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As seen in great historical London typologies such as the Gentlemen’s Club, or Josef Paxton’s Great Stove of Chatsworth, the city and culture of London has been a main thoroughfare of new programs and typological imaginations based on highly specific cultural desires and current needs of public space. These highly particular, explicit and most often bizarre desires, have also only been able to be realized through different shifts and improvements in technologies – technologies which have allowed phenomenally spanning glass seen in the Great Stove or even the industrial production and repetition of the structure in the Crystal Palace.

This work leverages the specificities of London itself, historical precedence, typological reference, highly specific subcultures, and site to generate a public sphere accessible to the greater public of the city.

The Electric Garden is a greenhouse nightclub designed by Zack Mathhews at Harvard GSD. It is a place where nature and artifice collide – a place to get lost in the infinite. It is a place that brings an immersive purity to Brick Lane, a re-generating landscape famous for its cultural life, yet still a fringe suffocating from its past self.

A primary source of design research was instigated through the investigation of the “Health Goth” subculture which originated in Portland, Oregon, but has since grown intimate ties with the built environment of London. Health Goth is a subculture that has materialized through high tech clothing, multiple technical layers of “armour”, advanced materiality, and weaponry. These people are exemplars of the pristine – a discontent with the impurity of the surrounding world has led to a desire to generate overly-constructed scenes of clothing and artificial interior atmospheres.

Upon analyzing material culture, fashion, activities, and behaviors of the Health Goths, the first part of this project focused on generating a destination of interior atmospheres which supported the need to self-immerse in extremely “pure” and infinite space. As the sub-culture has only existed through making imagery and portraying oneself only through digital representation, the first task of the public space was to provide an armature solely for these people to exist – backdrops that alluded to the infinite, high contrast lighting, monochromatic material, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

The Slumber Hotel

By:  | July - 14 - 2016


This hotel designed by Zahra Safaverdi at Harvard Graduate School of Design is a mixture of an exclusive entertainment club and a bizarre hotel, curates an amplified manipulated atmosphere for sleeping, harvests the dream data via MRI scanners, and mix and manipulates the collected dreams for further projection as a new form of spectacle to inspire the members and to plant new dreams.

Tucked away from the public access in a private courtyard, the Slumber hotel doesn’t completely hide from the eyes of the spectators. Although the fantastical world of sleeping is concealed in a banal cladding,and hides behind multiple layers, words of the happening inside gets around. The hotel is completely unassuming from the outside and that makes the bizarre world of the interior more shocking. The project functions based on juxtaposition of distant realities. The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant, the stronger the effect will be.

Slumber hotel’s atmosphere is inherently immersive and is Excessive in nature. Continues surfaces eliminate the perception of corners, ground, walls, roof, and coming together of it all. The sleeping, zone where the sleeping pods are located, is a maze like space where circulation become occupy-able and layering plays an important role in the orchestrated reading of places. The perpetual state of twilight eliminates the sense of time and the whimsical atmosphere does not let the individual to be bored for a second. This public space is the manifestation of strange new species, extreme new UMWelt, and an experimental typology. The Slumber Hotel creates objects of value that belong to the collective imaginations and comments on social issues in a playful manner.

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Pen Uno is an all aluminum pen for the Hi-Tec C Coleto ink cartridge that also transforms into a mechanical pencil by switching two components.

Pen Uno and Pencil Uno, designed by ENSSO in Los Angeles are perhaps the most minimal writing instruments in the market. Their design aims to be elegant and discreet focusing on the details and essential components. They are machined out of space-grade aluminum anodized in five distinct colors: gold, rose gold, red, black, and space grey.

When a pen it uses the amazing Hi-Tec C Coleto gel ink cartridge, which is widely available, inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors and lineweights. As a mechanical pencil it uses regular 0.5 mm leads.

Pen Uno and Pencil Uno are currently available on Kickstarter.







Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Phuchong Yamchomsuan, Boonjira Phaisitwanichkul, Warut Duangkaewkart


Most of architecture we design is for humanity. What if the design can support both humanity and wildlife? What if we give back the ground to nature? Hence, the design purpose is to increase spaces for not only humanity but also wildlife simultaneously.

The design scheme is inspired by Banyan tree, the king of forests. As we’ve known, Banyan tree is the great murderer killing most trees in forests, yet it is the great giver providing habitat and food to most animals. Even though Banyan tree is categorized as a parasite plant, it is peculiarly special. After it slowly leeches and consumes all nourishment from another tree, the tree will be killed and then create interior space that’s covered up with Banyan tree’s limbs and roots as structure. This space will become homes for little animals and its enormous branches will create shades and provide food to all creatures. ‘Contributing one life is worth lots of life.’

In this project, the Banyan tree’s growing process is adopted as the main concept proposing how human could develop our world and sustainably grow up into the futuristic era.

The new structure will be introduced as a special parasitic creature. When it’s attached to any existing buildings in any cities, people will slowly move to the upper space for better lives. The new urban fabric will expand, while the old buildings will be abandoned eventually. Afterwards, nature will gradually take back the Earth’s surface and animals will get their natural habitat back.

