Honorable Mention
2013 Skyscraper Competition

Jing Hao, Zhanou Zhang, Xingyue Chen, Jiangyue Han, Shuo Zhou

From the suffocation of Pompeii to the air traffic gridlock suffered in Iceland in 2010, the tephra that is expelled during volcanic eruptions has long posed grave threats to civilization. Since volcanic eruptions cannot be controlled, the designers of the VolcanElectric Mask I propose constructing an industrial structure over a volcano that can collect tephra during an eruption, keeping it out of the skies and away from cities and villages below, and also harness the power from the volcano’s heat in calm periods to provide clean electric power to surrounding areas.

For the prototype, the designers imagine locating the structure on the Popocatepetl Volcano, which is 70 km from Mexico City, is one of the ten most active volcanoes in the developed world and has 500,000 people living within 10 to 30 km from its crater.

The VolcanElectric Mask is actually a multi-layered skin that covers the volcano, perched above its surface and its lava crater. The skin is comprised of the adjoining tops of tentacles, which are shaped like screws, that are relatively flat on top – this is what is visible when one looks at the volcano – but are long and sharpen to a point at the bottom. This long, sharp bottom allows each tentacle to burrow into the volcano itself to monitor its temperature, helping to predict eruptions, and also allows each one to capture carbon dioxide that is used to create and store dry ice.

In periods of calm, each tentacle operates as a power station. The top layers of the tentacles, the screw head-like areas, which are above the ground, have ample openings, allowing the volcano’s surface to be ecologically undisturbed, with access to rain and fresh air. To create thermal energy, the top level of each tentacle acts as a rainwater collector. After a rain, water is transported to a sub-layer of the tentacle, where it comes into contact with lava. The resulting steam turns turbines in the middle of the tentacle, where the top meets the long, pointed bottom portion, and this creates clean thermal power. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2013 Skyscraper Competition

Khem Aikwanich, Nigel Westbrook
Thailand, Australia

The Symbiocity project rethinks the way prisons are built and operated in an effort to better criminal justice and rehabilitation systems. Traditionally, say the designers of the Symbiocity, prisons act like a parasite on cities, sucking resources but giving nothing in return. By locating prisons in city cores, they propose, prisoners are surrounded by society (instead of isolated in prisons located in rural areas), and therefore inspired to better themselves so they can reenter society.

Other changes are also proposed: prisoners will be paid more for the work they do while locked up, but they will also be charged for their accommodations, food, and other amenities, inspiring them to work harder to earn perks like nicer cells or better food. Prisons will also be forced to become more self sufficient, instead of relying on taxpayer dollars: this will be done with inmates having to grow their own food in vertical farms and raise their own livestock. It will also take in money by renting out its facilities for functions in the busy, surrounding city, and also selling memberships to the gym located inside, as prisoners only have access to those facilities for part of the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2013 Skyscraper Competition

Lee Seungsoo
South Korea

The Urban Earth Worm skyscraper uses one of the basest of creatures as its inspiration. Just as earthworms clean the soil and solve pollution problems, promulgating life in thriving ecosystems, this skyscraper will clean air and soil pollution in cities and also feed cities – literally.

The structure is in fact even shaped like a worm, horizontally extends and curves throughout the city, cleaning the air, processing waste and providing food in not just one but many points. The top part of the structure has growing tubes that are filled with soil and grow trees and plants. This green area cleans the city’s air and also provides crops for the city’s residents. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2013 Skyscraper Competition

Zhang Zhiyang, Liu Chunyao

This project begins with the premise that Shanghai’s distribution of water resources is out of balance. The first problem is a lack of groundwater; according to the designers of the Water Re-balance tower, the people of Shanghai, in the quest for clean water, have taken so much water from under the city since 1860 that the city itself has sunk 1.7 meters in the past 40 years. Additionally, the water supplies that do exist today are largely polluted. Despite that shortage, the city does experience flooding in monsoon season, and the Suzhou River’s level can sometimes reach to the city’s streets.

By building towers that can collect and purify rainwater and also purify the water from the river, several advantageous things occur: clean, drinkable water is readily available for the city; rising river levels are mitigated before flooding occurs; and clean water can also be pumped back under ground to fix the sinking subsidence problem the city is experiencing. Further, the tower collects organic matter as it filters the water and uses that waste to develop and feed farmland, wetlands, and to grow green algae. The farm and wetlands purify the air, and the algae is cultivated and processed within the tower by a generator to create energy. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2013 Skyscraper Competition

Xiaomiao Xiao, Lixiang Miao, Xinmin Li, Minzhao Guo

The Crater Scraper project is an imagined solution for the healing of the Earth’s surface as the planet suffers the impact of major asteroid strikes. Asteroid craters could be filled in with built settlements, holding communities of different sizes (depending on the size of the crater).

