Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Alessa Engalan

The Philippines is a catch-basin of natural disasters, specifically typhoons. At least 20 tropical storms enter the country’s area of responsibility with more than half of them making landfall. Typhoons are only one of the few natural and manmade disasters that threaten the country’s people and natural resources every year.

The “Rebirth Tower” set in Corregidor Island provides the people with the safety and self-sustaining lifestyle that they will need. Derived from the structural analogue of the human DNA, this building is designed to become the country’s last line of defense as well as house the possibly last remaining strand of the human race. Equipped with dodecahedrons as modules and the building skin as the railing guide for the different modules as they move around different areas of the building, the rebirth tower is designed to function in three (3) different phases:

Phase 1
The tower functions as an emergency response unit to certain areas affected by the disaster. The farm grows natural food inside the modules equipped with modular hydroponic systems, which is transported to the factory and processed into MREs, after that it is taken into the logistics area and eventually to certain high priority areas to reduce the country’s reliance on the relief efforts of other nations.

Phase 2
During the second phase, civilization collapse has occurred and humanity needs to retreat and defend themselves. The modules are transformed into living spaces that are equipped with different panels that suit each of the functions of the different panels. Such modules are now more densely clustered based on the number of families/users that will inhabit each.

Phase 3
The third phase defines a new civilization, once the worst has died down, man will want to inhabit the earth again. The modules are not fitted to deploy which terrain will suit life the most. The lower panels are fitted with legs that are designed to latch onto any surface. The main core within the module now protrudes to the floor natural floor line which drills and latches itself below the ground.

An off-grid self-sustaining testimony to the human race, the “Rebirth” tower takes into account the laws of how the universe, specifically how nature works through microbiology and scale it to tailor the survival of the human race. As Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Jia Yue, Shi Yuqing, Wang Haoyu, Li Zhibin, He Run, Yu Songqiao

A lot of research has been made by the international coral reef rebalancing plan. However, the general ecological restoration strategy is mainly based on two kinds of reproduction of coral. Most importantly, regulating the water temperature and salinity, and adjusting the water depth and illumination conditions. Using vertical stratification, the project simulates shallow marine layers of a coral reef ecosystem growth zone.

To be eco-friendly, the project has to be self-supporting. The stability of the project needs height, which is also essential for OTEC generating systems. The steam travels up a pipe into a turbine, where it generates electricity. The steam then condenses back to water and travels down to another heat exchanger, this one cooling the liquid with cold seawater from lower depths. From here, a pump brings it back up to the first heat exchanger, and the system continues on.

Magnetohydrodynamic Drive: Since the Base can be distributed to anywhere in need, it should be mobile. Magnetohydrodynamic Drive technology is used on our base as well as submarine which ships mature reef to nature ecosystem. An electric current is passed through seawater in the presence of an intense magnetic field, which interacts with the magnetic field of the current through the water.

Optical Chopper: Due to the very need of modification of solar radiation, a controllable light shield covers the Base. An optical chopper is a device which periodically interrupts a light beam. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Quah Zheng Wei, Jethro Koi Lik Wai

Coral reefs are now endangered.

Coral reefs are complex mosaic of marine plants and animals. Supporting up to two million species of marine life, the biodiversity richness making itself a rival to tropical rain forest. Similarly, the reefs play an important roles in balancing the ecosystem in the water. The polyps within coral control the content of carbon dioxide in the water by turning them into limestone shell. Besides biologically beneficial to mankind, coral reefs generate sizeable economy values as many relies on them as a source of food, income and medicine.

Despite being significantly important in many ways, there is minimal effort shown in protecting them from threats from human and natural disturbances; resulting in a permanent loss of 27% coral area and 30% more are at the brink of disappearing in coming years according to a research funded by WWF.

