City Skyscraper

By:  | April - 10 - 2017

Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Jitendra Sawant


A city which is almost entirely built by private Industry. But when you look at the city closely it’s a city which is a direct result of the hyper capitalist consumerist economy. It has a private metro line, fire bridged, energy system and even security forces.

As much as this has facilitated the growth of the city it has resulted into some strange happenings in the city.

According to the Belgian philosopher, Lieven de Cauter, we experience our civilization only in capsular states. Based on this hypothesis, Gurgaon NOW asks what consequences such encapsulation – what Peter Sloterdijk identifies as spheres or foam formation, could have on our urban condition. The question is pursued through the architectural program of a city of call centers – that is, could serve as a model and organizational prototype for a city and the constant expansion of urbanization? The design tasks contextualize the Gurgaon as a prototype relative to the existing growing cities in developing countries. The result of the design process is a strange city building whose formal principle derives from the misfit between other, different buildings and whose form is at once familiar and strange.

The project is made from merger of the existing 64 commercial building in cyber city part of Gurgaon. It has a volume of a one million cubic meters. And would be housing 35000-45000 people at large. Read the rest of this entry »

In Two Minds: Magnetic Cemetery

By:  | April - 10 - 2017

Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Marine Joli, Judith Haggiag
France, Canada


New York is a multicultural city where many beliefs and religions coexist. Death gives rise to various dispositions, as evidenced by the many cemeteries in the city. Religion has an evolving character.

We assume that in the near future we will see a standardization of practices, beliefs, where attachment to the body will become non-existent. This sends to question the future of the cemetery. At present, in view of the increase of the population, verticalization appears as a solution against the shortage of urban spaces. The cemetery establishes itself by digging in the basement spaces proportional to the different religions, while making the case of the current problems. Then, the more it springs, the more the present spaces will detach themselves from the basic uses of the cemetery. It will become confused with the sky and then disappear : the cemetery has no place to be. This vertical edifice represents the image of the evolution of manners with respect to death, body and spirit.

The building itself detaches from its envelope. It is like the allegory of the progressive detachment of man from the body.

In the den of the cemetery there is a generator of magnetic waves and a reserve for the retransmission of energies. While being light, This system propels the platforms and makes them move horizontally and vertically. This technique offers greater freedom in the design of the building.

Challenging the systems of known distributions, this, offers a new way of apprehending spaces. By genera- ting a code, platforms are able to levitate from point A to point B. This means that the user has the possibility to choose the type of space he wants according to his needs As well as the route or the stops he wants to carry out within the building itself. It is the cemetery that modulates around the man, who’s static, remaining a prey to his mourning. It is reconsideration of the cemetery but also of the skyscraper and its capacities by magnetizing its spaces.

The notion of mourning being peculiar to each one, there is no way to apprehend it. In this image, the cemetery itself offers infinity of routes and atmospheres capable of meeting the needs of the visitors. For this purpose, a home screen with artificial intelligence recognizes users thanks to his fingerprints, in order to suggest to him possible routes according to his moods, desires and habits. Read the rest of this entry »

Data Cemetery Skyscraper

By:  | April - 10 - 2017

Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Joanna Targowicz, Mateusz Binkowski


Death and Oblivion
Death is inseparable aspect of our life. Cemeteries are usually located very close to us, occupied a lot of valuable land within city center which can be returned to citizens as a new, vibrant public space. However, it is very important to take care of our history and personal experiences, and share them with other people. Nowadays people tend to forget about importance of achievements done by our ancestors. Constantly changing world needs a new kind of medium to immortalize people’s cultural impact on society.

Data Cemetery
The following is a proposal of new unique form of cemetery, not as a burial ground but infinite archive of memories and civilization milestones. Cloud like structure of the building is filled with diamond data storage particles made from ashes of the dead. The data cubes contain their speeches and messages to future generations. It provides a unique opportunity of reviving memories of other people, and proves that everyone has a moralizing story to tell.

