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Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

Gabriel Munoz Moreno
United States

The constant change and growth of the human population that we are experiencing these days produce a collateral damage in the natural ecosystems where the cities stand all around the world. This damage is produced by today´s building and urban systems that do not take into account the natural environment where they are built. The expected and rapid population growth for the first half of the 21st century, propelled specially by the developing countries, results in a need to research about alternatives to today´s building methods in order to provide construction tools and guides that makes urban growth compatible with the preservation of our environment. Moreover, I believe in the power of architecture to change the future of our cities and generations, and with that, our thinking and behavior towards an understanding between the places that we inhabit and our ways of living in them.

The project stems from the analysis of the population growth of Hangzhou, China. The direct consequence observed was the partial destruction of the ecosystem on which the city stands, the wetlands. The construction system used so far does not support them. In China and all around the world, the population will continue growing, and the continued use of the current construction system, will end up destroying their ecosystems entirely.

As a solution to this, I propose a new construction system that is organized, distributed and expands as cells throughout the city. This cell is elevated above the ground, to make way for the recovery of the wetlands. To do so, it should be translucent and permeable, without disrupting the natural cycles of the sun, air and water, which allows the natural regeneration of any ecosystem.

Furthermore, the cell is supplied with different “inputs” to make possible the habitability and the cleaning of the wetlands, using its waste to encourage self-sufficiency. These mimic different parts of natural cells and enables our construction cell to be a living element, a system in constant change and growth, regenerating the ecosystems, in this case the wetlands of Hangzhou. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

Yongsu Choung, Ge Zhang, Chuanjingwei Wang
South Korea, China

The skyscraper is one of the type of architecture which is still under the strong influence of Modern architecture. Generally, a skyscraper is limited to flat floors for efficiency of construction and glass façades for placing premium on expansive vistas of the city below. Therefore, skyscrapers have not changed very much since their introduction unlike other types of architecture, since the height and the transparency of skyscrapers are the absolute standards to determine their values in this era.

This project avoids the typical skyscraper and aims to create a new typology. Instead of approaching the design with an existing architectural methodology, the design is approached from the skin. To be precise, the research focused on, not on a skin of an existing architecture but, a skin of living organism, a shark skin, in order to adopt its system for a façade design. The analysis of the configuration of a shark skin, especially how it is formed in macro and micro scales has led to the idea of ‘Deep Skins’ in which, different inner volumes of the tower is derived from various skin types. The idea of Deep Skins has a potential of being developed to the scale of a tower.

The proposed building is located on 157 West 57th street in Manhattan, New York City, between the 6th and the 7th avenues. The layout of programs follows that of a typical tower in New York City. However, the tower is composed of accumulated volumes transformed from a prototype, instead of flat floors, according to the programs. The resulting design stands as a towering interlocks of tightly packed units that are varied beyond the norm and yet provides a desirable level of privacy and intimacy simultaneously. The sense of intimacy from the interlocking and from the billowing interiority introduces a new sense of community for a type of structure that is bound to be highly liquid and mobile in terms of occupancy throughout its existence.

In that sense, the idea of Deep Skins is about intimacy as much as it is about vistas, or precisely, about how to approach the vistas that are invaluable. Like in a conventional skyscraper, the inhabitants and pied-à-terre investors would admire the vistas, but instead of simply panning across a homogeneous panorama from floor to floor, they are looking out from round apertures that cantilever out midair, urging one step out further, with more embrace towards the physicality of the tower itself. While highly energetic when seen from the west 58th street towards the base and the streets, calm moments are found towards the top and the facades facing its adjacent neighbors.

As shown in sections, such consistent attitude of viewing is attended towards vistas created in the core of the tower itself where vertical volumes of great heights can be found and in the large opening a midway up the tower that functions as an outdoor sky lobby. While manifold like floor plates and billowing walls vary individual experiences, the attitude of approaching vistas unites the tower looking out and looking in as it does vertically.