This underwater paradise is slowly being destroyed by actions such as the practice of uncontrolled, destructive fishing methods, oil spills, pollution (from domestic and industrial wastes, fertilizers, and pesticides), anchor damage, untreated or improperly treated sewage, and land runoffs are serious threats to the delicate reefs. Global Warming causes significant temperature increases in waters in which corals inhabit. This rise in sea temperature creates a very stressful living environment for the coral reef. Coral Reefs respond to such stresses by ejecting necessary symbiotic within them that provide vital nourishment to the coral. This ejection leads to a loss of pigmentation in the coral reef, this is known as coral bleaching Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Michal Ganobjak, Martin Koiš

2250 AD. Earth is highly urbanized. Nearly 50 billion of people live on the Earth. New technologies offer several kinds of sustainable food production, but every piece of land is occupied. The Plantage Skyhanger would therefore solve local food production and supply problem in highly urbanized equator area. The basic idea is to provide real food – real soil medium, real daylight, original organic plant species – by vertical farming in new structure, hanged from space, which is hovering above the city.

The Plantage skyhanger offers achievable, affordable fresh vegetables and crops for the city. Hanged greenhouse feeder. Whole construction is hanged and lightweight. Fields are circular with condensation irrigation from the ceiling. Seeds are artificially multiplied in laboratories in top levels of the Plantage skyhanger. Plants are not genetically modified. Seeds of organic plants are stored on counterweight space station. Soil, which in other way is annually lost in seas, is collected from deltas of rivers. Plantage skyhanger uses this soil as medium and uses it again in the process of agriculture. After several processes, soil is returned into nature. The Plantage building is using natural daylight in two ways – direct and undirect. Huge scale translucent ETFE pillows bring daylight inside of around perimeter of the Skyhanger. Undirectly, pillows welded and crosslinked by two directional networks of optic fibres bring original natural daylight inside of the Skyhanger during whole day. If spectrum of light is insufficient, it can be artificially supplied by “light recepies” for specific plant species. Station and plantage skyhanger rotates simultaneously with the Earth; i.e. every 24 hours around the Earth axis. Building is harvesting energy of wind vibrations of rope and sunlight. Energy is used for functioning of the building. Energy is stored. Building uses zero energy concept. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Martin Wong Tuong Ying, Choong Wan Huey, Edmund Goh Yow Feong

“Your soul is like the seed, in a flower-a carnation, which gets buried when the carnation (the body) dies. It then “grows” again, into a new “carnation”, and is in a new “carnation”, thus “re-in-carnation” has occurred, and the “seed” ”grows” into a new flower.”

The mortality rate is decreasing due to the health, economic, social and other fundamental factors. Hence, the death of people is raising manifold unexpectedly compared to the past. In terms of urban planning, the proposal of the cemeteryscraper is aimed to house the dead in the deep underground expanding down vertically without the need of massive land excavation area in the future. The tower consists of a visitor interpretative centre for visitors, chapels, preparation and celebration platforms for the deceased family members for rituals conducting according to their native’s culture. The façade of the tower is inspired by the local natives’ artwork of weaving. The architecture tectonic of the tower’s lower part stone facade is the reinterpretation of the art of weaving, interlocking with push and pull design language. The open air garden in the middle separates the tower into below and upper part, narrating heaven and earth. The upper part is the gallery, café, management offices, and memorial platform that “float” above the garden tall in the sky. The upper part adopts the double skin façade wire mesh cladding that facilitates natural cross and stack ventilation.

An unexpected moment magnitude of 6.0 earthquake struck Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia on 5 June. The earthquake catastrophe causes tragedy death of 18 and 137 people were stranded at the peak of Mount Kinabalu. The proposal is aimed to commemorate the innocent death of the earthquake’s victims and remembering the heroes who save life of hundred. The group of heroes are the local Kadazan group. The mountain is sacred and they embrace the mountain as God. The monumental tower inspired by the spirit of the native group, re-incarnation which they believe the world after death.

A main core works as the heart of tower circulation, reflecting how natives view the mountain as God of Hill. It adapts earthquake-proof foundation and structural system to be sustained in case future catastrophes takes place. The natives believe soul rebirth in new body when the carnation dies. Soul brings bad things away and leave good to the family and the place they belongs. Thus, basement of cemetery aimed to house the local dead inspired by the local native culture and civilisations along with a visitor interpretive centre. An open-ramped garden meant to blend itself with surrounding landscape like a floating garden, symbolizing the rebirth of soul to their home. The heroes and victims are commemorated on memorial sky platform at the edge of the tower. Read the rest of this entry »

Zen Spinning Tops are precision instruments machined out of aluminum, brass and steel with unique concentric circles pattern for relaxing and meditation. Spinning tops are timeless toys often used for relaxation. Watching them spin could be a deep inner experience with your own thoughts. Los Angeles-based studio ENSSO wanted to design a top that would highlight these attributes. Upon studying different geometric patterns they decided to borrow the traditional concentric circles pattern found in Zen gardens and map it through out the entire body of the top. The result is a minimal design that reflects light in very interesting ways while providing a visual soothing experience.