The design aims to increase both humanity and wildlife habitat at the same time. The proposed structure will be developed on the higher surfaces, above high-rise buildings. Its form should be light and low dense, in contrast with today’s high-rise, so that the ground level would not be decadent and finally died. There will be sunlight and fresh air for every creature. With the new structure, people will leave the ground floor to expand new lives on sky surface, while trees and animals live on Earth’s surface where belong to them. Should it be the time we give back the land to our mother nature.

To avoid using the Earth’s surface, horizontal, vertical and underground transportation tubes are introduced in order to connect between living units and communities, personal and public spaces. The existing buildings that are abandoned will be cut to create the opened space for public activities where human and animals may stay close to each other.

In addition, the deserted high-rise where humans evacuate from can be boundaries creating zones between wild animals and mankind. With the sense of living together but staying not too close to, the zoning will protect humans from wild animals and protect wild animals from humans. This could be the way how metropolitan people stay close to nature again, recalling the former times when people and animals were neighbours. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Dimo Ivanov


Inspired by professor Donald Sadoway’s notion of giant container sized liquid metal battery, ephemere highrise proposes the idea of a floating power station and liquid metal battery charging station.

Liquid metal battery
The team of professor sadoway – ambri aims to develop a giant battery that fits in a 40-foot shipping container for placement in the field. And this has a nameplate capacity of two megawatt-hours. That’s enough energy to meet the daily electrical needs of 200 households. Ambri’s cells are strung together within a thermal enclosure to form an ambri core. The ambri core is ‘self-heating’ when operated every couple of days, requiring no external heating to keep the batteries at temperature. The ambri system comprises multiple ambri cores that are strung together and connected to the grid with power electronics. The configuration of the ambri system is modular and can be customized to meet specific customer needs. 

Offshore wind, wave and tidal energy
Ephemere highrise uses 100% renewable energy sources for electricity production. Harnessing energy from offshore winds, waves, and tides holds great promise for our world’s clean energy future. Energy production is just one of the valuable resources our oceans and coastal ecosystems provide. We can successfully develop offshore renewable energy by ensuring that energy projects are sited, designed, and constructed in a manner that protects our fragile ocean ecosystems.

All-in-one concept
Ephemere highrise is a high tech structure that uses all available local renewable energy sources to generate electricity. However the electricity production is only one of many important functions: living space, education, resource management, energy storage, research and engineering. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Wong Tat Hon, Ening Liu Yee Ning
Hong Kong


The project is taking place at Hong Kong urban district. Hong Kong is very restricted with the hyper-density living condition. In fact, Hong Kong has been using the traditional method of residential development strategy for all the years. That is to push higher with taller skyscraper tower replacing lower tenement houses to fit in the rapidly increasing living population. Such strategy neglect urban planning but value living efficiency. Such restricted living condition generates an invisible boundary within the city. Citizen feels isolated and tedious with the repetitive urban context. My idea is to provide a healthier solution to counter the existing living condition in the city. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Jillian Blakey
United States


Disintegration of the brain in our increasingly aging population is addressed relentlessly in medical research but largely neglected in environmental experiment.  Our lifespan has been elongated due to a growing body of knowledge in health and medicine, and still a third of seniors will live with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.  Plaques and Tangles is driven by an investigation into the formal, spatial, and societal potential of extended memory care in the vertical environment.

Typical retirement communities and full time care facilities are developed as sprawling patterns in remote corners.  Within this proposed Manhattan context, the project gives dementia a physical urban presence and offers an opportunity for a dynamic community.  A programmatically rich and site sensitive armature is systematically populated by a flexible, structural unit. The aggregate’s inherently radial patterns produce a legible datum while formally reflecting the sponge-like quality of plaques and tangles common to an Alzheimer’s brain.

Two primary lobbies serve as cultural hubs for residents of the building and local community members alike.  They include space for theaters, galleries, restaurants, and commercial development.  One wing is reserved for outpatient care and further medical research into memory loss and recovery.  Residential units are designed as one or two person dwellings, however equal space is reserved for communal gathering and reflection.  Transportation systems in the building are exclusively elevators and escalators to maximize mobility of residents.

The structural unit is intended to multiply and mutate, as need rises and medical knowledge progresses. Plaques and Tangles seeks to create an architectural system that considers the complexities of overpopulation and maximizes prosperity in the final stage of life. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Sergej Pogorelov, Siarhei Kuratski, Andrei Mikhalenko, Anastasiya Neumiarzhytskaya, Dimitri Kiselev


The cities everyone wants to live in should be clean and safe, possess efficient public services, provide cultural stimulation and dynamic economy. These are not the cities we live in. We imagined what a clean and safe city would look like concretely and what functions it will carry. In modern urban environment, ‘growth’ is a more complicated term than simple replacement of what existed before. Our vision embraces past and present, old and new, bounding the city and its vertical continuation. The principle is in creating a fully integrated system, where every part has a place in an overall design.