New York City is experiencing a new golden era of high-rise constructions, with skyscrapers booming all over Manhattan in recent years and a 300 meter tall tower is currently under construction on the site. The idea of this tower is a counterpoint to the much ingrained transparent and spectacular qualities of glass towers that are perpetuated throughout the modern skyscraper architecture. Read the rest of this entry »

Already There

By: admin | March - 26 - 2015

Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

Ramiro Chiriotti Alvarez
Spain

Why we still design cities by dividing the ground in urban plots and defining heights for each building? Why don’t we think our cities as a whole, planning them from the three dimensions at the same time, allowing us to define positions freely for our constructions in the space (x,y,z axes).

Let’s think and create new cities in a three dimensional development system that won’t consider the ground as the main one, and will permit to have several of them “floating” on air. That would allow the creation of new green areas on the rooftops, creating new forms of living, working, circulation… and public space relationships.

Thinking about cities through a three dimensional point of view could be a good way of hyper-densifying cities even when they are extremely dense without affecting negatively the existing living conditions. This is the case I examine, taking as an example of a very dense urban fabric: in the Haizu district in the city of Guangzhou, China.

In many Asian cities, urban development has come about extremely quickly in the last decades, promoting overly dense areas with very low living standards, making life significantly harder for inhabitants.

These zones reflect the culture and history of the country and demonstrate the growing trends in Asia to live in close proximity with small spaces. However these situations are sometimes negative in many aspects and ask for solutions, local way of living cannot be changed overnight doing a complete “tabula rasa”. That’s why considering examples that took the general 2D planning method, with a complete anarchy resulted into “incredible” monsters like the Kowloon city. Thinking the cities as a whole won’t let that happen but will permit a very dense fabric with good quality of air conditions, light, green space access, mobility…

The “Hyper building” hasn’t come out from subjective interests or aesthetics preferences. The project is a direct use and re-interpretation of the existing urban fabric geometry. While it responds to a certain subjective approach, the main concept that shapes the “Hyper building” is that the final form appeared from a parametric composition made by the superposition of existing site layers, extracted from the footprints of the urban fabric connecting them in such a way that every floor is different from the others.

In order to maintain and build new housing and activities structures the project imagines a development where the inhabitants of the existing site will be involved in the decisions of the future city; which buildings will stay, which will be taken down, and how the city performs on a larger scale. The result of that proces would be a mutable and adaptable tower cluster that emerges from the existing conditions to establish a spatial net of buildings and green spaces.

The Hyper building is conceived from the idea of being almost an independent city, with its typology will allow different use distributions, creating and keeping all kind of activities together (commercial spaces, production, offices, schools, health centers, small farming spaces, warehouses…) to maximize the quality of living of its inhabitants.

The overall guiding concept is that the “Hyper building” emerges from the existing fabric like the roots of a tree emerge from the ground. This building develops different density conditions and through this process, the building cluster expand horizontally and begins to increase in height, transforming into a tower.

This 3D participation planning system could be adapted to the urban fabric of the neighboring areas, as well as in many other Chinese cities, which all have similar conditions and seem to be overlooked as potential interesting sites for new urban poles. Read the rest of this entry »

Times Squared 3015

By: admin | March - 26 - 2015

Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

Blake Freitas, Grace Chen, Alexi Kararavokiris
United States

As our planet continues to overpopulate, Times Squared 3015 is an opportunity to explore the spatial, environmental, and experimental possibilities of vertical living. This tower embraces the problems of overpopulation, farm production, oxygen generation, and the re-purposing of obsolete infrastructure.

The tower grounds itself in the heart of the city that never sleeps: Times Square, New York City. The existing framework of Times Square take on a different, three-dimensional form, as the tower rises above it, driving the concept of Manhattanization to new heights. Peaking over a mile above the city, the tower pushes the boundaries of how vertical a skyscraper can be. When fully taken advantage of, Times Squared 3015 proves the skyscraper typology capable of fitting an entire city within itself.

