My Vertical Village

My Vertical Village is inspired by MVRDV’s Vertical Village exhibition, which explores the effects of density in urban areas. This activity gets you out and about exploring your local area, thinking about the key elements that make it unique and what you would change if you were rebuilding it.

When designing your vertical village, ask yourself ‘which buildings you would like in your new town and why?’ Are these schools, parks, houses, flats or shops? This is entirely up to you! You can take this a step further by also thinking about what you would add in your own local area that isn’t currently there, for example, would you want there to be more parks?

By building vertically you’re not working with much area on the ground, so you’ll find when you start stacking the buildings up they will tip over! So you’ve got to think creatively about balancing these buildings. In the example model above, one of the houses has been placed upside down to help the flats at the top balance. You’ve also got to think about the various ways you can get around this village. Have fun!

Keep scrolling down for the video tutorial!

Step by Step

Step 1

Take a walk around your neighbourhood (this could be as long or short as you like). Look out for different ‘types’ of buildings in your area such as: Schools, flats, houses, churches, shopping centres etc. Think about which buildings make your local area special and the ones that you would like in your town.

Take photographs or sketch these buildings, we will use these to make models later.

Step 2

Once you’re back home, brainstorm which buildings you would like in your local area. Make some sketches. Think about whether there is anything missing. Are there any other buildings you’d like to add that you may have seen in a film or a book?

Step 3

Grab your cardboard and start building your models! Think about the different creative ways you can use the cardboard, and look at the image above for inspiration.

The model above uses different colours of cardboard – the black cardboard shows shadows on the tower blocks and the corrugation is used to create the texture of the roofs.

You can also use paint to show a material such as brick by combining brown / red / yellow colours, and this works especially well on the texture. 

Step 4

Once you’ve created the buildings you need, think about stacking them and building them vertically to create your own vertical village. Think about how you will get from one building to the next – this can be as creative as you like. Think about ladders, slides, climbing ropes, stairs etc. Stuck for ideas? Check out the top tips for making stairs below:

1. Tear the cardboard from the edge to reveal the corrugation in the middle. 

2. Draw a straight line using a ruler, use the width of the ruler as reference for the width of your stair. 

3. Cut this out.

4. Now use the piece you’ve just cut to cut two two squares out, you should have three pieces now: one rectangle and two squares shown in image 4. 

5/6. Place the two squares on either side of the rectangle, corrugated side down (shown in step six).

7. Now stick the squares down with either tape or glue.

8. Once stuck down, fold the two edges.

9. You can see this now forms two landings and a staircase. You can extend this by creating another staircase to create an even longer staircase.

10. Connect other staircases together by sticking the landings together from either stair, as shown in step 10. 

Video tutorial

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Donjeta Sejdiu, Former Accelerate student, is currently studying MArch Apprenticeship and working at United Living, a main contractor training to become a Design Coordinator.

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