Testament of Civilization
Rapidly growing and constantly changing, chaotic world also needs a solution oriented towards creation of protected archive to preserve world heritage and achievements of world’s brightest minds.  Over the centuries many cultural relicts, works of art and manuscripts has been destroyed in social and economical conflicts. The Cloud in its diamond-based memory, also stores this type of data in a form of brightest people’s memories that can be presented by using holographic projections. Instead of creating depressing, silence empty space, the complex works as a learning facility and a monument of all humanity.

Tree of Knowledge
Building acts as a modern type of memorial tree that can survive harsh environment and natural disasters, because of its structural integrity. Its shape forms a sculptural timeline spanned across full height that represents current condition of the society. Thicker branches are sign of natural cataclysm, war or epidemic, thinner ones represent a peaceful time.

Diamonds are forever
Traditional methods of data storage are very fragile and have live expectancy between 10- 30 years. Books, photography and films are also very vulnerable to external factors.

Human body contains 23% of carbon, which can be transformed to diamonds by applying pressure and high temperature. Recent studies lead by Siddharth Dhomkar, a physicist at the City College of New York demonstrate the possibility of using diamond as a platform for the super dense optical data storage by creating imperfections in their atomic structure.

By forming a system that can survive couple thousand years intact, the common conception of ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ is denied. The Cloud is a monument of people immortalization.

Archiving Machine
After entering the complex, the body is transported to underground part of the building where the cremation process takes place. After cremation carbon is separated from the ashes. Next step is heating amorphous carbon to temperature of 2500°C to create graphite. Then the temperature is lowered to 1480°C and 5.99843885 × 10^9 Pascals of pressure is applied.

After the process, the data is put into diamonds by creating laser engraved, sorted imperfections in its structure. After the process is completed fresh “Archiving Cells” are placed into selected Memories Cluster and become an integral part of the building.

To provide self-sufficiency, the building is powered by geothermal power plant located in lowest part of the building. The Cloud is also reducing a carbon footprint of our society by converting excess CO2 into diamond composite which is used to reinforce the main structure of the building.

New Beginning
Because the data stored inside diamond memory are almost indestructible Cloud Archive will be a greatest achievement of mankind. After global cataclysm it will remain a silent witness of our society and will become guidance for the new one. Maybe someday, someone will discover an intact data, which lay new foundation for another civilization. Read the rest of this entry »

High Density Urban Order

By:  | April - 10 - 2017

Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Lisa Albaugh, Ben Bourgoin, Jamie Edindjiklian, Roberto Jenkins, Justin Oh
United States


London’s skyline can be thought of as a collage city – where the unique individuality of each tower prevents it from engaging with the urban scale of its surroundings. This divergent urban order is neither unique to London nor a condition that will diminish without careful and direct intervention. Our project seeks to address this collage condition by creating a complex that is at once individual and collective as a field of pencil towers blending seamlessly between one another – creating a new and iconic urban order as an archetype for London’s continued growth.

Bishopsgate Goodsyard is the largest remaining undeveloped piece of land in central London, however it is not vacant. Currently occupied by a massive brick viaduct and bisected by an Overground rail-line, the Bishopsgate Goodsyard is a unique opportunity for density and diversity to redefine the conventions of the typical skyscraper while addressing the distinct character of the site.

The project is organized into four main components: a high-density tower, a mid-rise neighborhood, a train station that bridges between the two, and a park landscape that mediates between the existing viaduct and the various access points throughout the site.  Each of the four components are given their own unique character, and by blending them into a continuous field they produce a differentiated system that accommodates diverse and overlapping programs at a hyper dense urban scale.

This project decentralizes the typically bulky tower core into finer perimeter elements. By rearranging the crucial tower components to the exterior – structure, elevators, stairs, and mechanical systems – the tower facade is instead articulated by the elements that are so often hidden away, creating a distinct appearance from street level and against the urban skyline.

Early material studies focused on bifurcation and “bundling” techniques to visualize complex mathematical formulas, exploring potential moments of density versus open and loose strands that suggested larger voids or spaces.