Vertical farming, beach, mountain range, stadium, redwood forest, housing, and offices–destinations that are normally farther apart, are now stacked vertically. Each one of these destination zones consists of an individualized block or module, much like ¬ the different districts in a horizontal city. Open space is carved out of the south-facing side of the module for maximum solar exposure, regulating the destination environments within. This creates a series of L-shaped ‘living’ clusters — the city fab¬ric — that surround and integrate with the natural environment.

Located above and below the residential/destination modules are a series of retail-themed entertainment modules or ‘sky malls’ that draw upon the vitality of Times Square and extend the same excitement and energy vertically throughout the tower. Finally, using the idea of the skyscraper as makeshift observation deck, an enclosed city in the sky resides at the very top of the tower, providing dizzying views of the city within a city.

Circulation is handled by the main core, a massive elevator system/vertical subway that minimizes travel time by only stopping at the twelve major modules that make up the tower. From there, travelers need only use a series of secondary elevators / stairs to journey vertically within each module.

This vertical organization introduces a new kind of daily life. Farmers tend to vertical farms that take advantage of southern exposure and provide oxygen and sustenance to the tower’s community. Residents have a beach or a redwood forest right in their own backyard. A shopping mall or the latest football game are just an elevator ride away. All of these factors combine to create a lively and dynamic self-sustaining city experience for a rapidly growing future population. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

Nikolay Zaytsev, Elizaveta Lopatina
Russia

This project is based on a complete transformation of an Arctic hub port. It is necessary to create comfortable working and living environment of the Northern Sea Route transport infrastructure. The initial idea is to design a separate anthropogenic microcosm, detached from the harsh Arctic environment, but based on the dynamic equilibrium between people and nature. The structure of the proposed building is same to the structure of nature, the earth’s crust, the structure of usual human perception. Symbolically imaginative solution consists of two main parts: a square of a “man-made” land and circles of supporting heaven pillars. The result of designing is a single “horizontal skyscraper” high-rise building bearing all the functions of a port city, with a possibility of expending.

The aim of the project is to increase population of Dikson city from 674 to 5,000 through attracting people with various skills from all over Russian Federation. The proposed building is a multifunctional complex that can replace the existing ruined port city. Two distinct types of housing are created – housing for permanent workers with families and housing for temporary workers. Residential and public areas are augmented with large green recreational areas. For this purpose the project employs natural and artificial lighting, since the Polar Night lasts three and a half months in this region.

One of high priority tasks of this project is to redefine the energy supply of the city and the region on the whole. It requires switching from scarce fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly energy sources. In Dikson the most available and abundant energy sources are wind and tidal power. The output capacity of designed wind and tidal power plants could reach 500 MW, which is enough to power a city double the size of St. Petersburg.

Water supply is another important aspect to reach sustainable development. Because of the small amount of fresh water available the project involves the use of desalination plants and rainwater harvesting. Green zones’ irrigation systems use water coming from the water recycling system.

The proposed building is deliberately separated from the harsh environment, and at the same time is transparent and light-weight. The internal building’s space is visually exposed to Kara Sea, Dikson Island and the mainland.

This project is expected to renovate region’s development, attracting both government and private investors, and to become a key point in global transport infrastructure. In this case the project would be a start of the comprehensive Arctic exploration. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

David Sepulveda, Wagdy Moussa, Ishaan Kumar, Wesley Townsend, Colin Joyce, Arianna Armelli, Salvador Juarez
United States

Seen from space, the majority of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans – that makes up 71% of the surface of the Earth, with the remaining 29% for land. But what percentage of the Earth’s land surface is desert? Deserts actually make up 33%, or 1/3rd of the land’s surface area. Desertification is yet another consequence of climate change that takes a great toll on biodiversity, natural resources and, ultimately, the lives of people who inhabit drylands. Along with measures to curb and compensate it, there are several solutions for bringing life back to arid lands. It is called “reversing desertification”, and it has a great deal to do with permaculture. Permaculture is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

“You can solve all the world’s problems in a garden.” – Geoff Lawton

The largest non-polar desert in the world is the Sahara Desert, a subtropical desert in northern Africa; it covers a surface area of about 3.5 million square miles. Just to put that into perspective it is as big as the United States of America, only difference is that desertification and land degradation increases about 12 million hectares each year, the size of New York State!

