Before modern structures as we know them were developed, man and animal lived together in nature. Gothenburg, Sweden-based architects Joakim Kaminsky, Fredrik Kjellgren, Maria Martinez Fabregas, Alexandra Agapie and Shadi Jalali Heravi with the firm SAR/MSA have proposed reinstating this original cohabitation, but in today’s modern, vertical context.

Their concept, called “Alive Architecture,” imagines a skyscraper in Shanghai that houses both human and animal inhabitants within a building that blends the typical domiciles of both: modern building materials in the building’s core protect the building’s mechanical systems, but more primitive materials on the exterior, including wicker, straw, clay, mud and stone mimic a bird’s nest and earlier human building methods as well.

This blending of nature and modernism is the arch that “green architecture” could taken to restore what has been lost in our typical urban centers. Building vertically, the architects argue, solved cities’ density problems, but simultaneously grievously harmed human interaction with other people and with nature. What if the new green architecture were developed as a functional habitat for wildlife, they ask?

Animals and insects including bees, birds and squirrels will live in this skyscraper. The bottom floors function as multi-story parking, and are also a habitat for animals and birds. The top floors of the parking area also have space for bee colonies. Above that, floors are devoted to more “community-oriented” endeavors such as a shopping center and public green spaces. The area is u-shaped to allow birds and natural light in. Levels above that are used as residential space.

This new high-rise typology creates “a building that aims to become a symbol: not of power or wealth, but of a new era of harmony and interplay between nature and mankind.”

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