The concentrated “bundling” of towers allows for a closer proximity between each high-rise while maintaining significant views, light, and air. These towers converge and diverge – floor plates connect and split apart – addressing the diversity of uses occurring within the tower through scalar shifts in the available area ¬– from residential units to hotel units, corporate offices to start-ups, large retail stores to quiet cafés. This layering of buildings and programs causes the silhouette of the project to change from every perspective – its appearance is never the same from any two angles in the city – it is curious, ethereal, and poised.

The blending of four distinct architectural typologies addresses a diversity of urban functions, from living, working, recreation, and transportation. Respectful of its greater surroundings, this proposal creates a distinct sense of place in the city of London, a significant contribution to her public realm for pedestrians and city alike. Read the rest of this entry »

Parallel Manhattan

By:  | April - 10 - 2017

Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Zhiyong Dong, Jiongcheng Mou, Xiuping Han, Xingyu Liu


Manhattan is the most densely populated district of New York, where there are massive towering skyscrapers. Although the skyscraper is the hallmark of the modern metropolis, it’s necessary to pay attention to the existing problem when we concern the superiority of skyscrapers at the same time.

However, skyscrapers in saving the land are not absolutely, and it is actually have very high requirements on the surrounding environment, such as road traffic, virescence, parking, etc. The higher the building is, the more the need for the surrounding facilities and open areas. For the whole city, the density of dense high-rise buildings can not only bring inconvenience to people’s lives, but also make people feel depressed, and it’s not conducive to people’s physical and mental health.

In order to solve the problems such as the narrow space of the city, the traffic congestion and so on, we upgrade the ground, dividing the urban space into two independent parallel spaces. Ultimately, the parallel Manhattan born. Each person, or everything, will produce different results in different spaces, but the time in this space is the same as that of the original urban space.

The new urban space is created in the parallel space, which is characterized by diversified functions and diversified forms, which is suitable for the diversity of different needs, and provides users with many choices. All kinds of public spaces carry various functions such as transportation, communication, rest, walking, watching, fitness, entertainment, catering, presentation, education, celebration and other functions. A variety of people, a variety of activities, a variety of events and a variety of stories converge to generate the vitality of the place, which is the charm of parallel space. The residents and foreign tourists who are desirous to read the city, experience the city will choose to enter the parallel universe to enjoy the life, enjoy the happiness. Parallel space has become the source of city environment, the essence of multi-culture carrier and the unique charm of the existing building, also the intensive high-level problem of skyscrapers has been solved.

In view of the height of skyscrapers in Manhattan, we set up the parallel space above the ground 120m. Taking into account the lighting of the lower space, we choose glass as the main structural material. In a variety of building materials, due to the property of glass——reflective and transparent, the glass is not blocked from the original facade of the buildings. In terms of visual and spatial principles, existing buildings will not be weakened, and with light and movement of people, the whole space is endowed with vitality .For the structure, the shape of Pyramid, aspect ratio is 4:3, and majority hemline is 16m, minority 36m, in order to distinguish different space size. The netted steel not only plays the role of supporting and carrying, but also endows the glass with a kind of strength and beauty. Pyramid belongs to the ancient Egyptian where there are expansive. By using modern material to write the most ancient symbols, new glass Pyramid and Manhattan skyscrapers become into entirety.

Parallel space has important significance to establish the city space, project, and the new order. With the development of the city, the population density and the problem of traffic congestion will follow. Accordingly, the parallel Manhattan, the parallel New York, the parallel the United States or even the parallel world will successively come into being. Read the rest of this entry »

Grotto interior view. Fabric  Photo: Dall'Anese

Grotto interior view. Photo: Fabrice Dall’Anese

Digital Grotesque II – a full-scale 3D printed grotto – has premiered at the Centre Pompidou’s Imprimer le monde exhibition.

This fantastically ornamental grotto demonstrates how leaps in computation and fabrication technologies can make new architectural worlds tangible. It turns a computational form of 1.3 billion surfaces into 7 tons of printed sandstone.

The grotto is optimized to present highly differentiated and diverse geometries that forge a rich and stimulating spatial experience for the observer. A subdivision algorithm was exploits the 3D printer’s full potential by creating porous, multi-layered structures with spatial depth. A single volume spawns millions of branches, growing and folding into a complex topological structure. Hundreds of square meters of surface are compressed into a 3.5m high block that forms an organic landscape between the man-made and the natural.

