Augmenting the Reality
The Architecture of Gentrification

According to British sociologist Ruth Glass (1963), gentrification occurs when “working class quarters have been invaded by the middle class … until all or most of the working class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character of the district is changed.” Gentrification includes spatial restricting, economic restructuring and social restructuring.

As Malaysia heads towards being a developed nation in 2020, perhaps it is time to ask whether Johor Bahru, with the second largest urban conurbation and expansion rate in the county for these five years is also heading towards gentrification. The debate surrounding gentrification is the people who have lived in the area all their lives can no longer live there as they cannot cope with the changing living lifestyle of newer generations. The current situation is the living environment need to be destroyed and reconstructed throughout the decades to adapt to the needs and different culture.

Taking reference from Reyner Banham’s ‘A Home Is Not a House’, we consider function taking the place of form: the walls, floors and roofs are all ready to be utilized as and how is necessary for the residents. From the Malaysia architectural technology timeline, the material and form making of Malaysia architecture transform from one to another, which is an endless transformation due to the evolution of the technology. The only constant is architecture always acts a shelter which is formed by three basic elements: the walls, floors and roofs. Hence, by using the three basic elements as a basic foundation to form a block, without neglecting the urban density, the block is duplicated in term of verticality to cater bigger occupancy. The irreplaceable, greenery, is emphasized on top of each roof to increase the intimacy of the occupants and nature while the blocks are shifted apart for better visual hierarchy. This forms a prototype for a unit and the replication of the prototype will become the Volume Block 1.0 for architecture of gentrification.

Gentrification unties different demographics socially, yet can also bring out separation, whether that is economically, socially, or physically, evaluating existing local people out of their homes. To reach this balance, augmented reality is introduced to be implemented into the architecture to adapt to different culture and needs of the generation. This framework for equalized living guarantees the block stays neutral to both demographics economically, while bringing together local and gentrified occupants, not with the hope of a harmonious outcome, but rather one in which permits both groups to live mutually and extend dependence between the two.

From a design that started on an economic establishment, this in turn made many an architectural ‘issue’ settle through the designing of the Volume Block 1.0. What was made turned into an urbanized block adaptable to change socially, but fixed in economy. This design tackles this issue head on, and provides adaptable solution which will encourage more positive outcomes socially and decrease the needs of reconstruction.

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