The lack of ample natural settings in Seoul, Korea’s urban core isn’t just an aesthetic misstep: it’s one, five architecture graduate students from Seoul argue, that has cost many their lives.

The students, Ham Seung Pyo, Lee Doo Nam, Jeong Dae Kyo, Ngo Pham Thu Trang and Nguyen Thanh Vinh are concerned with the high rate of suicide amongst the elderly population in bustling Seoul, and cite the lack of safe access to pleasant rural scenery outside of the city as a contributing factor to the disturbing trend. They seek, then, to bring nature and relaxation the older populations stuck inside the city, by creating an opening, inviting green space for everyone to enjoy. They have designed a Seoul skyscraper that is solely devoted to nature and recreation.

To fit so much green space in a packed city is a difficult task, so the group proposes orienting it vertically. The building will be the same size as Yeouido Park, one of the city’s most popular and central open urban spaces, but that total mass will be achieved by chopping up the size of the park into 60 segments and then stacking them into skyscraper form.

To further connect the building with nature and relieve the stereotype of skyscrapers as cold, metal masses, the building’s color scheme will change and blend with the changing seasons. Technically, the building is designed to support green life through “light pipes” that can direct sunlight from the outside to the middle of the building. Rainwater is recycled to feed the greenery, and the air is naturally purified through the ample vegetation.

With their proposal, the students hope to take Seoul’s skyscraper future from a means to boast wealth to a form that can benefit all segments of the population, including those who need the access to nature most. Read the rest of this entry »

Belo Horizonte, Brazil architect Tiago Viegas has designed a skyscraper for his city, which is the third largest city in Brazil with a metro area population of 5.4 million, that will serve as a hotel, a commercial center and a public park.

The city is set to boom both residentially and commercially when the World Cup is hosted there in 2014, and Viegas seeks to design a building that is “fluid and permeable,” and that will allow public use of typically private areas. For example, he proposes allowing a street to run though the building’s base, and allowing public access to the building’s roof.

The building is ideally located on an empty lot surrounded by the region’s major train and light rail station, the Arrudas River, and the city’s Museum of Arts and Crafts.

The building’s design is an open stacking of units, with access to units only available on every third floor. Keeping access at a minimum has two distinct advantages, says Viegas: less materials are needed in the construction of the building, and also, wind will be able to pass through the open areas, bringing better air circulation for the building. The improved wind circulation also positively affects the city, he says, as tall buildings block the natural wind patterns on the landscape. Read the rest of this entry »

Unlike many newly proposed green skyscrapers, where sod and trees are planted level by level, a new living tower designed by three Parisian architects for their metropolis has a snaking column of dirt that rises through the tower, meaning the building’s connection to the earth is never lost.

Luis Fernandes, Cyrille Lallement and Brice Doltaire have designed the “Earth Tank Tower” to boldly bring nature back to Paris’ city streets. Citing the past innovation of bringing landscaped boulevards to the city in the 19th century as past precedent, the architects create startling images by placing their modern living Tower within the city’s historic fabric.

The Earth Tank Tower is a concrete shell filled with dirt, allowing the placement of trees and vegetation at any desired point. Almost like a tree with branches, the building grows vegetation from its core, or trunk. Though the main point of the building is to house and grow greenery, five residences can be positioned within the curves of the tower to add the additional use of living space. The apartments are linked to the building’s ample green space through outdoor staircases. Read the rest of this entry »

Ginger Krieg Dosier, an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, is thinking beyond traditional building materials. The material of the future, she poses, should be pollution free and use little energy: it should be grown in laboratories.

Dosier has envisioned a new material to build transmission towers in the UAE desert, and it is based on the rapid growth of bacteria. She bases her idea off of the specific germ Sporosarcina Pastuerii, which is a common soil bacteria that can create a “biocement” material that has the ability to fuse with sand and, through a process known as Calcite Precipitation (MICP), creates a material that is sustainable, unlike wood, and unexpected, unlike concrete. The process is as such: the bacteria is grown and then fed into a 3-D printer, which will meld the bacteria with graded sand.  This mixture is then molded into units, utilizing local industrial facilities to create the units with casts. This method of material creation yields little waste, and allows for accuracy throughout the building process, with units being created thicker or thinner depending on what each area of the tower needs. Read the rest of this entry »

The Soundscape Towers, the creation of Roman architects Alessandro Di Clemente, Martina Mattia and Carmen Pia Scarilli, are proposed for a very specific and historic location. Nestled into the dense urban fabric of the San Lorenza neighborhood of Rome will be three modern skyscrapers, and their design will not be entirely unwelcome, say the artchitects: though the neighborhood is part of the once walled-in old city, the building stock today is a mixture of history and modernity as much of the town was bombed in WWII (and subsequently rebuilt).

