When looking at high rise buildings as housing, two extremes often come to mind: luxury skyscrapers that provide penthouses to the rich and powerful, and overcrowded “projects” that offer often substandard living conditions to lower-income families.

Ilana Prac, an interior design student at Tel Aviv, Israel’s Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, has designed a skyscraper that seeks to soften those two extremes. In Prac’s “Merging Lifestyles” 2010 eVolo skyscrapers competition entry, people of varying economic and social backgrounds come together to live in one building, which is a solid structure composed of many multi-sized and colored pods. While merging its population internally, the building also seeks to meld elements on its exterior, seaming into the Neve Tsedek neighborhood of Tel Aviv through use of the area’s vernacular materials and typology.

The pods’ sizes and amenities vary depending on what their tenants can afford, and the building as a whole offers offices, shops, a library, a school, an underground pool and a garden. The interior spaces of the individual pods are ultra modern, almost space age in look, but still accessible: softening elements, such as the use of natural wood paneling and accessories, are wisely utilized.

Prac sees the opportunity of blending different populations into one building as a chance for individuals to enhance their connections, relationships and trade possibilities. The building design almost resembles a cluster of balloons, shining orbs clustered, all at different heights, but all reaching to the sky. This vision mirrors Prac’s idealistic design intention: it’s beautiful, and lofty, but still firmly rooted in the ground. It’s a possibility for a friendlier future.

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