An effective transport infrastructure is a fundamental part of a city’s makeup. Today, over half the world’s population already lives in an urban environment. The large metropolises are growing larger and new megacities are emerging. Urban space is being redefined: After decades of exodus to the suburbs, city centers have regained their appeal among people of all ages and lifestyles, and are once again seen as places where work and private life can be readily combined. The way in which people move around cities in future will also have a significant influence on their architecture. From individual apartments to city planning concepts, a whole new urban aesthetic will emerge.
As an architect, a central aspect of my job is designing urban space to provide a positive experience and offer quality living. A city is an organism that consists of overlapping areas, stories and people – all in a constant state of change and hence always on the move. The functions and impact of urban areas can be very different, varying from stimulating or challenging to relaxing. Moving about in these spaces gives rise to physical spatial processes. This is how we experience architecture – by seeing, hearing and touching it and by moving within the spaces.
Expressways, train connections and public transport are the lifelines of urban space. At the same time, the growing volume of traffic – often with drastic consequences – constitutes a common challenge for city planners, architects and automakers. After all, the car is and will remain a basic component of city life.
Problems with emissions, growing traffic density and insufficient parking facilities call for new, intelligent ideas and alternative technical solutions such as electromobility in order to ensure that urban mobility will remain possible in future. And in order to design these solutions in a way that is both environmentally compatible and consistent with a high quality of life.
The cities of the future need both movement and balance. And architecture can readily reveal both. For example, our design for the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai symbolized balance. The different parts of the building supported one another. You could sense the importance of balance. Balance as a metaphor for tomorrow’s cities. Balance as a necessary condition for movement.
Interior designer Susanne Schmidhuber was born in 1956. Together with her husband, Prof. Klaus Schmidhuber, she founded the architectural firm Schmidhuber+Partner in Munich in 1984, where she currently works with four partners and a team of some 60 architects, interior designers and designers. Schmidhuber+Partner was responsible for the prizewinning German Pavilion at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai and regularly designs exhibition architecture and trade fair stands for clients, such as Audi, Lamborghini