San Lorenza is located near the busiest train station in southern Italy and is home to the largest university campus in Europe, giving the towers a diverse array of community needs to meet. The architects studied the estimated growth rate of the region to calculate the use of the towers. Each tower has a different blend of units within: the buildings house a mixture of offices, student and family housing, commercial spaces for shops, restaurants and pubs, post offices, pharmacies, museums, theaters, a library, and relaxation areas, such as parks and sport fields. The towers are all accessible from the ground, but are also connected to one another with “sinusoidal bands.” Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Thomas Griffin, in designing a new skyscraper for Melbourne, Australia, has taken the city’s master plan for the year 2030 into account: the city needs to densify significantly over the next two decades, and Griffin has designed a building to do just that.

Tower Malapropos is designed to be different than the typical vertical tower with horizontal slabs. In the typical skyscraper, Griffin argues, the only place for people to socialize between floors happens on the elevator or in a stairwell. In an effort to promote “social sustainability,” he has designed ample social spaces between floors, with seating, gardens, and stairways. He calls the building’s floor plan an “undulating floor plate;” it is this flexible floor plan that will allow for the creation of social spaces between floors.

Tower Malapropos is firmly rooted in the needs of its site in Melbourne, but its inspiration actually comes from Japanese anime and the concept of “optical camouflaging.”

Housed in the Tower Malapropos will be gyms, offices, nightclubs, youth hostels, assisted living homes for the elderly, and more. To support such a diverse array of tenants, Griffin is urging for a reconsideration of the strict zoning codes in Melbourne’s central business district. He also suggests that large corporations offset rent as part of their corporate social responsibility programs so that social service providers can occupy prime space within the building. Read the rest of this entry »

If there’s one thing architect Timothy Gowan knows, it’s the buildings of New York City. Gowan sees the new architecture in the city evolving to incorporate sustainable technologies and innovations in design, but he sees this evolution as detached. Gowan seeks to add to the vernacular with a building that is able to take the urban context and previous precedent set by the city’s monuments into account while also embracing modernism.

The resulting building that Gowan has designed at once adds something new and fills a niche very specific to the block and building site it is designed for. The building is a 77-story tower constructed of steel, glass, limestone, and metal panels facing 8th Ave. between 42nd and 43th Streets. Citing a need for a break in the architectural patterning of the area, the base of his tower serves as an urban plaza. Read the rest of this entry »

If the city represents a desert, it might seem antithetical to propose that a skyscraper be the oasis, that refreshing place of respite amidst the harsh atmosphere. After all, skyscrapers are akin to sand dunes in the urban desert. However, four master’s students at Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea has envisioned a structure that functions as an oasis in the dense desert by appealing very specifically to the human senses.

Kim Kyung-hwan, Bae Sung-eun, Jang In-chul and Park Jong-bin have designed an “Urban Oasis” that addresses each of the human senses in a calming way so as to enable rest and relaxation by virtue of being and near the structure. Wide open spaces relieves stress on the eyes; quiet, natural areas appeal to the ears; organic fruits and vegetables available on site enliven taste buds; the fresh smell of natural space clears the mind via the nose; and the community within the building and their collective warmth brings comfort through the sense of touch. Read the rest of this entry »

In designing an entry for eVolo’s 2010 Skyscraper Competition, three architecture students from Romania, Csegzi Kamilla, Hoffman Alexandru and Moldovanu Vladimir, wanted to question what forces really impact a building’s design. The large, theoretical question comes from using Bucharest as the city to site a new skyscraper: in a place run, until recently, by a communist regime, along with the oppressed mentality and Soviet architecture that accompanies such a force, how can architecture help a culture move beyond a suffocating era?

An architectural style “without form,” the trio claim, can be a way that design can bring “progressive change,” as the architecture itself is eternally able to evolve, grow, develop. The group’s design shows rods growing out of stable, low structures; these rods have units attached to them as they ascend. The units can flexibly change as needed, shift within the building’s location or be replaced altogether. Read the rest of this entry »

Stuttgart, Germany architecture student Christian Hahn is dreaming of America with his “Use Arrangement” eVolo 2010 Skyscraper Competition entry, which envisions a lively tower for the tip of Manhattan near Battery Park.

To honor the constant flow of traffic, both human and automobile in New York City, Hahn has designed the building to accommodate pedestrian traffic; he seeks the lively flow of people in the building’s core so that it feels “alive.”

The structure itself is a series of thick geometrical shapes arranged into a cohesive tall tower; each individual honeycomb is a “parcel” with several horizontal slats as floors that can hold different units. The massive tower has enough space to essentially act as its own city, with parcels being used as residences, offices, parks, retail space. The building will even house a police station, a fire station and a school. Read the rest of this entry »