Hardcover: 238 pages
eVolo Press; 2019
Jose Sánchez
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The Blindspot Initiative: Design Resistance and Alternative Modes of Practice documents the professional work of twenty-one design practices that are expanding their respective fields and hybridizing traditional design outputs through the intersection of other disciplines. The expansion of architectural and design practices toward the domain of robotics, material science, film, simulation, or software, redefine the skillsets required to engage with a creative output that challenges the conventions of established domains.

All practices curated in this volume, propose an autonomous approach towards design research, resisting the pervasive design competition model that requires free labor and speculative remuneration. The critique of such a model is present throughout this volume, rejecting the wasteful discarding of immaterial labor that is commonplace in the ‘winner takes all’ paradigm that currently dominates the design marketplace.

The hybridization of practice has, in many cases, aided a creative business proposition, one that seeks to engage not only through its final output but also through reconsidering the means of production. By blurring the boundaries between fields, design innovation can become more aware of the systemic interdependencies that often live in our current disciplinary blind spots.

The Blindspot Initiative, in its first incarnation as an exhibition in Los Angeles, was the result of a collaboration between Jason King, Biayna Bogosian, Sacha Baumann, and Jose Sanchez, to explore the space of self-financing and self-commissioning of new creative work. From the critique of competitions, The Blindspot Initiative attempts to create an alternative loop between design and resources, one in which the propagation and documentation of new knowledge developed in design research can economically sustain its production, generating a positive feedback loop between innovation and knowledge propagation.

Texts by Jenny Wu, Jason Kelly Johnson, David Gerber, Mustafa El-Sayed, and Kate Davies, introduce the designers by offering alternative perspectives on the contributions of the field of robotics, software, film, product design and prototype thinking, to the practice of architecture.

Each chapter presents work at the edge of the architectural discipline either coming from inside the discipline or approaching it from the outside. In purposefully attempting to expand the boundary of architectural practice, this volume aims to offer new avenues for students and young designers to expand the imagination of architecture and reject unethical practices that have become commonplace during the first years of practice.

eVolo Magazine is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Skyscraper Competition. The Jury selected 3 winners and 27 honorable mentions from 478 projects received. The annual award established in 2006 recognizes visionary ideas that through the novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations, challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments.

The FIRST PLACE was awarded to METHANESCRAPER designed by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia. The project is a vertical city-district in Belgrade that serves as landfill with recycling capabilities.

The recipients of the SECOND PLACE are Klaudia Gołaszewska and Marek Grodzicki from Poland for the project AIRSCRAPER. This proposal envisions a city-like skyscraper that cleans air of heavily polluted urban settlements.

CREATURE ARK: BIOSPHERE SKYSCRAPER designed by Zijian WanXiaozhi Qi, and Yueya Liu from the United Kingdom received the THIRD PLACE. The project is a nature reserve skyscraper with research facilities.

The Honorable Mentions include an ice dam skyscraper that prevents further melting of the ice caps, a wooden skyscraper that pushes the boundary of the use of timber in vertical structures, and a horizontal skyscraper for the US-Mexico border among other innovative projects.

The Jury was formed by Melike Altınısık [Founder and design principal Melike Altınısık Architects], Vincent Callebaut [Founder and design principal Vincent Callebaut Architectures], Marc Fornes [Founder and design principal THEVERYMANY], and Mitchell Joachim [Co-Founder and design principal of Terreform ONE].


By:  | April - 29 - 2019

First Place
2019 Skyscraper Competition

Marko Dragicevic

Basing its foundations on the outlines of the Belgrade city, the new infrastructure generated on the left bank of the Danube river aims to establish a balance in hypothetical context of environmental and social imbalances by forming a new socio-industrial element in the form of a new city district. This new urban structure, District 3, can be defined as an anticipated context of overpopulation and mass urbanization, where the complex of vertical landfill systems serves as a response to the ever-growing amounts of disposable waste, shortage of natural resources and usable space, transforming informal Belgrade structures into the mechanism of material, economic and societal recycling. Read the rest of this entry »


By:  | April - 29 - 2019

Second Place
2019 Skyscraper Competition

Klaudia Gołaszewska, Marek Grodzicki

The task of adapting cities to the impacts of air pollution is of great importance – megacities with their dense population, high traffic congestion and increasing CO2 emissions face major air pollution problems. Beijing is an alarming example of this problem. On certain days the city becomes nearly ‘uninhabitable’ due to dangerous levels of pollution. Around 1 million premature deaths per year, is a clear manifestation of this. Can architecture solve or help to alleviate the problem? Can we take one step further from Le Corbusier’s house as a machine for living, towards the skyscrapers as a machine for survival? Read the rest of this entry »

Third Place
2019 Skyscraper Competition

Zijian Wan, Xiaozhi Qi, Yueya Liu
United Kingdom


At multiple times in history and over different periods, the blue planet successfully breeds diversity of species at every inch on land and has experienced a level of natural climate change variability. The complex components of the ecosystem are undergoing constant changes, while a dynamic balance is getting harder to maintain. Seeing the latest period of rising global surface temperatures is without precedent indecent years, as well as the conflictive relationship between human activity and habitat degradation, the conservation of wildlife should not be ignored. In general, the entire ecosystem on earth is experiencing a hard time. If society continues the current trend of apathy, we are doomed towards a very bleak future. Read the rest of this entry »

