This exhibition, titled ‘Porous City’, presented MVRDV and The Why Factory’s (T?F) ongoing research on the design of skyscrapers and the potential of porosity as a European approach to urban density. The results are presented as scale models made of LEGO bricks, which were exhibited at the Why Factory in Delft,  the Venice Biennale Architecture Exhibition 'Common Ground',  MIPIM International Real Estate Conference in Cannes, and Hong Kong’s annual Business of Design Week.


Locations :

The Why Factory, Delft The Netherlands

Venice Biennale Architecture Exhibition 2012, Venice Italy

Business of Design Week 2012, Hong Kong, China

MIPIM International Real Estate Fair 2012, Cannes, France

Year : 2012

Format : 676 LEGO Towers 1:1000 + 16 LEGO Towers 1:100

Sponsor : The LEGO Group, Denmark



What is a European skyscraper? Will Europe copy the corporate American skyscraper? Or will it copy the extruded plan of the Asian skyscraper? What defines a 'European' skyscraper anyways? A verticality which translates European urban values upwards, a vertical town with parks, public space and a mixed urban program.

LEGO used to be an almost abstract toy for young architects and urban planners. Then it globalised...then, with the LEGO Architecture series, it started to re-evaluate its greatest characteristic - a toy for architects. It started to be used for art projects, installations etc. Now the Why Factory uses the LEGO pixel as a basis for scientific research. The LEGO Group supported this research by donating one million LEGO bricks. The Why Factory has defined a new abstract scale for the LEGO Brick, with a typical four connector unit representing an architectural volume of 15x15x8m, or two floors high.

Using the parametric design software Grasshopper, 676 iterations at 1:1000 and 16 at 1:100 investigate development of possible new relationships between mass and void in large-scale architecture. The material presented at the exhibition is a result of design studio led by The Why Factory through fall semester 2011/12. The models are also an exercise in the rational, evolutionary design process pursued by MVRDV and other offices.



The Eurohigh studio was developed and supervised by Professor Winy Maas, Alexander Sverdlov and Ania Mo­lenda in collaboration with KRADS (Denmark) and support from the LEGO Group (Denmark) and global engineering firm Arup.

Participants of the Eurohigh design studio:
Jaap de Jong, Marina Ferrando, Alise Jekabsone, Jayson Johnstone, Valerie Krautzer, Qian LAN, Bill Lee, Albert Mark, Ana Melgarejo, Vincent Paar, Marcus Parviainen, Alex Parvu, Pedro Pitarch, Mihaela Radescu, Marie-lahya Simon, Leo Stuckardt, Calvin Tanikaya and Cyrus Wong.

Photography: Frans Parthesius.

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