Zen Tops are currently available on Kickstarter.

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Woo Min Lee, Kang Min Yoo, Justin Baek, Tamin Song
New Zealand

While the use of glass in skyscrapers has proliferated, contemporary skyscrapers are effectively closed off from the environment. Since its inception, the use of closed and artificially controlled interior environments have caused large strains on the planet’s resources; have made these buildings homogenous experientially; and have also caused sicknesses related to this over-reliance on air-conditioning. Modern humans now live, work, play and learn in towers with the outside as if it were wallpaper: despite it snowing outside, the occupants feel no cold; nor feel any heat during a hot summer’s day. While comfort is of importance, this comfort-craziness has driven more and more advanced air-conditioning technology creating buildings that no longer open up to the nature’s seasonal changes and are the same all year round.

The Urban Tent seeks to change this static typology by reutilising the traditional tent concept: a breathable skin that adapts for multiple environmental settings without resorting to air-conditioning. Using innovations in smart fabric technology, such as the UHMWP fabric (ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene), the Urban Tent Skyscraper can do more than traditional tent fabrics with its dynamic properties of transparencies, porosities, insulations, tensions, strengths and plasticity. The design for the Urban Tent Skyscraper is conceived as being more like the human skin with an outer porous fabric membrane around the outside of the building, like the epidermis, and different additional inner layers of fabric-walls around all the interior rooms and in particular spaces creating multiple temperatures and different layers of interior conditions within the whole building. Consequently, occupants can then choose to be in zones of different comfort and temperatures which also creates an opportunity for co-existence of different trees and plants. People can be enjoying the winter without feeling too cold in the outer zones, or feeling warm by being inside one of the warmer inner layer fabric rooms. The outside and inside fabric work together in a way that it creates different environmental conditions and different micro-climates on the inside of the building so that the harsh outside natural environment is filtered into the building in different amounts in different zones of the interior. Read the rest of this entry »

Waterworks, a 12-day architectural workshop in Granada, Spain, by the Architectural Association, is now open for registration. Waterworks transports architectural design back to its origins, tackling social-agricultural realities by offering participants a unique opportunity to work alongside local producers, architects, scientists, horticulturists and the larger community. As a historical region in Andalusia, the area of Granada combines scenic beauty with ecological importance and resources that meet the requirements of an agricultural economy. The area also relies on water that travels 3,482m down from the peninsula’s highest peak. Responding to these realities through architectural interventions, students will design water catchment and management solutions for the local inhabitants. Proposals will consider the effects of climate change on water distribution and the implications at local and regional scales. Students will be immersed in hands-on, site-specific experimentation; speculate on scenarios; develop prototypes at 1:1 scale using locally grown materials; and explore the potential of leading design software. You will work, live, swim, drink, question, explore and interact with this transparent fluid, vital to all forms of life, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.

70% of our planet is covered in water, however the freshwater we use to drink, bathe in and irrigate our farm fields is incredibly rare. Agriculture consumes more water than any other source and wastes much of that through inefficiencies and traditional farming methods. Climate change is altering weather patterns and water distribution around the world, resulting in water shortages, droughts and floods.