The idea of alternative city landscape solves the problems of the present and past by acting as an independent set of neighbourhoods. The net provides spaces for buildings, green zones and its own transport network, therefore serving as a foundation for construction. Flexible and open for everybody, the structural grid offers variability in zoning the spaces across the surface, depending on the city typology and layout. The system balances the environment, both created and polluted by the city below, with its self-regulatory and intelligent systems.

City analysis and further investigation into cultural, social and economical issues revealed the most common and relevant points of concern within the population. In order to confront them, we took into consideration not only predictions of the future urban development stages, but also what the consequences of these moves will be. As such, one of the predictions stated, that an enormous increase of inhabitants will require more vertical living than exists and therefore, the structures will be built over without any respect to the past and the future. Porosity of the territory can be stated as sacral in terms of human mind being claustrophobic within endless city walls, lack of green areas and polluted air, excessive use of electricity in order to maintain the light level, overcrowded pedestrian lanes and streets. Nothing makes a distinction look more precise than comparison between lifeless city and the one with such qualities as functionality and emotions.

The aim of alternative landscape is to provide people with a lively sustainable city with welcoming environment. Such quality as ‘lively’ stands for varied and complex city life, where recreational and social activities are mixed with transit areas. The layout of programmes as such includes offices, parks, residential blocks and parking spaces.

In order to use the space efficiently, the decision to combine green and living areas is incorporated into structures with changed orientation upside down. This move allows the growth of trees to be efficient and trees to be feeded naturally by sun and rain. Serving as lungs for the lower city, the green roofs create a landscape that covers the area as a forest.

Environmental qualities of the alternative city are increased by novel technologies and programmatic forces, leading to solution of several city issues, such as lack of light on the back streets. To balance the light penetration into the lower city levels and to enrich this, our net consists of pipe solar collectors that diffuse light in the directions of both dark and inhabited areas.

The communication between zones and local buildings is carried out by suspended train stations and tube routes. This also deals with the transportation between two cities on different levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Santiago Hector Raul Miret, Federico Eduardo Menichetti, Melisa Brieva, Gaston Horacio Hermida


There are spaces in the city that are of great importance. Historical places, but also popular ones. Spaces where you can work but also pray. This places sometimes coexists in one single surface. But how can one surface respond to different activities in a coherent way? How can a place be used to massively protest and also be a calm and peaceful recreational area?

The “Plaza de Mayo” of Buenos Aires City is a multi-activity surface. Historically that square was the witness of commercial activities and important political events. In 1580 Buenos Aires founder Juan de Garay planted there the symbol of justice. In 1816 the Argentinean Independence was declare in that same place 6 years after the revolution that was developed there too (on May 25, from where it obtains its name). Every president was welcomed and farewell there.

The project presents a journey from a generic, undifferentiated model (the “Plaza de Mayo” actual scheme) to a series of differentiated surfaces that develop the five more important collective activities that are carried out in the square. This differentiation diagrams are activated according to contextual conditions present in the surroundings and inside the square. The five differentiated squares respond to:

  1. The work square. But the “Plaza de Mayo” is also a place for work. People with notebooks or just books sit there every day just to relax and work in a green environment. This square is connected directly with the most important financial and commercial offices all around.
  2. The government square. We´ve already mention the political relevance of “Plaza de Mayo”. This is engaged because of the presence of the nation´s governmental house called “Casa Rosada”. This is the epicenter of all political events, protests and celebrations.
  3. The religious square. The “Catedral de Buenos Aires” it´s a very important and historical place for Christianity in Argentina, that´s why we are using its importance to affect this third surface. Nevertheless, this is not a square intended just for Christianity, but for religion itself. A square for the faith.
  4. The popular square. “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo” is a group of grandmothers that lost their grandsons during the Military government that stroke Argentina from 1976 to 1983. This is a very important popular and social achievement that helps people remember the dark background of the nation.
  5. The transport square. “Plaza de Mayo” is the connectivity node of three metro lines and several bus stations. In this sense the surface must react to this environment in order to produce a surface that allows the 30.000 passengers, that go through it every day, get to their destinies in a proper way.

The Emergent Activities. The relationships between each surface will generate the emergence of proliferated surfaces of subsidiary programs. This programs are secondary activities that relay on the primary functions of each square, producing an Skyscraper of primary activities surrounded by secondary or support activities, consolidating a complex vertical scenario.

All things considered, “The Multilayered Square” is an active multi-surface that responds to a variety of different programs and activities not only of the Plaza de Mayo specifically, but also of squares all around the world. We can consider “The Yokohama Port Terminal” as a transport square, or the “Mecca” as the religious square by excellence. But also we can find governmental squares such as Piazza del Campidoglio, or popular ones like Piazza Navona. In this sense, “The Multilayered Square” does not pretend to replicate them, but to differentiate the generic scheme of the square producing subsidiary and new activities as an emergence of the project´s process. Read the rest of this entry »