Vertical Sustainable City

By:  | April - 29 - 2019

Honorable Mention
2019 Skyscraper Competition

BKV Group
United States

Titled “The Vertical Sustainable City,” the supertall skyscraper concept is an expression of the opportunities and constraints urbanistic contexts present to architects. Juxtaposing the idea of a sprawling, urban development, the vertical shape of the tower is a direct response to minimizing the structure’s footprint. The ground floors house commercial areas framed within a vertical mall concept, with a Food Production area directly above where residents and visitors are treated to a vertical, urban farm. Traditionally, agriculture is trucked into cities from rural areas, but this tower posits a farm-to-table experience where food can be grown, harvested, and consumed on-site in a single, vertical structure. Having access to the vertical farm are residences in the upper half of the tower that also feature access to drone landing pads. There, electric and solar-powered drones can dock at or near the elevated housing units – taking traffic off the congested street-level, and into the air. Rising to the very top of the tower is the Office Area, arranged around wind turbines generating energy, reducing the tower’s carbon footprint, and creating water collection systems for the farming, living, and working programs. En masse, the Vertical Sustainable City creates a holistic live/work/play environment for urbanites, effectively responding to the context and elements impacting modern-day cities. Read the rest of this entry »

Horizontal City Of No Nation

By:  | April - 29 - 2019

Honorable Mention
2019 Skyscraper Competition

Zhichen Gong, Yong Chen, Tianrong Wu, Yingzhi He, Congying He

The world is witnessing the highest level of displacement on record. According to UNHCR, by the end of 2016, 65.5 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, and human rights violation. That was an increase of 300,000 people over the previous years, and the world’s displaced population is still at a record high. Also, during the year, 10.3 million people were newly displaced and the speed of new displacements was equal to 20 people every minute.

Under such circumstances, how to resettle the innocent people in war, not only by providing temporary camps, but also by enabling them to continue their lives in familiar environments and maintain normal function of society is the project of the propose. Read the rest of this entry »

Trekking Landmark Skyscraper

By:  | April - 29 - 2019

Honorable Mention
2019 Skyscraper Competition

Fábio Ferreira Neves

Graubünden is the largest and one of the mostbeautiful cantons in Switzerland. Entirelymountanious, it has manymarkable structures on the mostspecial and not easlyacessible places. Theyused to befortressesfrom the 13th and 14th century whichwereprogressivelyabandoned. Nowadays, theseruinscrown somedistintictive topographie location of the SwissAlps and due to the difficultaccess, remainforgotten.

Known as a perfect place for winter sports, Switzerland has manyspecial and longhikes to do in summer as well.The design workswiththeseelements, a family of reusedfortressesalong the trails.

To be able to protect the ancient structures, somemonolithic roofs are addedtobring a new life to theseruinedfortress. Itsexistingstone walls, frame the floor of the new volumes. This adition covers, protectthe oldruins and providenewshelters for the hikers. The new landmarkshave an important impact thatguide the hikers. Read the rest of this entry »

Ice Dam Skyscraper

By:  | April - 29 - 2019

Honorable Mention
2019 Skyscraper Competition

Jae Min Jo, Geonuk Yun, Kyungjun Park, Hobin Bae, Jiyeon Kim, Weonkyung Cho, Ganghui Lee
South Korea

The project began with the belief that skyscrapers, a collection of architectural and high-tech technologies, could be an alternative to solve the Earth’s environmental problems. In this sense, we have been trying to take an architectural challenge to preserve glaciers that are melting as a result of global warming.

Our project destination was focused on Greenland’s continental ice sheet to propose a structure that prevents the melting of glaciers. Especially, it is intended to prevent the melting of glaciers formed between canyons. Glacier is exposed to the air at the area where it connects to the sea, resulting in faster melting. Furthermore, the melting rate is further accelerated by Crevasse and Moulin which are formed by flowing down water. We would like to prevent the loss of glaciers through proposing a structure that would freeze the ice tightly again in areas where it melts.

In this project, we would like to propose a structure that can make the ice density of melting glaciers hard again. The construction process also had to be coordinated with the structural characteristics of the glacier.

The Ice-dam we are proposing here is a skyscraper that functions to prevent the melting of glaciers. In particular, this project is proposed with the idea of the structural module called Ice-ball, which is a tectonic element that strengthens the freezing of glaciers and forming the construction structure and space. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2019 Skyscraper Competition

Amanda Gunawan, Joel Wong
United States

The future of cities
With continuous expansion, will cities reach a looming point of plateau where its growth starts to hinder its efficacy? In the first place, why do we live in a city? What makes living in a city so attractive? It is simply a hyper-efficiency consisting of a working system that is the result of the combinatory forces of great infrastructure and density, working tangentially to support growth. This growth makes a city abundant in opportunities but what then happens to a system whose demand and supply forces becomes imbalanced? There becomes an oversupply of inhabitants and a lack of infrastructure supporting it and vice versa- the state that most “great” cities are headed. Over-pollution and over-population will occur and efficacy becomes compromised with growth. When the drawbacks of automation start to outweigh its benefits, where do we go next and in what direction? Read the rest of this entry »