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Finalist  – 2010 Skyscraper Competition

Aaron Olko
United States

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The Growth Tower was inspired by the possibility of an industry driven by genetically modified and hybrid organic products. Today, the development of organic products for use in every field from healthcare to architecture has become a trend. This progression grows exponentially as the demand for sustainable and responsible products pushes innovation. Where today we may be able to re-grow human limbs and produce organic containers that degrade on demand, tomorrow we may be able to develop and grow genetically modified organic buildings and even entire city blocks that respond and develop to programmatic needs and user desires.

Being a genetically modified living organism, the Growth Tower implies the manipulation of a host product, such as a vine. In modifying the host’s genetic code, the design stage takes place in a lab as well as in the studio. While the architect acknowledges programmatic needs, urban responsibilities, and design aesthetics, the geneticist modifies the host to fulfill the architect’s requirements. This process is conducted with the idea in mind that when the tower is finished with the design stage it will grow to a state in which it may be habitable and completely modifiable for the flux of future demands. 

The Growth Tower questions where these developments will lead us. Will the practice of biological mimicry and the advancement of science in industry lead us to biological manipulation? Will we eventually live in a society that is sustained by an organic infrastructure?  The demands of society and the growth of science in industry suggest this possibility. The lines that divide professions of different qualities will be blurred and the role of the geneticist, the engineer, the urban planner, the architect, and maybe even the botanist will be further intertwined.

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