Standing in front of the grotto, one is struck by a hitherto unseen richness of detail that is at times overwhelming. Digital Grotesque II is a testament to and celebration of a new kind of architecture that leaves behind traditional paradigms of rationalization and standardization and instead emphasizes the viewer’s perception, evoking marvel, curiosity and bewilderment.

Digital Grotesque II in figures:
Algorithmically generated geometry with 1.35 billion surfaces
156 GB production data
3D printed out of seven tons of sandstone.
280 μm layer resolution
Dimensions: 3.45m x 3.1m x 2.0m
Design development: 2 years / 3D Printing: 1 month / Assembly: 2 days

Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger

Michael Thoma, Philippe Steiner, Matthias Leschock, Alvaro Lopez, Demetris Shammas, Allegra Stucki, Florentin Duelli, Jan Francisco Anduaga, Katharina Wepler, Lorenz Brunner, Nicolas Harter, Dominik Keller, Max Spett, and Alexander Canario

Partners and Sponsors:
Chair for Digital Buildings Technologies, ETH Zurich
Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Christenguss AG
Bosshard & Co. Ag
Elektro Suter GmbH

Digital Grotesque II is a commission by Centre Pompidou, Paris, for its permanent collection. Research for the project was carried out at the Chair for Digital Building Technologies, ETH Zurich. The geometry was calculated on the High-Performance Computing Cluster EULER at ETH Zurich. Components were printed at Christenguss AG.


Grotto detail. Photo: Michael Hansmeyer

Grotto detail. Photo: Michael Hansmeyer


Grotto interior view. Photo: Demetris Shammas


Grotto front view. Photo: Fabrice Dall’Anese


Grotto top view. Photo: Michael Lyrenmann


Urban Complex Adaptive Systems

Monday 26 June – Thursday 6 July 2017

The main goal of the Visiting School is to explore the complexity of Guatemala with a special focus on finding out the connections between its general extreme conditions and the local or specific responses. Each year, the VS explores a different topic or issue through a 11-day workshop. In 2017, the VS will be focussed on Lake Atitlán, one of the most important natural and cultural icons of Guatemala as well as an important symbolic and spiritual landmark.

We will explore the lake by conducing a wide range of activities. From flying drones to filming interviews to local people, from downloading, visualizing and analysing data from different sources to conducting local surveys to get specific information. We will gain different insights into the lake and its physical and social environment, from different perspectives, and we will eventually work on diverse visions for the future of the lake. Different lectures and conferences will take place throughout the whole workshop, articulating and informing the work in progress and the discussion on the different topics addressed.

The 11-day workshop will take place at three different locations. The meeting point for all participants will be Guatemala City, from where the group will travel to Santa Catarina, where we will have a 5-day stay and will get a first-hand experience at the Lake Atitlán. There, the aim will be to explore the lake, investigate its environmental conditions and meet the particular communities that inhabit the area. After staying at the lake, the workshop will continue with a 2-day stay at the Casa Popenoe, a 1762 colonial villa in Antigua Guatemala, the former capital of the country, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, the workshop will continue with a 4-day stay in Guatemala City, at the facilities of the Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) campus, where we will develop different proposals based on the previous analysis and insights.

The deadline for applications is 20 April 2017

 Apply here: guatemala.aaschool.ac.uk Read the rest of this entry »


Workshop with graphic Designer Wayne Daly. photo: Ping Ping Lu

Architecture & Ecriture celebrates writing as a critical and creative practice. As the literary branch of the Architectural Association Visiting School, we welcome architects as well as writers, curators or artists interested in spatial theory and literature to join us in Paris from 30 June to 9 July 2017 for the production of exciting new written and performative pieces.

