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Third Place
2014 Skyscraper Competition

YuHao Liu, Rui Wu
Canada

Carbon capture is an emerging practice aimed at obtaining and containing greenhouse gases to mitigate their net availability in the atmosphere. However, existing carbon capture practices use the method of point capture, catching carbon gases at the source, requiring a significant initial investment in additional facilities, infrastructure, and maintenance of underground storage. Hence, the implementation of point capture method may directly and indirectly contribute to a significant sum of greenhouse gases through construction, material production and processing, in addition to the contingencies associated with underground storage.

Current research on carbon gases suggests alternative method of capture, such as air capture through carbon-philic resins and material processes that transform carbon dioxide into solid construction material.

Taking this one step further, we hypothesized a material capable of assimilating carbon dioxide as a means to self-propagate. Employing such a material allows air capture of carbon dioxide and the resultant production of a solid construction material capable of supporting load. Channeling its properties, we propose a skyscraper that grows. By constructing a simple vertical grid scaffold as a framework, we are given control to the extent and underlying structure of the skyscraper. Required ingredients for material propagation are supplied through the scaffold, while its actual pattern of growth is defined by environmental factors such as wind, weather, and the saturation of carbon dioxide within the immediate atmosphere. Thus each resulting structure is sui generis in its formal expression, while maintaining a regular spatial organization for ease of occupation and adaptation.

Various circulation methods can be employed depending on the need; this and the retrofitting of circulation enable the occupation of individuals in different ways. Naturally, clusters of habitation will emerge with the circulation access at its center, with each structure able to accommodate multiple circulation access ways and clusters. As occupied spaces increase, varying points of access can be linked to form lifted streetscapes between a multiplicity of clusters. While programmatic attributions are left undefined and inherently open to occupying individuals, the open structural framework allows tetris-like stacking and up to six directions to extend existing space. The regularity of its physical form guarantees the ease and accessibility of occupation, attracting and inspiring new methods of habiting within the skyscraper. Given the three-dimensional freedom of occupying space, new forms of social interaction may also emerge as a result.

Unlike conventional skyscrapers, which rely on steel frame and concrete casting, the proposed skyscraper suggests a more environmental conscious construction method, an alternative mode of occupation and ownership, and possibly a distinct organization of social relationships. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Qiu Song, Kang Pengfei, Bai Ying, Ren Nuoya, Guo Shen
China

Sand Babel is a group of ecological structures designed as scientific research facilities and tourist attractions for the desert. The structures are divided into two parts. The first part, above ground, consists of several independent structures for a desert community while the second part is partially underground and partially above ground connecting several buildings and creating a multi-functional tube network system.

The main portion of each building is constructed with sand, sintered through a solar-powered 3D printer. The top structures are based on the natural phenomena called Tornadoes and Mushroom Rocks, which is very common in deserts. It utilizes a spiral skeleton structure, which is tall, straight and with strong tension, to meet the requirements of residential, sightseeing and scientific research facilities. The dual funnel model not only improves cross-ventilation, but also generates water condensation atop the structures based on temperature differences. The net structure for the portion of underground and surface is similar to tree roots. This design not only helps to keep flowing sand dunes in place but also facilitates communication among the buildings. Read the rest of this entry »

Climatology Tower

By:  | March - 20 - 2014

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Yuan-Sung Hsiao, Yuko Ochiai, Jia-Wei Liu, Hung-Lin Hsieh
Japan, Taiwan

If you feel ill, you seek medical assistance. If the city is sick, what should we do? The Climatology Tower is a proposed skyscraper designed as a research center that evaluates urban meteorology and corrects the environment through mechanical engineering. The skyscraper analyses microclimates within cities as a result of the use of industrial materials, the accumulation of buildings, and the scarceness of open spaces.

In order to maintain a healthy environment for the city, two main strategies are employed:

Environmental control engineering
The environmental control system consists of evaluation and operational programs. Evaluation programs inspect city climates through a variety of factors such as insolation, radiation, and thermal coverage. Collected data is compared with humidity levels and then mechanical systems respond to reduce or increase the levels to optimal environmental conditions.

