FAP 2019 – Students – Jury Comments



As a result of hyper-density, development in today’s modern Bangkok is mostly ignoring the fact that they live in areas where water should be pervasive. Hence, it is not surprising that existing buildings in the city are one of the main causes of flooding—land subsidence is getting worse. Through the proposed SPONGEBOB design, the original buildings will be the ones to salvage the situation by absorbing, holding and releasing the water.

Dr Nirmal Kishnani: This submission took a position on urban flooding. The interface between buildings and the ground is marked by a rapid absorption of water, some entering the water table, some into tanks that are conduits for vertical absorption into buildings. It’s interesting to see here a demonstration of ‘more is better’: more buildings equal greater absorptive capability, which means better flood management.

Ada Fung: Featuring the principle of the Heron Fountain, SPONGEBOB makes a very bold attempt to use buildings to absorb, hold and release water in an integrated manner in Bangkok, with a series of bioswales, communal tanks, wind turbines, etc., in a hyper-dense urban setting. It could have been even more convincing if the urban form had been developed and presented.

Dr Jalel Sager: The winning project must be qualified by the fact that it was not considered the most comprehensive of the proposals. My point of view, however, is that this project focused on one problem—that of flooding and water control—and elaborated on this theme with precision. It may be precisely wrong, but it could also be approximately correct, in its application of rather biomimicry-oriented vascular interventions. What I find important is that it made a solid claim and gave us particulars to criticise where its substantive proposal takes shape. It did not hide behind vagueness or Green generalities. I also believe shared building-systems-level thinking is key to this brief.



Jakarta is a fast-growing metropolitan city. Due to the city’s urbanisation and suburbanisation, interrelated problems are created in both the city and the suburbs. This condition will continue to degrade the community’s quality of life and the natural environment if it is not resolved. In this project, we propose relocating suburban residents (commuters and rural area inhabitants) and concentrating them in one region, which, based on transit-oriented development (TOD), is Dukuh Atas. Concentrating the population in one region leaves the peripheral (suburban) area with green spaces that can serve natural biodiversity.

Dr Nirmal Kishnani: A highly competent scheme that ticks all the boxes; it shows the site as multiple layers that act as key transit nodes. This is classic urbanism with some systems thinking.

Ada Fung: This proposal of reconnecting the city through agriculture in Jakarta strikes me as a project that could achieve the requisite hyper-density with pragmatism, addressing most of the key aspects of the brief. It presents some interesting concepts that could be further developed in the urban context, such as co-housing, preservation, sky bridges, edible landscape, etc., in the urban system.

Dr Jalel Sager: The productive Green community project gives us a credible set of renderings and figures. It is admirable student work. I am not convinced the central aim of its intervention, reconnecting urban communities through agriculture, is well reflected in its formal or conceptual programme.



Most people might imagine hyper-density as rows of bland 90-storey towers, but it does not mean only skyscrapers. We feel that sometimes the term is used by designers to put tall buildings in the city due to population growth, economy, limited land and political issues. Located at Tambora kampong, one of the world’s most densely packed slums, our project is about redesigning the area with the Sierpinski carpet fractal grid as a framework for urban growth that can be supported by a self-sustaining system.

Dr Nirmal Kishnani: The site grows upwards, aided by a grid that acts as a scaffold for expansion. There is here a modularity of elements—building to block to settlement—that aids the transformation of the whole. The outcome presents a highly textured and complex urban system that is suited for Jakarta today.

Ada Fung: By developing a system of integrated Internet-based kampong in Tambora with a modular grid system, this proposal offers plenty of room for flexible growth of a hyper-dense city. Though the details of decarbonisation have not been fully worked out, it allows green spaces and green corridors to exist alongside a seemingly haphazard agglomeration of mixed-use developments in a 3D urban form.

Dr Jalel Sager: Decarbonise is a gridded or ‘parasitic’ vision of the new city. I am sympathetic to this modular concept and find it exciting in several proposals. I think Decarbonise covered its sustainability bases as per the brief, but a focus and a pruning for implementation could be quite useful.