientation across the different floors and to enliven the interior spaces dedicated to the education of small children.
Personal role: Archi+I’s architect
Client: European Union
Size: 6,350 sqm
Whilst today tourism and power productions are crucial sectors in Iceland, they increasingly come into conflict. How can we reimagine Iceland tourism as a powerful link between natural resources and local industries? What is the agency of urban design to support alternative energy sources? How can we rethink relations between energy and space through circular economy and co-location of uses and hybrid infrastructures? How can we design the energy transition throughout different scales to have a durable impact on our everyday spaces?
At: Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Master in Urban Design
Academic year: 2022-2023
Professor: Anna Gasco
Student number: 11
GSD Studio link
Harvard GSD Bio Link
We can’t escape the negative effects of the Anthropocene. How can we develop healthier environments, where people & ecosystems thrive? This studio explores solutions to overcome strongly human-led development. Alphen aan den Rijn might first appear as a “city without identity”. But at closer look, it is a place where man had extreme impact. Looking into the future this city in the middle of the “Green Heart” (a promised paradise?) seeks a new harmony.
At: Academy of Architecture, Amsterdam University of the Arts, Master Project P6
Academic year: 2021-2022
Professors: Maike van Stiphout, Martin Probst & Anna Gasco
Student number: 7
This module imparts knowledge and analytical skills of city form through lectures, reading discussions and case study analysis. Lectures include a discussion of the key contemporary urban theories and an analysis of their effects on city form. Tutorial assignments are based on small group comparative analysis of urban projects in order to identify how different elements shape city fabric.
At: National University of Singapore (NUS), Department of Architecture (DOA), Master in Arts in Urban Design (MAUD)
Academic year: 2019-2021
Adjunct Professor: Anna Gasco
Student number: varied
NUS MAUD website
This studio examined Industry 4.0’s impact on the (re-)development of Kallang, an older centrally-located industrial estate in Singapore. Students studied social, economic and spatial disruptions in the wake of Industry 4.0 and imagined scenarios of colocation of uses, industries and users.
At: National University of Singapore (NUS), Department of Architecture (DOA), Master in Architecture (M.Arch) year 1
Academic year: 2020-2021
Student number: 9
NUS MArch website
This urban design studio focussed on the site of Tanjong Pagar Terminal in Singapore to envision its future development into a Hybrid City concept, taking into account issues of sustainability, resilience, climate change and sea level rise.
Visiting & Adjunct Professors: Asma Khawatmi, Jason Ang Kwang Lin, Shee Tiong Tan & Anna Gasco
Student number: 33
This travelling exhibition presented the outcomes of the Grand Projet research at the Future Cities Laboratory and of the related book publication. The exhibitions took place in some of the various cities investigated in the research and were preceded by symposiums and book launches, which included the participation of key stakeholders in each city.
At: The Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the ETH Zurich & the HafenCity Hamburg
Co-organisers: Anna Gasco, Naomi C. Hanakata, Pablo Acebillo, Dissa Pidanti Raras & Kees Christiaanse
This studio offered insight into micro-scale urbanity in Singapore. Working on multiple scales, ranging from urban design to block- and architecture-scale, students developed infill scenarios and overarching design strategies for a diverse and inclusive area in central Singapore.
Academic year: 2018-2019
A Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) collaboration, this three-term Advanced Studies in Urban Design course offered specialist urban design knowledge and skills to URA architects and participants from the Housing Development Board (HDB) and JTC Corporation (JTC). Following this 1st course, URA engaged FCL for 3 consecutive years.
At: The Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)
Oversight Group: Kees Christiaanse, Stephen Cairns & Dietmar Leyk
Programme Leader: Aurel von Richthofen
Programme Tutors: Anna Gasco, Naomi C. Hanakata & Panos Mavros
This master thesis examined the Singapore Kallang Peninsula, which acts as one of the city’s largest reservoirs and is directly connected to the central Marina Bay area. Emphasizing water-related challenges, students devised site visions based on the integration of several eco-systems in their urban framework and high-density proposal.
By: Arpad Hetey & Vera Schmidt
At: ETH Zurich, studio based at the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL)
Academic year 2014-2015
Teachers: Benedikt Boucsein, Anna Gasco & Ying Zhou
Student number: 2
This exhibit presented research from two academic institutions in Singapore: FCL and SUTD. FCL’s contribution focused on Rochor+, an area which displays one of the largest manifolds of urban morphology, functional use and social heterogeneity in Singapore, and showcased FCL’s interdisciplinary Rochor+ synergy project, the proposals of the ETH Urban Design Research Studio and The Backlanes project.
By: The Singapore ETH Centre (SEC) Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
Exhibition designers and coordinators for FCL: Ying Zhou, Anna Gasco, Steven Y N Chen, Edda Ostertag, Ting Chen, Rahel Schenker & Arpad Hetey
Across Southeast Asia, air traffic is growing at a prodigious rate due to the emergence of alternative infrastructure, such as low-cost airlines or the development of air cargo networks in rural and industrial hinterlands. Low-Cost/Low-Tech investigated how Southeast Asian airports, and the cities they serve, are being redesigned to accommodate enlarged flows of goods and people.
By: Max Hirsh and Anna Gasco
At: Aedes Architecture Forum, Berlin
Smart City: The Next Generation, Focus South-East Asia
Aedes event page
This studio examined the heterogeneous central area of Rochor in Singapore, spanning Little India, Kallang, Lavender and the Civic District. Student projects touched on timely topics, such as gentrification, HDB reuse, densification and migrant public space. The studio earned the Golden Brick Award at ETH Zurich for best studio of the year.
Academic year 2013-2014
Teachers: Ying Zhou, Anna Gasco and Edda Ostertag with Kees Christiaanse
Student number: 16