Information expression
In addition to automatically adjusting to optimal environmental conditions, data is transferred from a control center to extensive city departments, giving opportunity to ultimately maintain a healthy environment throughout the entire city. This can benefit entire communities, notifying all of present and upcoming environmental hazards and conditions. Climatic information is also displayed publicly, though digital networks, notifying the public on maintaining certain conditions, to preserve both energy and health. Read the rest of this entry »

Launchspire

By:  | March - 20 - 2014

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Henry Smith, Adam Woodward, Paul Attkins
United Kingdom

A cylindrical matrix of super tall structure centered on an electromagnetic vertical accelerator to eliminate the hydrocarbon dependency of aircraft during takeoff. The radical re-interpretation of the skyscraper format provides hyper density in an organic and adaptive habitat.

Commercial air travel is celebrating its centenary in 2014 and over the last 100 years aviation has made an unprecedented impact on the way people can experience an interconnected and relatively open world. Looking ahead, we can see that in 2050 aviation is predicted to fly 16 billion passengers and 400 million tones of cargo. We must be able to manage that with sustainable technologies and efficient infrastructure.

The future of Aviation is anticipated to rely on energy dense hydrocarbon fuels to provide the power required to make flight possible. On short flights, as much as 25% of the total fuel consumed is used during takeoff. The most fuel-efficient route length for airlines is 4,300 kilometers, roughly a flight from Europe to the U.S. East Coast. About 45 percent of all flights in the European Union cover less than 500 kilometers.

An electromagnetic vertical accelerator, utilizing the technological principles developed at CERN’s LHC and maglev train propulsion, provides a method for commercial aircraft to be accelerated to cruising speed using renewable electrical energy sources from ground based infrastructure. The longer the accelerator and greater exit velocity resulting in the aircraft being closer to cruising altitude. This creates a need for a super tall structure that is advantageous due to improvements in aviation efficiency, not as an iconic expression of supremacy.

We propose a new methodology of ‘spiral tube’ structure that ensures a habitable floor plate depth and simple pedestrian movement throughout the structure, whilst providing an overall cross-sectional width to overcome stability issues.

The structural solution is born out of a desire to reinvigorate the ‘core and floor plate’ model of high-rise buildings. By creating a continuous street of privately owned ‘plots’ of habitation the development and evolution of the towers inhabitation becomes organic and specifically tailored to provide for the people that live within the tower. The use of plots would be governed by a democratic planning system to ensure the building serves its occupants well. Schools, hospitals, commercial, residential uses would be interspersed throughout the tower with approximately one third of all Plots to be public green spaces, nature reserves and farm land. Due to the scale of the building different climates would be experienced at various levels of the structure housing various wildlife and crop species, whilst also being natural devices for internal climate control.

The concept is essentially a helical version of the classic urban grid environment. This has the benefits of extreme high density, elevated living, mass transportation to different levels, pedestrian and cycle travel locally to enable healthy living. Community interaction and a unique and varied sense of place is achieved to each area of the tower. As the building ages specific areas develop to support an organic and culturally rich network of settlements within the matrix of the structure.

The towers can be built close to renewable energy infrastructures; hydropower in the mountains, tidal and offshore wind nearer the coast. The city is the building, the surrounding environment will remain natural thus the urban realm becomes a vertical entity within the wilderness.

The building is effectively a confluence of road, rail, air and space transportation. A contemporary settlement built around the movement of people. Read the rest of this entry »

Hyper-Speed Vertical Train Hub

By:  | March - 20 - 2014

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Christopher Christophi, Lucas Mazarrasa
United Kingdom

The cinematic vision of hyper speed rail was once a phenomenon. However, nations from around the world from the USA to UK are again consolidating futuristic proposals for an advanced public transport network, to maximize the economic growth of their cities.

The Hyper Speed Vertical Train Hub, aims to resolve the inevitable challenges that cities will face by 2075, and offers a deliverable and sustainable solution for the future of the transport generation.

As the world’s population dramatically increases, the demand for goods, natural resources, foods, fuel and land would have increased significantly by 2075. The majority of the future’s population will gravitate towards living in mega-cities, increasing the pressure and competition for adjacent suburban land, therefore forcing cities to explore more innovative forms of public transport.

