Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Zhang Bo, Liu Shuman


For a long time, ancient Chinese people have unlimited desire for the mysterious sky. Many years ago, China experienced the era of exploring the high-rise building, such as high-platform building, Tasha, and so on, even our ancient emperor Wei also want to build a super high palace. All of the stories show our ancestors’ aspirations and creative ideas for the high-altitude buildings. Cultural inheritance is considered as a significant design element in the development of exploring the high-rise buildings. We should solve the ecological issues by using our science and technological methods and try our best to preserve our historical cultures.

Human destroy nature, break and disorder the balance of original ecological system. Our plan try to consider architecture as a special medium to better the relationship among human and nature and recover the balance of ecological system.

We use the traditional design forms to solve the environmental problems and preserve the regional cultural context. Analyze and reorganize the functions in multiple ways to create a living complex with the local cultural significance. We try to use Chinese painting comfortable and free expression forms to plan and design architecture to strengthen the contacts between different people, human and nature.

Our plan creates a modular relationship between the part and the whole of the project by applying the unique timberwork to the design. It is similar to the relationship between wood structure, brackets and small components of windows and doors in the design of stupa. All of the components maintain their own independence and have different metabolic cycles. It forms a kind of “vertical village”based on culture. Building treatment is considered as an “unfinished form” to adapt to the development and dynamic change of city. Read the rest of this entry »

The Scaffold of Babel

By:  | April - 10 - 2017

Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Yutan Sun, Tongda Xu, Luojia Zhang, Dinglu Wang, Tianjun Wang


Since the industrial revolution, production fuels the capitalism and consumerism, the big cities and skyscrapers become possible. And this was when workers began to play an important role in this complicated social system. Due to the height they need to work at, construction workers are viewed as one of the most dangerous professions now, not to mention in early days when security measures were less efficient. They are risking their life building our cities when architects and city planners seem to take all the credit.

Ironically, the construction builders are underpaid, surviving at the bottom of the society. As our cities sprawl over the land, the confrontation between the worker class and upper social classes has become sharper than ever. The luxurious skyscrapers take up the urban space, while the constructers of these buildings end up in city corners or even homeless. They have laid every piece of brick in the city, yet were driven away from the kingdom they built by high prices and other urban problems. Seldom do they have a chance to live a city life.

“Workers of the world, unite!”
Change will happen. The workers start from a common strike and take up movement. Soon the site of taking up will become a site to live. With scaffolds erected, workers move in, infrastructure built, a community of workers leaded by constructors grows out of the top of our concrete jungle. That’s the babel tower of workers, a heterotopia for worker class in the central and topmost area in a metropolitan, a deserved decent place to live and reproduce in the city they have devoted themselves to.

Method & Structure
Representing revolution of construction techniques as well as the new roll construction workers played, skyscraper is chosen as both the prototype and the site of the monument. Scaffold and safety net, reminding people of constructing set, are used to symbolize their identity. These skyscrapers are placed on top of pre-existing skyscrapers, which allow construction workers to create their own society in city center. Considering construction progress, the monument consists of 6 layers from the bottom up:

1. Defense. Guarded by soldiers, this is the first step of uprising, ensuring safety of the upcoming new society.
2. Equipment. Taking energy crisis and environmental pollution into consideration, we created space for large machineries to purify water and air and to converse solar power, producing clean energy for the society.
3. Transportation. Several towers would be built in a city successively to meet the need and cable cars would act as public transport among them.
4. Residence & Agriculture. After infrastructure is well-developed, housing would be built for workers moving in. Every resident is provided with a piece of farmland. Confronted with food shortage, residents can grow their own food.
5. Communication. Open space would be built on top of high-density residence for communication. It’s also place for all kinds of outdoor activities.
6. Construction. Construction process can be continued whenever is needed. On top of the tower, this layer is also for sightseeing.

