High price of high rise?

Can modern high-rise buildings make our cities more liveable? Vibrant cities need more than just laneway bars, says Professor of Architecture Xing Ruan, one of the editors of a book to be launched at UNSW tonight.

Can modern high-rise buildings make our cities more liveable? It takes more than just bars in laneways to make a vibrant urban culture, says University of New South Wales Professor of Architecture Xing Ruan, one of the editors of a new book to be launched at UNSW tonight (Tuesday, September 15).

Four leading architects - the editors of Skyplane - will explore the impact of high-rise towers on city life and culture in presentations and a panel discussion.

Professor Ruan will join Richard Francis-Jones, a partner of Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp and Adjunct Professor of Architecture at UNSW's Faculty of the Built Environment; Lawrence Nield, of Studio Nield and also an Adjunct Professor at UNSW; and Dr Deborah van der Plaat, of the School of Architecture at the University of Queensland.

In Skyplane, leading international architects and thinkers examine the effects of high-rise buildings on the culture and sustainability of our cities, and how they have been adapted to the Asia-Pacific region.

Professor Ruan said the modern tower building has become a neglected space: a stack of rooms with no clear sense of interior and serving as a viewing platform from which to look out.

"You go from the street to the summit but lots of people spend their days either working or living in between," he said.

"The common experience of life in an apartment or tower is that you don't know your neighbours or who lives upstairs or downstairs. We need to embrace the idea of using this vertical public space - it's not just bars in laneways that make a city liveable. If towers are here to stay we can go further to give them new life."

What: Launch of Skyplane and editors' panel discussion
When: 6pm cocktail reception, presentations and discussion 6.30pm to 7.30pm, Tuesday 15 September
Where: The Galleries, John Niland Scientia Building, Kensington campus

Media contact: Professor Xing Ruan | 02 9385 4782 | x.ruan@unsw.edu.au

UNSW Media Office: Peter Trute | 02 9385 1933 | 0410 271 826 | p.trute@unsw.edu.au