Daniel Caven of the Illinois Institute of Technology was featured in the American Institute of Architecture‘s Architect Magazine and was a finalist for Schiff Fellowship Award for his Relief Tower. Caven’s concept is capable of generating active energy outputs as well sustainable mechanical devices that will achieve economic gains for major cities, such as Chicago. Past ideas of towers acting as modern monumental statues in this modern world have become obsolete. Now towers must incorporate adaptive qualities for climate change and environmental conditions to withstand tests of sustainability as well as create a generative life.

The Relief Tower is designed around environmental conditions from a parametric mind-set while using rules of analysis to govern design choices. Located in the River North area of Chicago, the Relief Tower will be able to generate power to several neighboring buildings as well as a triple zero goal for itself. The form was generated by computational fluid dynamic analysis, as well as large physical models that underwent wind tunnel analysis. The animalistic (amphibious) form was manipulated to push wind into the outer, non-habitable, wing like extremities, that house vertical wind turbines. The funneling conditions in the outer extremities, push the wind faster towards the inset turbines, as well as push air towards the atrium. The energy created through this technique not only powers the towers own-self, but many neighboring buildings. Conservation of energy in the Relief Tower is one of the many factors and goals for itself. The outer skin of the tower creates a screening effect that protects itself from outside elements, as well as creating a play with shadows to the people within. The outside skin opens and closes due to sun radiation and changing elevation in relationship to program (using parametric alterations in the metals’ properties). The tower accommodates offices for a third of the tower as well as luxury hotels for the remaining levels, with a rooftop sky bar/pool area for attendees.

The Relief Tower can be situated in cities strategically through coordination with electrical grids as well as residual wind patterns that are analyzed in the CFD programs.  The tower is oriented and placed to withhold maximum production to itself as well as its neighbors. While in use this tower would be able to power many of the major buildings around the area, keeping the city alive and applicable.

The Relief Tower takes on social and political gains towards investors, as well creating a symbol and presence of architecture. This symbolism is a new typology that should expand the world of architecture; to not only create living and working spaces but instill designs that demonstrate functionality and provide for the need of growing cities. The Relief Tower is the start to a new style and symbolism to Chicago, marking new landmarks of guardship and sustainability to the modern city.

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