The essence of time is already an invaluable representation for the technological revolution. Smart phones, video calls are already cemented into society as mandatory modes of communication. However, our proposal will not only simplify time, it will reduce co2 emissions, increase energy security and revolutionize international trading relations. The project will become a ‘repeatable’ piece of infrastructure that can be implemented to support any city around the world, connecting to a new Hyper Speed under and over ground network, with trains covering an average distance of 300miles in 30 minutes.

The Hyper-Speed Vertical Train Hub aims to replace existing flagship train stations and create new key connective points for the exchange of people and goods with the new hyper speed network. The proposal will ‘flip’ the traditional form and function of the current train station design vertically, and re-form it into a cylindrical mass to increase the towers train capacity. This tall cylindrical form aims to eliminate the current impact that traditional stations have currently on land use, therefore returning the remaining site mass back to the densely packed urban Mega City. This remaining land will surround the base of the tower forming a large urban park, leading towards to the base of the Hyper-Speed Vertical Hub.  Passengers will travel into the main lobby allowing travelers to ascend through the atrium and through the platforms and onto the carriages. The trains will create a dynamic and kinetic facade, one that will be continuously evolving and responsive to the workings of the vertical hub, a language that can be read by the whole city. As the train travels and transitions from its horizontal formation, and ascends up the facade vertically, the carriages will pivot similar to that on a ‘Ferris wheel’, allowing the passengers within the carriage to remain in an upright position and facing towards the cityscape. The carriages will be supported by a magnetic structure located at either side, eliminating the need for rails beneath, and allowing the carriages and its passengers to connect to the tower. Read the rest of this entry »

Rainforest Guardian Skyscraper

By:  | March - 20 - 2014

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Jie Huang, Jin Wei, Qiaowan Tang, Yiwei Yu, Zhe Hao
China

The Rainforest Guardian Skyscraper consists of a water tower, a forest fire station, a weather station, and scientific research and education laboratories. It stands still at the Amazon’s frontier, preventing fires effectively by capturing rainwater in the rainy season and irrigating the land in the dry season.

The lotus-shaped water tower is capable of capturing rainwater directly. The collected water is filtered and stored in spare reservoirs. Using capillarity combined with active energy, the aerial roots with a distinct sponge-structure can absorb and store the excess water without disturbing the Amazon’s ecosystem. In the case of fire, firefighters fly to the scene and extinguish the fire with the collected water. In addition, the Guardian Skyscraper provides special scientific research laboratories for scientists to monitor the climate change and the ecosystem stability. The laboratories also act as exhibition spaces for tourists to create environmental awareness. Read the rest of this entry »

The New Tower Of Babel

By:  | March - 20 - 2014

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Petko Stoevski
Germany

Cities are strongly influenced by their landscapes resulting in various spaces and unique structures, which define its inhabitants’ way of life. Some cities have open, free spatial structures while others evolve vertically following a particular grid.

The New Tower of Babel is a steel construction built over the desert surface with multiple levels planned depending on the landscape’s topology. The top two panels are made of glass, and the air contained in between is warmed up by the sunlight. The structure is slightly tilted upwards, which leads the air to the middle of the tower into an inner cylindrical. The updraft power channels the warm air into the chimney tower, propelling the wind turbines located in the base of the building, thus converting kinetic energy into electrical power. Under the glass panels, protected from adverse weather conditions, dust, and debris, photovoltaic panels are placed. They generate electricity while reflecting the sunrays thereby further increasing the temperature of the air contained between the glasses. Underneath, the floor plates are transformable and can be utilized in different ways, including the transportation of people and goods as well as the transmission of water, gas or electricity. Moreover, the photovoltaic panels cast a shadow, which cools down the land’s surface. This newly created microclimate allows the creation of residential and recreational areas as well as the development of agriculture.