Modeled on the Literary Salon, Architecture & Ecriture draws largely, though not exclusively, from French cultural studies and literature. For this second edition we will read Montaigne and his essays, Barthes and his lectures, Butor and his multifaceted and nomadic writings, Cixous and her memoirs. We will enter the libraries of the world, real and imaginary, with the Virtual Exhibition ‘La Bibliothèque, la nuit’ at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Conceived by director Robert Lepage and his company Ex Machina, the exhibition is based on Alberto Manguel’s spellbinding book The Library at Night.

Architecture & Ecriture explores a space through translation, a Mobile space, which invites us to constant movement and repositioning. This year we will move from fact to fiction and back, from theory to poetry and back.

Deadline for applications: 15 June 2017.

Apply now: paris.aaschool.ac.uk

Participants will take part in a series of workshops, talks and seminars led by guest writers and thinkers from both inside and outside the AA School of Architecture. The Salon is a space of discussion and total immersion and Architecture & Ecriture operates as a research platform where participants are taught as well as invited to contribute new ideas to the current discussion about architectural writing and spatial theories.

The residency will culminate in a public event and exhibition open to a wider audience on July 8th 2017, where participants will be able to showcase their final work.

contact: rabourdin@aaschol.ac.uk Read the rest of this entry »

ying yang architecture 4

Copenhagen Zoo, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Schønherr Landscape Architects and MOE have collaborated on a new yin and yang-shaped Panda House that resembles the Panda’s natural habitat and creates a peaceful environment for one of the world’s rarest mammals.

The new Panda House is scheduled to open in 2018, just in time for the arrival of the two giant Pandas from Chengdu in China – a gesture of goodwill from the Chinese government following Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark’s visit to the country in 2014. Encompassing a 1,250 m2 indoor site and 1,200 m2 outdoor area, the circular shape fits perfectly between the existing buildings at one of the oldest Zoos in Europe, including the award-winning Elephant House by Norman Foster. The construction is scheduled to commence later this year, once the 150 million DKK construction budget has been secured.

“Copenhagen Zoo’s idea-driven organization was key in defining the team we wanted to work with on the new Panda House project. It’s part of our DNA to let everyone from zookeepers, to gardeners and vets, influence the design and function of the facilities to secure the well-being of our animals. The team understood our approach and successfully integrated it into their design process to create a world-class home for these adored Pandas.” Steffen Stræde, Zoo Director, Copenhagen Zoo.

The design of the new Panda House begins with a circular shape, formed by the surrounding existing facilities at the intersection of multiple walkways. Panda House is designed to feel like humans are the visitors in the Pandas’ home, rather than Pandas being the exotic guests from faraway lands. The habitat forms the freest and most naturalistic possible environment for their lives and relationship with each other, providing the freedom to roam about and the ideal conditions to mate – one of the major challenges facing Pandas from becoming endangered.

“Architecture is like portraiture. To design a home for someone is like capturing their essence, their character and personality in built form. In the case of the two great Pandas, their unique solitary nature requires two similar but separate habitats – one for her and one for him. The habitat is formed like a giant yin and yang symbol, two halves: the male and the female, complete each other to form a single circular whole. The curvy lines are undulating in section to create the necessary separation between him and her – as well as between them and us. Located at the heart of the park, we have made the entire enclosure accessible from 360 degrees, turning the two pandas into the new rotation point for Copenhagen Zoo.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG. Read the rest of this entry »

crystal towers 2

The crystalline towers designed by MA2 are a study on office space design for related disciplines. Towers that are fragmented yet connected through bridging and public commercial space is the interest in this conceptualization of the midrise. By creating an office space to accommodate the design disciplines, it allows for a sharing of ideas in various studios and discourse, along with an exhibition showroom for the public to engage with. The study is placed in the setting of Shenzhen Bay, a developing community in the midst of a dense metropolis. With views facing the sea and city backdrop, it was important in the study to consider the scale and morphology of the design office center with these as focal points in the investigation. The torqueing of the crystalline massing allows for multi-angled views and projection walls for digital installations. Cityscapes and natural formations have a dynamic relationship on the formation on cultural buildings and design practices within each site and project condition. By exploring the concept of office space and culture within these conditions, it becomes an actor in its manifestation.  Read the rest of this entry »