Arbor Tower

By:  | April - 29 - 2019

Honorable Mention
2019 Skyscraper Competition

Bilal Torğul, Mücahit Bilal Goker

There have never been so many people on earth in history as right now. As everyone knows, with the industrial revolution, the standards of living raised and became more available. The result was the population explosion. In the last century, the world population increased fourfold. The unprecedented rate of population growth caused unequal income distribution. While some people increase their wealth,the rest became more and more poor. This economic progress formed classes among people. And the poor have been forced to live in worst. For the cities, which had these kind of differences, the slums were the inevitable end. So what can be expected for the next century?

This process didn’t happen in the exactperiod for all countries.  While some complete their demographic transition, others were at the first stage and until they complete the transition, an unbelievable income inequality occurred between countries. Last century, the richest countries were only 3 times richer than the poorest. Today the gap is like 100 to 1.That cause an unstoppable increase on amount of people live in slums,even though the rate of population growth has been decreasing.

Today about 900 million people live in slums, in a couple years the number is going up to 1.6 billion, and the unequal income is accelerating it. By 2030, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 people on the planet will live in a slum. So, the expectation for the next century will be overcrowded mega slum cities covering continents.

People migrate cities to access more work opportunities. Despite increasing manpower, the work opportunities aren’t enough to extricate them from the cycle of poverty. Naturally, slums are imminent destination for these people.The immediate need for shelter for these people ends up with poorly constructed single story shelters, which are highly vulnerable to any types of environmental conditions,spreaded to large areas. Because of limited financial resources, there is no chance to improve the shelters to better conditions.Instead of investing financial resources in improving shelters, growing them in years will be a more suitable solution. Growing them by arborsculpture will cost only time and labor. These resources are more accessible than money in slums.

Arborsculpture is a series of gardening practices which combine grafting, bending, and training of living plants.The only investments to build such a house are saplings, stakes, sting, wire, tree tapes, pruners, saws and time. In a dense slum texture, in order to accommodate more residents in smaller footprint, trees can be grown at higher altitudes than ground by hydroponic system and become multistory building. Each story deck accommodates the roots as a grow tray and supported by trees planted in lower decks. As trees grow, they grafted to each other and whole building becomes a single organism which is also the only structural system of the building.

Rock Elm (ulmusthomasii) is the ideal tree with its strength, growth rate and suitability for arborsculpture to build such a tower. It lives almost 200 years and reaches 20 meters tall between 20 – 30 years. So it will take approximately 150 years to complete 100 meters tall building.In 150 years almost 2500 saplings must be planted to complete the building. During the process residents can start to settle in completed stories.

As a living organism the structural system can eliminate damages by healing itself. After 200 years the first planteds will complete their life, unexpected cracks and shrinks will occur, and it wouldn’t heal itself, so it will be disassembled. All the remaining materials, glass panels and approximately 5000 m³ timber logs, can be reused.

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