Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Yungi Jung, Jeong Gwang Hwang
South Korea


With the rapid growth of world population over the last century, man-made deserts have ever expanded worldwide. Our continuous overuse of available land for intensive farming, feeding livestock, and logging trees has caused severe degradation of soil that turns once-fertile lands into barren deserts.

The consequences are detrimental. Each year, 12 million hectares of land are lost, cutting down global food production and aggravating poverty in rural areas. In the deserts of China—which is the primary site of the Desertscraper—dust storms blow eastward polluting the air of the cities of China and of neighboring countries like Korea and Japan. They even affect the West Coast of the US across the Pacific. The increased carbon emissions, moreover, are precipitating global warming.

As the world population is expected to increase up to 10 billion in just 50 years, restoring healthy soil and vegetation to reverse desertification is a matter of utmost urgency.

The Desertscraper is a solar-powered mobile skyscraper that restores healthy vegetation in man-made deserts and facilitates long-term growth of green areas. The skyscraper counteracts the ever-growing threat of desertification through two major operations: transplanting greenery and enhancing the general quality of the degraded soil.

First and foremost, the Desertscraper operates as a gigantic, regional transplanter that transplants greenery as it rolls along the skirts of a desert. The plants are grown in the adjacent in-house farm, and are prepared in the form of “plant pot modules,” filled with compost and equipped with water supply system. Assembled along the internal circulation of the skyscraper, the modules are planted into the soil as the external belt comes in direct contact with the ground.

Additional features of the Desertscraper are designed to enhance the general quality of the soil. Specifically, they are modeled after a series of natural effects produced by wild herds, whose short-term trampling, grazing, and dunging of an area are proven to boost the fertility of the soil, constituting a natural part of dryland ecosystems. Because they continuously migrate to new areas and do not return until their dung and urine have been absorbed, the effect spreads quickly and the land is given ample time to rest.

Similarly, the front of the Desertscraper prunes and ingests existing dead vegetation, clearing the ground for newly planted greenery. This also prevents oxidation that emits CO2 into the air. At the same time, the bumps (or the “Hooves”) of the outer belt “tramples” and breaks hardened soil crusts that cause erosion and moisture loss. Inside, the waste materials from the land, from the in-house farm, and from the human occupants of the skyscraper are amassed and recycled for compost. Rich with nutrients just like the animal manure, the compost is then supplied to the ground as part of the modular plant pots as well as via the discharger at the rear.

The Desertscraper comprises total six sets of operational gears and five adjoining farms in-between, amplifying its coverage laterally. Constantly moving and programmed to return at the optimal time of the year, the traveling Desertscraper maximizes the efficiency as well as the effect of restoration. Read the rest of this entry »


AA Visiting School Slovenia is a two-week, experimental architecture course organized in Slovenia as a part of the Visiting School programme at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London.

This is the third version of the programme following the success of the past two years at the same location in Vitanje. It will also be the final course at this location, concluding the trilogy of extensive research and production of nanotourist strategies in Vitanje. Continuing the previous years’ agenda of nanotourist strategies developed for Vitanje and KSEVT, we will think about, design and make diverse accommodation and experience modules for a newly set-up concept of a diffused hotel for Vitanje.

The summer school will take place at the new, highly specific building KSEVT, Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies, a bold landmark in the tiny Slovenian village of Vitanje of 800 residents that has welcomed over 25,000 visitors in its first year of activity. KSEVT has a public significance and generates social, cultural, and scientific activities, with fixed and temporary exhibitions, conferences and club/study activities. There is an open need and an exposed potential of Vitanje to become a case study of developing an extreme set of bottom up strategies or prototypes to challenge the conventional notion of tourism. The natural condition of Slovenia as a fragile but diverse landscape and the local phenomenon of obsessive individualism provide principal conditions for nanotourism – a creative critique to the current environmental, social and economic downsides of conventional tourism, defined as a participatory, locally oriented, bottom-up alternative.