The individual spatial elements create a common body and allow the use of space in different ways. The elements follow the principles of statics: by gradually decreasing the weight of the structures moving from the base up. Different solutions of the open spaces break off the continuity of inner spaces and create places with unique identity. The Tower of Babel establishes a new landscape, which makes use of the natural forces of an upwind power plant and therefore stretches from the horizontal to the vertical. The environment is decided as an open city, with maximum freedom. The building is characterized by many different spaces and leaves their use open to improvisation. Therefore, life develops in different places with different intensity. The project reinforces the principles of sustainability, which allow long term economic, social, and ecological development. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Thibaut Deprez
France

Light and resistant, bamboo is traditionally used as a building material in numerous regions around the globe. Over time, its allocation was somewhat modified, especially in Asia. Henceforth, within great cities, it is restricted to being used as a building construction support. In this way, it was used for the scaffolding of five of the greatest skyscrapers in the world. Bamboo scaffolding served the splendor of these constructions, but also contributed to the erection of many much more modest towers. These towers make us feel ill at ease because of the harshness and coldness of their frontages. The virtually infinite stacking of identical storeys annihilates all human expressions and interactions. Abruptly cloned, these towers produce oppressing dormitory towns.

The stance of this project is set up around the observation of the harshness of these towers and to suggest a solution. The project offers to use bamboo scaffoldings as a driving force to promote the revival of these buildings. By making them permanent and inseparable from the construction. They endow the towers with an external surface which the inhabitants can directly claim and where life can expand. They produce a net which can be fashioned according to the circumstances, specific to each building and give each one a true identity. They promote the emergence of authentic vertical gardens in places where density does not allow the establishment of horizontal gardens. Furthermore, they favor the stabilization of structures during earthquakes and support an ecological production of energy – towers and bamboo scaffoldings achieve symbiosis. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Chris Thackrey, Steven Ma, Bao An Nguyen Phuoc, Christos Koukis, Matus Nedecky, Stefan Turcovsky
United States

The PleXus Tower emerges from the banks of the West Hong Kong Harbor as a distribution of disjointed structures, initially finding itself amidst the neighboring ferry terminal. The structure starts out as distributed pods reaching out to connect with the city’s transportation fabric, accepting traffic from the water in the form of boats, ferries, and other water vehicles. This misfit arrangement of structural pods weaves into alignment with the Macau terminal to greatly increase the scale of the transportation hub. Bridged together by connected pipelines over the water, these pods work in harmony with the existing Macau Ferry Terminal to expediently move people towards the inner structure. This assembly forms a podium for the first segment of the tower, which emerges as a parking structure accessible from the highway network tangent to the tower.

Located at the water’s edge next to the Macau Ferry Terminal, the tower’s design varies in both its circulation and organization to control the speed at which it receives and negotiates the flow of traffic to optimize movement around and inside the structure.

As you move inward from the receiving pods, the main structure begins to evolve its own function. First is a horizontal parking structure on the lower levels of the main building, which emerges as a parking structure accessible from the connected highway network to efficiently receive car traffic. As you move up the main structure, business and shopping space is available, all accessible by car to the highest level of the tower. The upper reaches of the towers are set aside for residential space, high above the noise of the city, providing a living area that incorporates spectacular views of the dynamic city skyline. A heliport on top of the structure can receive air traffic from above.

The solid form on the south side of the main tower receives solar energy during the day, providing power to the building. The skin is breathable with numerous openings designed to overlap each other, undulating throughout, allowing carbon dioxide to easily filter out from the designated parking areas on the lower levels. Each parking level will also utilize foliage to further filter carbon dioxide from the air helping to reduce pollution in Hong Kong.

The PleXus tower was conceived as a segmented, but highly connected network of major transportation functions, as well as housing conventional program. The shift in the way the tower design is read, as well as in the functionality of each segment, provides greater programmatic control. Residential is accessible yet private, parking is convenient, and circulation through the ground-level public space is able to provoke interest. At night, lights will glow from the panels, reminding us of the connections these segments share as well as blending in with Hong Kong’s unique night skyline. Read the rest of this entry »

Hyper Filter Skyscraper

By:  | March - 20 - 2014

Honorable Mention
2014 Skyscraper Competition

Umarov Alexey
Russia

The Hyper Filter Skyscraper recognizes the threat of environmental pollution to Earth. Under today’s levels of pollution, harmful substances spread over hundreds of kilometers and a whole region and even a country could represent a single pollution source.

The Hyper Filter Skyscraper is designed to inhale carbon dioxide and other harmful gases in cities and exhale concentrated oxygen. The skin of the project is made out of long pipe filters that ensure the cleaning process. While clean air is released to the atmosphere, all the harmful substances are stored for use in the chemical industry. Read the rest of this entry »