Infill Aquifer

By:  | March - 20 - 2014

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Jason Orbe-Smith
United States

The Infill Aquifer aims to reconnect the built world with the natural environment in order to create healthy and thriving urban ecosystems.

The project does this by re-establishing the ground plane as a vital component of urban building design. The Infill Aquifer is a floating mass, exposing the ground and soil to natural processes while accommodating the density required by growing cities and world populations. The Infill Aquifer is an optimistic proposal that humanity and nature can coexist and flourish.

Densely urban environments have many rich and positive qualities. The ability to gather together large populations generates great advantages in creativity and commerce, education, technology, and social interaction. However urban environments also often lack other features that enhance quality of life; features such as open space, recreation, green vegetation, a calm atmosphere, and the organic and inorganic processes of nature.

The project targets two main concerns facing us now and in the near future: the quality and quantity of new open space to build, live and work; and issues surrounding water usage and rights. The Infill Aquifer is designed as a regeneration and rehabilitation program for groundwater supplies within a city while maintaining its functionality as a usable building.

The Infill Aquifer is both a singular building design as well as an integral component of a larger ecological network. They are strategic pinpoints that can be located within a city as surface parking lots and underutilized pieces of land are redeveloped. With each new infill, the network in the region strengthens and grows, increasing the diversity of composition of the city and aiding in the health of the aquifer and hydrologic cycles. Cities that begin to implement infill aquifers can have the benefits of water security, increased green space, improved air quality and improved quality of life for the inhabitants.

The Infill Aquifer is as an achievable step in the conversion of our cities from static, sprawling monoliths towards active, vibrant and sensitive ecologies. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Diego Espinosa Figueroa, Javiera Valenzuela Gonzalez

It is estimated that over 50% of the global population lives in an urban settlement. The growth of cities and their massive expansion brought great progress but major setbacks on the level of land use. The overloads of the soil through our urban developments have caused extinction of species, fertile land reduction, and poor distribution of biomass.

Realizing that the soil, its biomass, and what it conceives is a limited resource, gives us a glimpse of how we should live to preserve and improve our natural environment. Re-Silience Skyscraper looks for an answer by proposing a new organization and resources distribution of the soil and its biomass through the observation of natural forms such as honeycombs, coral reefs, and ant nests.

Our buildings today set a null relationship with its surroundings having no more than one or two interrelations in one place, Re-Silience allows to cross the threshold and reorganize this behavior through an optimal use of soil and biomass. Read the rest of this entry »

21st Century Neoclassical Skyscraper

By:  | March - 20 - 2014

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

John Houser, Parke MacDowell
United States

This project side-steps the common stylistic tendencies of computation-driven architecture, synthesizing our expanding digital toolset with the language of Classicism. At a time when these digital tools facilitate the generation of novel and varied architecture form, we embrace nostalgia and acknowledge the inherent, if indefinite, significance of the Classical elements, genera, and their organization, taxis. Classicism provides an established register against which architecture might be evaluated and understood. Thus, amid a preponderance of indeterminate architectural form, a new Mannerist Project emerges, augmenting and modifying the Classical kit-of-parts and rule set with computational methodologies.

Located at the site of the abandoned Chicago Spire, this project is motivated by the city’s history of tower-building and place-making. While the neoclassical style of the 1893 World’s Fair was not without detractors, none can deny the potency of its image. Its ordered civic grandeur inspired classically-styled architecture and city planning throughout the nation, legitimizing a rapidly evolving society via analogy to valorized ancient regimes.

This building understands classical form as an architectural means of codifying social structure. The parallels are overt: a configuration of discrete parts, governed by over-arching rules of proportion and order. With this in mind, the tower’s deep classical facade can be evaluated with respect to its deviation from the norms of the classical canon. Here, the genera are represented faithfully, the Doric, Giant Ionic, and Colossal Corinthian Orders rendered true to historic norms, but their organization is heretical. Hierarchy has been reconfigured in this thickened envelope of cascading classical thresholds. The primacy of greater Orders over lesser can no longer be taken for granted, sequence is fractured across multiple elevations, rhythm and symmetry emerge, then disappear. As such, the building reflects contemporary social structures, where diffuse and malleable networks have supplanted rigid hierarchical systems. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Stuart Beattie
United Kingdom

In the past few decades the world economy has seen a global shift of industry and manufacturing eastwards to the emerging markets of China and India purely for economic efficiency and not innovation. The rate at which urban populations are expanding will impact upon how we perceive the strategies of sustaining our cities with regards to supply and demand. The rise of global cargo shipping has seen the ability of local enterprises to move their businesses to areas of low labor costs but sharp rises in oil prices is only enhancing the argument of more localized production.

The population of New York City is expected to grow to 9.4 million people in the next two decades and in addition with a declining manufacturing industry, not aided by recent rezoning, the pressure to support the proposed influx will only grow exponentially with an ever-increasing reliance on imports. Dense cities such as New York, with a substantial inventory of older factory structures have the capability to look at the new innovative and flexible industrial methods to revive manufacturing locally and regionally.

In constrained, urban environments could certain import-reliant industries be designed to act vertically to prevent unnecessary horizontal expanses of manufacturing ultimately as a stimulus for urban and economic growth? How can a paradigmatic architectural approach be adopted to support and promote local and city wide manufacturing as a precedent for a new industrial urbanism?

The project aims to investigate, in a world of free trade and rapid globalization, the possibility of flexible alternatives to inefficient industrial sprawl by considering the prospect of vertical manufacturing towers.

Vertiginous manufacturing structures would be proposed in former areas of prominent industrial activity; where struggling businesses are being forced further away from their consumers due to higher rents and potential re-zoning uncertainty – Williamsburg, Long Island City, Newtown Creek and Red Hook amongst others. The manufacturing hubs would intend to act as a physical socio-political barrier to counter-act the adverse affects of the current administration’s inadequate industrial assistance and the onset of encroaching residential and commercial developments in nearby Long Island City and Williamsburg.

Three 158m high towers perched on the Newtown Creek peninsula in Queens aim to create a new paradigmatic urbanism within the eclectic idiosyncrasy of the city. The repeatable industrial cluster provides a range of flexible manufacturing spaces that can accommodate small/ large-scale industries, be they labor intensive or entirely mechanical, that would choose to locate in inner city New York. A vertical assembly line running up the south of each tower accommodates large mechanical industries that would otherwise have a huge footprint. An exterior mega structural frame, variable large floor to ceiling heights and exterior structural lift cores allow for maximum spatial allowance and adaptability. A reintroduction of the iconic finger pier has been utilized in order to re-establish alternate distribution methods that have become uncommon in the city with 90m high projections into the East River to enable waterborne traffic to once again freely interact directly with a large agglomeration of manufacturers on a small footprint in the heart of the city.

With an average of 10 floors, each tower has 70,000 sqft of rentable space in each tower with the potential for over 1000 employees or the equivalent of 40 local businesses. Over 3000 jobs/ 120 manufacturers can be accommodated through the development of each manufacturing node. Read the rest of this entry »