These skyscrapers will allow construction builders to live a self-sufficient life in the center of the metropolitan and exist as a memorial of a group of hard workers. Read the rest of this entry »

Genesis Mars Skyscraper

By:  | April - 10 - 2017

Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Arturo Emilio Garrido Ontiveros, Andrés Pastrana Bonillo, Judit Pinach Martí, Alex Tintea


From the beginning of time we have shown our eagerness towards progress. “Mutable man may be able to make them (challenges of life within the boundaries of death) – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However, vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” – Kubrick said.

The very meaninglessness of life forces a man to create his own meaning. We could understand the history of mankind though this eagerness, from the cave man – to the industrial revolution.

Elon Musk says there are two fundamental paths to our future, one path is we stay on Earth forever with an eventual extinction event. The other is to become a multi-planetary species, which should be our generation’s milestone. Dreaming for the stars

The first step should Mars, which is better suited to scale up to host a multi-planetary civilization that any other planet from our solar system. Our mission is to create a habitat that would host the first city on Mars. Our proposal is the axis between the first flights and the terraforming of the planet. A building that would serve as an entrance to Mars.

Before terraforming Mars we must think of an access to it. We propose a space elevator that would be composed of four elements. A counterweight to the top, a tent to the bottom, a tube that connects both elements and the elevator itself.

The counterweight would be located at a distance to which an object in the orbit moves at the same speed as the rotation of the planet. It would receive the spaceships and host the necessary laboratories in a radial composition. A skin covers the capsules and absorbs the solar energy far from the contamination of the atmosphere. It is a door to the habitat.

The tube would connect both the counterweight and the habitat on Mars. It must be strong enough to resist the traction produced by the rotation of the counterweight and wide enough to host the elevator.

“You need to live in a dome, initially”.

In order to make the planet habitable, we first start by creating a tent inside which life will start for the first time. At first, a small volume of oxygen will be separated from the abundant carbon dioxide in order to make the air breathable inside the tent. The soil would be transformed and vegetation would grow.

The tent is designed to grow larger as the population increases. It also has a radial composition that allows the dome to grow in all directions. Read the rest of this entry »

Wind Skyscraper

By:  | April - 10 - 2017

Honorable Mention
2017 Skyscraper Competition

Shenghui Yang, Xu Pan, Yue Song, Yingxin Cheng, Binci Wang, Yuerong Zhou, Yaying Zheng, Shiman Wang


Typhoon, as we all know, brings huge damages to human life and property. It could be considered as one of the worst natural disasters in the world, meanwhile, contains a huge energy which could even raze a whole city to the ground. As nowadays the deterioration of our living environment, we have all reasons to assume that, like most cases of extreme weather, the strike of the typhoon will become increasingly frequent. And Taipei, by its special location where the typhoon shows its horrible power most thoroughly, is regarded as a typical district in our research and design.

Our design consists of two main correlated parts. The main building serves as a view frame of city landscape, inside which we arrange a variety of functions, including water retaining, storage, temporary shelter, research institution, and exhibition. Between the frames is a three-dimensional staggered space structure for holding numbers of devices for energy collection and typhoon intervention. Driven by the strong winds, these devices will float diffusely among a larger scale, converting and collecting the kinetic energy from winds to mechanical energy, electrical energy or thermal energy. They will also release chemical substances later in the air, including dry ice and other catalysts, for dropping the temperature and dehumidify the surrounding high moisture air. After the mission is done, another building, whose location should be chosen by probability calculation result, will capture all devices again.

With both preventing and defending approaches, we see this project as an attempt for human positive intervening measures towards future disasters.

If we see typhoons from another aspect, we will realize that they are more than a natural catastrophe. Despite that damage to the coastal cities, the consequent benefits we can get from the typhoon are obvious too, such as the enormous energy which would be 200 times larger than the worldwide output. If we could cut down the damage caused by typhoon and get use of this energy, we might be able to see typhoons as a natural fortune rather than a disaster.

In view of above-mentioned reason, the design we present is an attempt to make use of the typhoon by human intervention. Read the rest of this entry »

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