when: two weeks, Friday 8 – Friday 22 July 2016
where: Vitanje, Slovenia
venue: KSEVT – Cultural Centre of EU Space Technologies (www.ksevt.eu)
how: creative group work

programme website: www.slovenia.aaschool.ac.uk
application: www.aaschool.ac.uk/STUDY/ONLINEAPPLICATION
facebook: www.facebook.com/aavsslovenia
nanotourism: www.nanotourism.org

01__DONT PANIC - photo Rok Dezelak 8



03__PLAYGROUND KSEVT round foto Ajda Schmidt 13


Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Zhu Lan


Plan A of Maracaibo is a plan for treating lake water. In the base, there is thunder, lightning and storms. However, the skyscraper has a huge sail that may generate power through wind forces. In the mean time, current flows towards the conductor screen on the roof of the building to form a magnetic field, through which lightning is constantly attracted. Collected lightning passes through an inverter device inside the skyscraper and is thus transformed into alternating current. Some current is transmitted to cities through submarine cables, while some is used as electricity for the skyscraper itself. In the lower part of the skyscraper, there is a device for purifying and desalinizing the lake water. Collected current makes energy available for desalinizing water of the lake by electrodialysis, while pumped the lake water is continuously purified. Plan A intends to reduce the extent to which petroleum is extracted from the bottom of the lake and pollution with the energy gathered from lightning. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

GuoChao Deng, Jiong Lin, You Zhou, Yang Li, GuoFu Wang, XiaoLong Liu


In the process of urbanization in Nigeria, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening gradually, which makes a large number of homeless people gathered in Gamma cocoa community and turned this community into a slum on the sea. It is a very extreme case in the process of urbanization in Africa. There is no traditional road, no land as well as modern architecture, but it has developed into a slum of about 200000 people. Surrounded by foul smelling of the sea, creaky wooden houses are everywhere, and each wooden house are crammed six to ten people who are completely ignored by the government. In the official map, Nigeria along the coast is uninhabited, including Gamma cocoa community.

Now the Gamma cocoa community may become the real unmanned area at any time. It’s possible that the region be swallowed up by the sea thanks to the rise of sea level caused by Global warming. Faced with such a situation, the government only adopts a measure of demolitions. There are no resettlement measures as well as subsidies, as a result, a great quantity of people became homeless and are scattered on various parts of Africa.

According to the present situation of the Gamma cocoa community, we put forward a proposal; we try to improve the dilemma by architecture. We will centralize the original tiled slums in high-rise buildings, which can not only solve the waste and pollution problems of the sea caused by traditional flat sea slum but also create a better, more secure and healthier living environment for the poor in the slum.

We also hope to unite all of us and construct a “desperate slum” into a “hopeful slum” by our hand. At the same time, we also hope to make propaganda to the world through our efforts,“ Nigeria along the coast are not uninhabited, we live here, we are not rubbish, we are as equal as you are, and we need to be respected by the government” Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Choice
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Wei Ke Li, Sheng Jiang, Xing Chun Zhi Zhang

Nowadays, there is a group of people who are out of the society, because of living in remote areas but transportation is not convenient. So they are gradually isolated from the world. Poor medical and traffic standards result in the reduction of local population. Located in the central area of North Guangxi Rongshui County, the area is 50 kilometers long and 30-35 km wide, with general height of 1500 meters. The Mount Yuanbaoshan is 2081meters above sea level and it is the third highest mountain in Guangxi province. In this valley, people who live in poverty are difficult to communicate with the outside world. In recent years, natural disasters have become worse, and it takes too long time to escape from the town. So when the nature disaster come or the people get sick, they are sentenced to death , so we have to solve the problem.