What makes the teaching and learning of architecture unique at the AA is found in the demand it places on teachers as well as their students, to clearly communicate the larger cultural agendas relating to where they think architecture is heading. The AA Visiting School (AAVS) is an extension to and embodiment of the AA School’s ‘unit system’ of teaching and learning architecture.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed
– Sustainable Strategies, Methods and Applications
– Computational skills (Revit (BIM), Rhinoceros, Vray, 3D studio Max, Meteonorm, Adobe suite, Grasshopper)
– Lecture series
– Collaborative and group work
– Field work
– Innovative and integrated design
– Prototype fabrication
– Presentations to the larger community
– Dynamic simulations and representations
– Analytical learning and theoretical understanding of Agricultural and Social Economies
– Material explorations and prototype production

The Granada Visiting School sees architecture as a tool to question these issues and assess existing water management systems in an open dialogue. The historical water management of the Sierra Nevada mountain range responds to a dynamic, living system and, above all, extremely fragile, it is necessary to retain it as current local, regional and international needs evolve and outgrow that of the existing infrastructure. This engagement will embrace innovation in policy, institution and culture, advising students to adopt these ethics and apply their principle designs into a manageable routine for the custodians of the land.

If you feel up to the challenge join WATERWORKS this September in Granada, Spain from 5th-16th September 2016.

For more information visit www. granada.aaschool.ac.uk or email granada@aaschool.ac.uk . Connect with our social media channels via:

Youtube Read the rest of this entry »

The project is a contemporary evolution of the classic courtyard tipology, unfolding the four sides of the courtyard along the axis of the main road,creating a central urban square facing south for both students and citizens.The four sides go up from east to west according to the heights of the surrounding buildings. It allows to keep the view of the main Alvar Aalto building and creating a main access.The former carriageable roads are processed in the main pedestrian and cycle paths, keeping the total permeability of the site in the main points of access.The creation of two different external levels that takes shape from theterrain, has enabled the customization of two different open spaces.

The Lower square at 0.00 represents “THE HUG”, the most dynamic front, south faced, the New Centrality of the Alvar Aalto Campus. In this space of social interaction all the public university activities and the commercial/gastronomic frontare concentrated. The north side of “THE HUG”, which is less enlightened, becomes the Media Lume of the campus with the presence of two theatres and one exterior stage.

The Upper square at +5.00 is the quieter front of the project thought as a green open space with big terraces.The goal is to keep low in front the Alvar Aalto’s building.The program is developed in a linear way on the site. Placing on the south-east the commercial front and on the north-west the university activities. Following the logics of the planning, the program turns into a curve that ends on the VTT Building and generates the large central space,”THE HUG”.This approach creates an interactive environment for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, releasing and lengthening the visual outlook.The basement of the building is a vibrant glazed space, conceived like a green house, whereon the east side is concentrated a large retail front, such as grocery shop, copy shop, material shop, book shop, galleries and restaurants, and on the west side all the common activities of the university campus, such as exhibition spaces, lounge point, interactive and audiovisual areas, administrations,stages (Media Lume). Read the rest of this entry »

The practice of orienting a home to the path of the sun is as old as civilization itself, and in nature, significantly predates it. Just as plants and flowers orient themselves to the sun through phototaxis, the newest building designed by ODA New York, appears to be doing the same.

Designed for the emerging Lakeshore region of Toronto, this Bayside project focuses on several novel manipulations. By extending beyond a simple stepped distribution and strategically pivoting and sloping what began as an L shaped mass, ODA New York opens the vast percentage of its mass to the adjacent waterfront and it’s parks and promenades.

Almost as if planted from seeds, this building uses a staggered cascading orientation of the firms often modular approach to create a residential building where a staggering 71% of the units (163) have water views (100% above the 13th floor) compared to the far more traditional 25% in a standard extrusion.

Always seeking to provide and enhance connections to nature in urban settings, a simple 45% twist of the modules alongside creative staggering of the volumes – a hallmark of the firm – allows the creation of an astounding 68,550 square feet of terrace space. As a result, 221 out of 228 units (97%) have terraces, and 163 units (71%) have water views.

With a further tilting of the mass, this torsional shift opens 43% of 90 “back facing units” to water views, increases the size of the south facing terraces and even restores the water views to the neighboring condominium unit.

A natural extension of ODA’s quest to increase quality of life in urban areas through increased light, access to green space, and amenities that foster a sense of community, this project maintains the intimate scale and context of the community, while providing the perfect platform to celebrate the best of lakefront living year round.

Amenities include a large communal terrace and pool area on the waterfront, with glass walls that open fully, a daycare facility, and 10,228 sf of first floor retail.

This, like all of ODA’s buildings, not only challenges the status quo, but also offers a vision of a new urban reality. Read the rest of this entry »