Ironically, where the Sahara Desert ends is where agriculture started, Ancient Egypt – Cairo. The civilization of ancient Egypt was indebted to the Nile River and its dependable seasonal flooding. The river’s predictability and the fertile soil allow the Egyptians to build an empire on the basis of great agricultural wealth. Egyptians are credited as being one of the first groups of people to practice agriculture on a large scale. This in return created such monumental cities like Giza that features the Great Sphinx and Pyramid constructed around 2584 BC, which is the resting place of the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. This is the largest of the three pyramids that make up the Giza Necropolis, along with the pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure. All these facts lead to the same re-occurring issues that we deal with in today’s progress to evolve not only technologically, but socially as a human race. We put too much emphasis on materiality, consumption and tourism and not enough back to the point of origin from the inside out.

Concept

Our project “Bio-Pyramid” proposes that we throw away the status-norm on historic preservation/ tourism and create a super-hybrid of re-activating areas that truly make a global difference. “Bio-Pyramid” is a non-conventional skyscraper that not only operates as a “bio-sphere” but also as a gateway from Cairo across the Sahara Desert; linking a sustainable armature to reverse desertification from a monumental to small nomadic scale. This proposal is not only a viable economical gain for cities like Giza and Cairo, but also stands as an architectural eco-techno statement that mixed-use typologies are more relevant as we diverse globally and sustainably. With over population and consumption on the rise we need to find a way to merge different typologies

“The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.” – Stephen Hawking

Geometric Evolution

Geometry has always been a critical driving force since ancient times to now. We can trace different architectural movements from function follows form or form follows function, to the abstract randomness of today’s technological capabilities. We can also justify certain typological skyscrapers being certain uses and shapes through climate, finance, art, politics, tourism, etc., but we rarely explore the capabilities of morphing several disciplines into one. Bio-pyramid does just that, it is an evolutionary morphisms of the ancient pyramids + modern skyscraper + bio-sphere. The second layer to this complex hybrid is that it serves a second agenda, in that we do not only consider this a historic preservation project, but also strives to de-centralize tourism and actually function as a “living machine” back to its local communities. Bio-pyramid investigates the relationships between architecture, urbanism, landscape, historic preservation and technology with an emphasis on using environmental performance as a generator for architectural form. Read the rest of this entry »

Vernacular Sky-Terrace

By: admin | March - 26 - 2015

Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

KHZNH Studio: Amir Izzat Adnan, Nur Farhanah Saffie
Malaysia

City populations are growing faster than the city infrastructure can adapt. The world’s cities are growing because of population shift especially concerning rural to city areas in search of jobs and other opportunities in hopes for improvement of lives and creating better future for the younger generations. Along with the growth and expansion of cities, comes the rise in environmental issues and problems. It comes to the role of future architects, planners and developers to achieve green and sustainable strategies where modern buildings can rely on new forms of energy.

Although most skyscrapers provide solutions of catering the density of population with the spaces they provided as compared to the available space on land, it is highly argued that they do not provide good street-level experience that hence, totally disconnect the street cultures from vertical structures. This disconnection has led to the difficulties, in a case of high-rise apartment living, for families to experience the community living where the proximity to other facilities available in street culture is higher instead of being constrained in the walls and perimeter of the vertical structures they live in.

The exploration of horizontal skyscraper aims to offer dwellers a maximum recreational experience almost as much as living on the ground or surface of the streets. This horizontal skyscraper is building a community where neighborhood qualities and everyday life practices are carried through. People relate to these living environments as part of their identity and, thus, neighborhood community living becomes personally meaningful and relevant. In fact, studies have shown that people who live in close-knit communities are statistically safer and less likely to be burglarized.