There is a river flows through the valley, the river is the source of the water for the local people. Usually, the amount of water is relatively stable, but the water tends to rise when the rainfall becomes large. If it keeps rainning, the water level will become higher and higher, resulting in floods , landslides and other natural disasters. Many villagers have lost their life for this reason. We thought of making a‘master asembling station’ . When natural disasters occur, every household can reach the station by the device of the refugees which prepared for every houses quickly. The “station” has many small units for people to live in.I n this way we can avoid life’s loss in a better way. In the small container, we provide a place for the villagers to rest and reside in. Even when there is no disaster, the villagers also can go to any places where has medical treatment or other facilities by the devices we designed. The behavior of station looks like dandelion, so we call it ’dandelion vessel’. We made it possible to combine these villages and to transport the people from the bottom to the master station, which can transfer the people who are in emergency while contacting with the outside environment very well. So that people can adapt to nature better, rather than to reform the natural.

The master station’ is made by menbrane and tensile, every house will given a rescues unit which can rise to the station when they need. And the surface of the ‘master station’ is made of strings and tensile, and the menbrane will be inflated to a inflation balloon units which can link to rescue units to get away form station. Read the rest of this entry »

In 2015 the Aarhus School of Architecture hosted a 10 day workshop in collaboration with the Architectural Association. This was part of an initiative between the two schools to investigate the implications of computational tools in design and fabrication under different scales of architecture. The workshops focused on novel computational software coupled with fabrication techniques that investigated designs particular to the ecology of Denmark.

As a part of the workshop, the participants were introduced to the basics of parametric modelling, digital fabrication and material behaviour. Aarhus has a large array of different digital fabrication tools, where the participants mainly used laser cutting and digital cutting, however for 2016 we will expand on the applied fabrication techniques. Students worked as groups to investigate surface morphologies and more specifically how surfaces can be used to modulate light through pattern manipulations. The groups further explored the relationship between surfaces as 2D elements and how these can be manipulated into spatial elements through folding, bending or morphing among others.

For this year we will run two units within the theme of last year: Affects of Light through Pattern and Geometry manipulations. The first unit titled “Mesh Morphologies” will focus on teaching students how to control and manipulate local regions of complex geometries as a response to external factors through constant feedback between physical and digital models. This unit favors all levels of grasshopper knowledge, but if you are a beginner this is the unit to choose.

The second unit titled “Robotic Collaboration” will focus on the robotic fabrication paradigm in architecture and how this can potentially be re-interpreted. This unit will experiment with creating an automated assembly system, and it is assumed that you have an intermediate to advanced level of grasshopper knowledge.

Besides having two different units this year, we have also been lucky enough to receive financial support from the Maersk foundation, which we will use to support a select number of students, pay for material expenses and build a pavilion.

If you are interested in receiving financial support for this years AA_Aarhus Visiting School you have to be a registered student and forward us your CV, portoflio and a written application to: aarhus.aaschool.ac.uk. We will then select 5 recipients by mid June.

The scholarship will cover 70 pct of the tuition fee.

It is the ambition of the AA_Aarhus Visiting School to develop knowledge in digital fabrication and pattern formations, which are at the forefront when it comes to the field of architecture & design. Furthermore, the participants are to leave the Visiting School having gained new knowledge and novel skills in architectural design/make and theory, which they can continue to use in their practice or in the remaining years of their study.

We hope that through our continued work within this field, we will be able to contribute to the ongoing architectural discussion on parametrics, pattern making and fabrication

Prominent features of the workshop / skills developed

• Novel modeling and parametric techniques based on local ecological factors.

• Introduction to new fabrication techniques now prevalent in the field of design and architecture.

• Robotic fabrication in design.

• Discussions on new architectural processes and theories.

• Applying theories that are highly applicable in contemporary practice through computation.

• A lecture series from leading researchers and theorists.

Registration deadline
1st of August

Scholarship application deadline
25th of June

Visiting School duration
3rd – 12th of August

Contact Information

Aarhus School of Architecture
Nørreport 20
8000 Aarhus

David Reeves, Asbjørn Søndergaard, Ryan Hughes

Jens Pedersen, Ali Farzaneh

2015 Documentation

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 »