Morpho outlines a design research portfolio that emphasises the formal compositions of the urban landscape and larger territories. As its core, it frames a morphological agenda, questioning the various mechanisms that are instrumental for the production of spatial patterns and urban structures. In distinct scales, Morpho activities are driven by analysis of the formative characteristics of territories, including either [a] types of territorial expansion or [b] conditions of spatial compression.
With the expansion of territories, this deliberate shift away from a dependency on urban functionalism raises the question of ‘how things function in relation to the various operational parts’. That is to say, drawing from a biological analogy, it is possible to examine the wings of bees and the wings of flies as ‘functional units for flight’. As a point of origin, Morpho harnesses the traditions of Goethe’s ‘Urpflanze’ (1817) or ‘primal plant’ within the biological sciences to seek out structural similarities, more than the nominal differences as distinctions between species (Steadman 1979). In contrast to the interpretation based purely on ‘functionality’, Morpho acts as a design currency to seek out a more relational perspective for the assessment and projection of propositions of the urban and its specific form. Methodologies of description, focusing on the built environment and its components, are composed around the arrangement and properties of the artefact in general and scales in particular, in an attempt to establish relationships between each singular unit and the larger territorial form (Moudon 2003) or, in an architectural sense, between the architectural typologies and spaces.
The Morpho thesis postulates that urban structures can no longer be comprehended as compositions of buildings and open spaces or as centres and peripheries. In contrast, it advocates for an understanding of urbanisation as a process of structuring the environment through hierarchies of movement and mobility that relate functional units in scalar orders and processes. In other words, urban structures are not clusters of building types or spaces, but collections of hierarchically placed ‘centres’ that cluster around similarly scaled armatures to form new spatial formations, beyond a central or peripheral location.
Volumetric-Economic-Morphologies. (Research Lab)
First, given the extent to which specific Asian urban fabrics have been compressed and the associated complexification of these urban tissues, the objectives of this project are to investigate how three-dimensional multi-layered cities, can be questioned through their morphological and volumetric properties. This extends the flat, two dimensional, rationals of morphological typologies and its approach to urban analysis.
This Research Laboratory work relates, configurative, spatial and geospatial matrixes to develop the methodology and possible applications further in landscape characterised by high density and high rise developments.
Research Team: Dr.ir. GJB Bruyns (PolyU), Prof. Dr. A van Nes (TU Delft), Prof. Peter Hasdell (PolyU), Dr. Christopher Higgins (PolyU), Darren Nel (PolyU).
Bruyns, GJB.,Nel D., Higgins CD. . ‘Flat City versus Volumetric City, Re-application of the Layered Movement Network Approach’. International Seminar on Urban Form, ХХV International Seminar on Urban Form 2018 Urban Form and Social Context: from traditions to newest demands. Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk, Russia. ISBN: 978-5-7638-3952-4.
Higgins, CD., Nel, D., Bruyns, GJB. . ‘Slope, Layers and Walkability: Estimating the Link Between Pedestrian Accessibility and Land Values in the Morphology of High-Density Cities’. International Seminar on Urban Form, ХХV International Seminar on Urban Form 2018 Urban Form and Social Context: from traditions to newest demands. Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk, Russia. ISBN: 978-5-7638-3952-4.
Nel D., Bruyns GJB., Higgins CD. . ‘Urban Design, Connectivity and its Role in Building Spatial Resilience’. International Seminar on Urban Form, ХХV International Seminar on Urban Form 2018 Urban Form and Social Context: from traditions to newest demands.Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk, Russia. ISBN: 978-5-7638-3952-4.
Model and the Lived, beyond the 60m2 mean. An investigation into Hong Kong’s Domestic Models as representations of a square foot societies. (Funded)
What insights can a spatial interrogation of Hong Kong’s domestic models and its transformative variants deliver in terms of a territory’s processes of compressed domesticity and possible future design prospects? Furthermore, how would the understanding of these models not only question, but, concomitantly reflect the ideologies of a ‘square foot society’ in comparison to other domestic models globally to develop relevant future domestic models?
Research Team: Dr.ir. GJB Bruyns, C Lo & M Lam
Bruyns, GJB. . ‘The Social and the Spatial, Urban Models as Morphologies for a ‘Lived’ Approach to Planning’. In: Cubic Journal; Design Social | Technology, Activism, Anti-Social, Bruyns GJB, and Hasdell, P. [eds] number 1 volume 1, pp. 52–73.
Sohn, H., Kousoulas, S., Bruyns, GJB. . ‘Commoning as Differentiated Publicness’ In: Commoning as Differentiated Publicness: emerging concepts of the urban and other material realities, In Footprint Delft Architecture Theory Journal, Volume 16, Delft, Techne Press, pp 1- 8.