As cities historically form at a core and extend peripherally, Crater Scrapers too have a central core that connects the settlement as a whole vertically and horizontally. Elevator systems link infrastructure vertically, from the bottom of the crater to the Earth’s surface; at the top, a separate transportation system links the community across the expanse of the filled-in indentation. At the bottom of the city, people traverse its length on foot.

The crater is filled with towers and structures that are covered by a roof system that has large holes, causing the built community, from an aerial view, to resemble mesh. Imagining that top-down view, each cylindrical opening of the mesh holds a type of development that is needed for the community to function, from residences to shops and offices to hospitals to recreational spaces. The community as a whole is developed with the garden city model in mind, featuring a central park located at the core and open green spaces interspersed throughout. Read the rest of this entry »

Union Panorama

The Jangir Maddadi Design Bureau, a Sweden-based furniture design studio, has established a line of luxury benches, lamps and planters for interior and exterior spaces that are clean, aesthetically beautiful and utilitarian.

All of the company’s products are crafted locally; using Swedish artisans to design and craft their benches, planters and lamps is a point of pride for the Jangir Maddadi Design Bureau. The company strives to compliment their prioritization of regional artisans and materials with designs that are organic and earthy. Innovation, they stress, and forward-thinking configurations and aesthetics are also vital in their products’ designs, though.

Their pieces are grouped into three categories. The first, the “Union Family” is a line that uses large circles singularly or grouped to create both benches and planters. The planters, available in poured concrete or fiberglass, are large circles that slope proportionally to the ground. The benches are more complex; they are available in a variety of one, two and three- seat configurations. The “Panorama” bench design aligns two or three of the circular seats linearly, but also allows the option for one of the circles to be used as a planter. This design is ideal for hallways and corridors, can seat up to 12, and is, says the company, “inspired by the natural curves of people in movement.” The other possible configuration for benches creates a new type of tripod: three seats are connected in a triangle configuration that allows for both privacy, letting strangers comfortably cohabitate, and also intimacy, allowing a close space for friends to huddle to converse. The bases of the customizable benches are made of fiberglass; the moulds are poured by expert yacht makers on the country’s east coast. The circular seat cushions can be made in a variety of colors from felt, hand-sewn leather made on the Swedish island of Öland, or, in the “yacht” design, teak wood. Read the rest of this entry »

Engineering students Lorenzo Carrino, Andrea Bonamore, Riccardo Franchellucci and Lorenzo Bramonti from Rome, Italy have created, from their historic city, a skyscraper plan that will allow people to move with ease from one world capital to another.

The Mo.Ho., or Mobile Housing design incorporates moveable apartment units, “modules,” that are housed within Mo.Ho. towers or skyscrapers. The towers range between 50 and 80 meters tall, and are built on top of existing structures in an effort to increase density without increasing the city’s covered surface area. The skyscrapers are between 350 and 450 meters tall and can revitalized even the most “degraded” of urban areas, the students say. Their main draw is ample green space realized through green squares, public gardens and sports areas, which are connected via pedestrian green belts.

In Rome, the students have placed a Mo.Ho. skyscraper in the San Lorenzo neighborhood near the Termini station. An overpass highway that runs directly through the neighborhood is overtaken for the building’s implementation, and it is this area that is redeveloped into the greenway. Read the rest of this entry »

Imagine a giant, amorphous algae vine swallowing a traditional skyscraper.

Now imagine living inside that growth.

This is precisely what Polish architecture students Karolina Czochańska, Emilia Dekarz, Paweł Dudko and Justyna Krupkowska have proposed with their ‘Saprophyte’ design. In the future, they say, corporations will retreat to the virtual world, and communications will reach a height to where people no longer need to commute from work. People will reclaim urban centers from the corporations that have abandoned them, and, working from home, will need to be served by a more adaptable, flexible and efficient living structure.

The students have combined biology and architecture – biomorphic architecture — to propose a living mass that overtakes typical skyscraper structures and transforms them into buildings that can shrink, grow, split, or change in any way needed by residents. And, the bio mass is self duplicating, meaning new buildings effortlessly appear – they sprout “like flora.”

The design is both economical and effective because, the students say, it is based on the principles of self-sufficiency and energy efficiency. The students reached their design ideas through a study of biomimicry and asking, what can we learn from nature? Read the rest of this entry »

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? Read the rest of this entry »

Growing with stringy tentacles off of typical, rectangular high-rise towers is the Sky Cloud, a skyscraper that winds and grows from the ground into a twisting structure that resembles, at the top, an aquatic tail or fin.

The Sky Cloud design, by New Jersey and New York-based architects and designers Patricia Sabater, Christopher Booth and Aditya Chauan, presents a building whose skin and shape are “experimentations of deformation with portals and cellular growth.”  The portals feed the exotic needs of the future: gateways at the skyscraper’s peak allow for arrival and departures of sky taxis and a sky rail system. The building’s cells house a variety of functions, from apartments and hotel rooms to corporate meeting space, a “sky lounge” and a museum of economic crisis. The structure will also feature a park and a resource co-op. Read the rest of this entry »