By honoring the culture of the nature setting, the Vernacular Sky-Terrace invites visionary ideas for Kampung Baru to become a better city without ‘touching’ the existing fabric. The basic idea for this project is to elevate the existing site and improvise! The decision of hovering over the existing site is inspired by the aims to create one community consisting of office spaces, apartments, commercial area and public landscape also to generate the largest possible green space open to the public, right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur city. Read the rest of this entry »

Unexpected Aurora in Chernobyl

By: admin | March - 26 - 2015

Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

Zhang Zehua, Song Qiang, Liu Yameng
China

So forgettable, so engraved. Time dating back to April 26, 1986 ,a quiet night. With a big bang , the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, the amount of radiation is about 400 times of the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima. About seven million people were forced to leave their homeland in two days, they had no time to say goodbye to their present life.

But not everyone accepts the arrangement of fate. The negative effects of radiation have been dafeated by a large group of settlers, more and more people are returning to their homeland which located in the restricted area, what can be sure is that they use a different way to look at the risk which they bear . They survived from the harshest environments in the 20th century, Stalin caused the Great Famine in Ukraine in 1930s,which caused millions of people to death, they also experienced the atrocities of the Nazis in 1940s. Therefore, after the Soviet government is stable for years, the Chernobyl incident happen, they do not want to leave because of the enemy which is invisible . There is a kind of heroic toughness and frank reality in their character.

For the people who return , home is no longer a transitory concept , it is a force even to resist the radiation. Their spirit will let us review the meaning of the relative risk and grab a kind of internal emotional contact of motherland— Fallen leaves return to the roots.

This project aims to build a skyscraper for them, the air purification equipment and water purification equipment are contained in the skyscraper, the solar power is used to provide energy for internal devices. the skyscraper is just like a Garden of Eden, a new and safe life will start from here. Read the rest of this entry »

Cloud Capture

By: admin | March - 26 - 2015

Honorable Mention
2015 Skyscraper Competition

Taehan Kim, Seoung Ji Lee, Yujin Ha
Republic of Korea

Neither did we know at first that the juvenile yet ingenious imagination of touching and catching the cloud would bring balance to the Earth…

The mankind, despite their remarkable advancements, could not for once surpass the greatness of nature. In the face of devastating floods and droughts, our bests were mere building of dams and planting of trees. But one day, the abnormalities of climate started to exhibit signs of balance.

The balance comes from redistribution of cloud. Capturing then releasing the clouds from where they are affluent to scarce started to change the color of the planet Earth. The arid-yellow deserts transformed themselves as fresh green. Changes in the nature were only the start of all the other transformations to follow. Read the rest of this entry »

The exterior is defined by a 35 meter long facade that explains the visitors in a glance what they can find here: all that glitters is gold! The entrance is clearly marked. Here, the ‘nugget of gold’ has opened up to provide access to the ‘cave’ where the real golden treasures are safely displayed.

Contrary to the exterior of the building, which is very visible and prominent, the design of the interior is very modest. Everything is black, even the reflective floors and ceiling. In combination with the lighting, the attention is directed to the shining of the displayed jewelry of the gold dealers! And in the end, that is what it’s all about.

The building and its surroundings are designed in such a way with safety and ‘crash’ protection as part of the design. The inverted pyramids aren’t just functional – because of their triangular form they also enhance the design of the facade and match with the character of the Goud souk.

The golden facade of the Goud souk consists of relief panels with a triangular pattern. By repeating these panels throughout the whole facade with a varied orientation, a very diverse facade emerges, a real eye catcher. Thanks to the lighting between the panels, the golden facade shimmers day and night.

The power of the layout design of the interior of the Goud souk is the simplicity: the faceted form of the display cases provides a very large show case surface and excellent visibility. The displays of the jewelry are in fact extended into the hall.

Design: Liong Lie Architects
Photography: Hannah Anthonysz Read the rest of this entry »