The harsh sun, waterless dunes and spectacular, stark forms created by mountains of sand swirling in the wind are seen as inspirations of incredible beauty by architects Francisco J. del Corral del Campos and Carmen M. Barrós Velásquez, both of Granada, Spain. The two celebrate this landscape and respond to its demands in their new skyscraper design for a greenhouse tower in the Oman desert.

The architects literally cast their idea for the “Oasis” tower into the wind to help define its shape. By examining the effect of the site’s southeast wind on a tower, they designed the building to respond to the wind’s movement, its sweeping flow, by softly curving its form as it arches into the sky.

Solar energy and biogas generation from organic waste material will power the tower’s energy needs, and water from the ocean will be transported and desalinated to provide the drinking water and irrigation supply. Additionally, gray water is reused to cool the building and the surrounding environment through a spray process that creates a cooling vapor around the building. Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

The Sustainable Ocean Living (SOL) tower and complex, designed by Australian architects David John McMorrow and Mario Celik, brings a new possible solution to housing the earth’s rapidly growing population – ship them out to sea.

Three billion new people will be born on this planet by 2050, experts say, posing unprecedented burdens on the earth’s resources. McMorrow and Celik see this as an opportunity to utilize modern technology to create a city that is, exotically enough, located in the middle of the ocean. The pair has designed, in SOL, a city system that is completely self-sufficient. Wave power harnessed through buoys provides the city’s energy, vertical agriculture and ocean fish farms provide food, and a marina with luxury hotels, restaurants and other amenities will make the city an exciting and enjoyable place to live and visit. Read the rest of this entry »

In a metaphorical seaming of the social and economic divides that keep downtown and suburban Raleigh, North Carolina separate, Carlos Paredes and Sofia Chiriboga, M. Arch students at the Savannah College of Art and Design, have designed a building that seeks to unite the city’s population through housing, retail, services, and an appealing landscape.

The city’s once structured grid, deformed over time, has served as the design inspiration for the building’s multi-use towers, which curve and intertwine within a skeleton of intersecting rectangular frames. The building’s two towers are also symbolic: the lower tower houses a financial services complex and represents Raleigh’s urban population, and the taller tower, which nestles into the lower at points, represents the wants of the city’s suburban population by providing high-end housing units. Elevators that move both horizontally and vertically are utilized to link floors within the 15 and 30-story towers, and ample greenery is interspersed to provide shading and organic gardens. Read the rest of this entry »

Architect Tamir Lavi of Tel Aviv, Israel is using bamboo as the material in his new apartment skyscraper, but not in the way you might think. Bamboo isn’t Lavi’s construction material – it’s his research material.

The stalk of a bamboo plant – its sturdy inner skeleton, the way light shines through to the inside, the layout of its hollw cells – has served as a blueprint for the conception of Lavi’s building, which is proposed for the northern “diamond exchange” border area of Tel Aviv. Using bamboo’s strength against wind and other environmental stressors as evidence of its design superiority, Lavi’s skyscraper version replicates the cell layout to arrange the individual apartments, and uses the sun’s infiltration in thinking about how to control natural light throughout the building. Read the rest of this entry »

In his project “Collage Scape,” Kang Woo-Young, an associate professor at the Kaywon School of Art and Design in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea imagines a future where nature has been eradicated from the modern urban landscape, and must be replaced with a man-made landscape. To combat a sea of typical skyscrapers, Woo-Young has designed a building that stacks “memories of nature,” and mimics the natural world’s patterns by blending mathematical precision with art and technology. Using the layering and fluctuating forms of energy fields, lava flows and sediment accumulation as inspirations, the building builds layers of curving shapes into a 600 meter-tall skyscraper, a utopian oasis in the newly developed modern metropolis of Songdo in Incheon, South Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

London architecture student Jonathan Gales doesn’t just think the 20th century’s iconic office skyscraper is outdated — he thinks it should be buried. Or chunks of it, at least.

Gales, an M. Arch student at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, England has proposed, for his eVolo Skyscrapers competition entry, the partial deconstruction of individual skyscrapers to allow for increased green space at staggered heights throughout the city. Citing a 2009 figure from the Telegraph that 11.9 percent of offices in the city are sitting vacant (the equivalent of 10 skyscrapers), Gales poses the idea that replacing a section of each individual office tower with trees and green space would create an increased capacity for the city’s “urban lung.” And instead of sending all that metal and glass to landfills, Gales proposes a sustainable – and ideological – repurposing: re-craft these old offices into an underground tomb to honor to the outdated skyscraper, and all it represents. The Mausoleum to Late Capitalist Iconography would house a think tank dedicated to social, cultural and economic design research, and host debates and symposia below the city’s surface. In a marrying of economic theory and architectural design, Gales asks his audience to consider what the cities of the future really need, and what’s best left to the past. Read the rest of this entry »

Can a building still be called a skyscraper if it, in fact, never has contact with the sky above sea level?

Matthew Fromboluti of Washington University in St. Louis thinks so, and has designed a skyscraper that seeks not only to hold a veritable society worth of people and uses, but simultaneously heals the scarred landscape of the desert outside of Bisbee, Arizona. His project, titled “Above Below,” proposes the infill of a 900-foot deep and nearly 300-acre wide crater left by the former Lavender Pit Mine with a structure that will hold living and working areas, and green space for farming and recreation.

The building is completely self-sustaining, with its own power source, water recycling system, and mechanisms such as a solar chimney to control the artificial climate. Enclosed with a dome roof, the building is completely contained underground, with only strategically-placed skylights for climate control providing access to the world above ground. However, the society living inside is far from isolated – a light-rail system connects the building with nearby Bisbee. Read the rest of this entry »