Mega morphologies of 21st century landscapes; the characteristics of an inverted-exterior city form

G Bruyns, Darren Henry Nel, Yixuan Peng, Chrispher D. Higgins

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


Historically, the science of urban morphology has developed spatial and urban taxonomies to examine the relationships between buildings and the larger territory. In later streams, building-to-territory characteristics were equated to either temporal processes of building aggregate or functional division of plots.In mega-cities of Asia, spatial evidence subverts conventional building-to-space relationships. The production of ‘mega-mega’ projects, some of which account for the world’s seventh largest built complex, amalgamizes building aggregate and street functions, into new definitions. Megacities show evidence of other morphological streams, that include; the emergence of volumetric morphologies,redefining the exact scale of the mega-mega complexes, and a growing tendency which interiorizes external morphological elements as part of the interior project.This paper will question ‘how’ the use of conventional typemorphological descriptors can remain valid in assessing mega-scale projects. By way of looking at the gamingcomplexes of Macau SAR, the work will develop a line of critique commencing from thetraditional concepts of morphological analysisand its validity in the mega scale context, through material evidence of mega spaces and their eventual inversion of functions and space. Findings will conclude on the formative and spatial characteristicsof new spatial types. The need for a hybrid approach in both spatial analysis as well as in its space-to-built-object conceptual positioning points towards new morphological domains -interior morphologies-whilst at the same time, underscoring the shift brought on by conditions of scale as a primary factor in analysis of the mega-region environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISUF 2020 Virtual Conference Proceedings
EditorsBrenda Case Scheer, Wendy McClure
PublisherUniversity of Utah College of Architecture + Planning, University of Utah Salt Lake City
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2021
EventISUF 2020 Virtual Conference Proceedings - University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning, Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: 1 Sept 20204 Sept 2020


ConferenceISUF 2020 Virtual Conference Proceedings
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySalt Lake City
Internet address


  • Inverted Morphologies
  • Macau SAR


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