Honorable Mention
2020 Skyscraper Competition

Thomas Gössler
Austria

With deforestation being one of the biggest human-driven environmental problems this tendency not only has to be stopped but needs to be reversed. Using conventional methods such a reversal could take decades. The aim of this project is to use skyscrapers in combination with modern technology to automate the process of reforestation and re-naturalization.

The problem of deforestation is publicly known and can be defined as the loss of trees induced by both humans and other causes. It potentially affects wildlife, ecosystems, weather patterns, and even the climate and is mainly caused by either the natural loss of trees due to climate change and increasing devastation, especially in hot and dry areas or the manmade reduction of forest area which includes farming, grazing of livestock, mining, drilling and accounts for more than half of all deforestation. In Malaysia and Indonesia, forests are cut down to make way for producing palm oil; whereas in Brazil cattle ranching and farms—particularly soy plantations—are the key culprits. Many organizations are fighting to plant new trees. But despite such efforts, between 1990 and 2016, 1.3 million square kilometers of forest have been destroyed.

Big problems need big solutions, and the reforestation skyscraper could help to reverse the damage. It recreates forests out of cow grazing areas, soy fields and destroyed landscapes by centralizing all necessary processes into one structure. At the top, seeds are inserted into an aquaponic system which – once large enough – slowly slide down a winding ramp whilst continuing to grow. After a few weeks, the seedling has grown and gradually slid towards the bottom and can subsequently be planted into the surrounding fields by mechanical arms and drones.

The tower also houses a laboratory, a seed stock, water storage, a fire station for forest fires, sleeping cabins for temporary workers, a control center, several farming spaces, technology and exhibition spaces. Large semi-transparent solar sails make it energy self-sufficient and are slowly moved with an electrical chain drive and mechanical arms. The tower is 70 meters high and its design is biophilic and inspired by nature itself. The loadbearing construction consists of recycled steel and a building enclosure made of biodegradable and renewable eco-polymers. As for all biomimetic architecture, nature is by far the richest source of inspiration; therefore, this skyscraper mimics the unique Fibonacci spiral pattern found in many natural objects such as pinecones, pineapples, sunflowers, snail shells and the mesophyll in leaves.

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