The Valley Of Giants

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Eric Randall Morris, Galo Canizares
United States

Located north of Tindouf, Algeria, the Valley of the Giants is the largest oasis in Northern Africa. However, this was not always the case. In the early 21st century, the area was mostly dust. Water was scarce, and the only inhabitants were nomadic tribes like the Tuareg people. As global conflicts grew and their impact rippled over several continents, demand for refugee housing and temporary settlements increased in the area. Frustrated, the country’s government decided that they needed to build something; a permanent solution to the temporal problems which kept piling up. They needed something that addressed the influx of immigrants, the desertification of the area, and changing cultural diversity; something beyond a quick-fix.

Architecture was the solution. But not a contingency plan; rather, a catalyst. The proposal was not to build temporary shelters or redesign a city from scratch, but instead to use infrastructure and ecology to jumpstart and augment already existing environmental and cultural systems. The concept was simple: a series of towers that would (1) house plant-spores, (2) produce, collect, and treat water, and (3) pollinate the surrounding landscape, catalyzing the production of an oasis in the region. The structures themselves had to be of an immense scale in order to effect significant change; thus they were designed as 1km tall, thin, cylinders. In addition to their independent functions, a new network of underground pipes was implemented to facilitate the creation of pools and wells. Within 20 years, the area would drastically transform from a barren landscape into the Valley of the Giants.

Today it is home to both permanent residents and traveling nomads. The oasis extends far to the base of the Anti Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and south to the city of Tindouf. The new urban development is a mixture of traditional Tuareg tents, permanent clay huts, and contemporary dwellings. Politics and social life have their ups and downs, but there hasn’t been a major conflict in the area since the time before the Giants. The structures themselves are still functional. They tower over the villages like keepers of the land. Some communities have even invented their own stories of how the Giants came, suggesting a new mythology and awareness of these mysterious structures. Read the rest of this entry »

Global Cooling Skyscraper

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Paolo Venturella, Cosimo Scotucci

Our planet is going through the irreversible process of global warming, and even if various strategies have been planned to solve the problem, none of them provided a solution. This is causing natural disasters all over the planet. The temperature all around the planet is increasing making the ice in the pole melt. Only a “global strategy” can be adopted.

To cool down the temperature a huge greenhouse is placed in between the sun and us. This works according the same principle of the “solar tower”. Thanks to the accumulation of heat in the glazed structure, air flows naturally from hot to cold generating rapid and strong flows. These flows bring hot air far from the Earth cooling down the temperature of the whole globe. The airflows restore better climate conditions and moreover generate renewable energies by wind turbines placed inside the structures. The structure acts either on climate conditions or on energy production.

Furthermore this structure creates an amazing and surprising effect. Since it has to solve a problem for the entire planet, its dimension is over scaled. It has to be a unique and continuous structure, placed in a single point, and cantilever on both sides. It results as a tangent object on the planet. It touches the ground in a unique point, and for this reason it is perceived in different ways from different parts of the world. On the Equator it looks a horizontal element while from the poles it looks a vertical one. The impressive structure allows solving a critical question and works maintaining perfect climate conditions and providing clean energy for all. Read the rest of this entry »

Tower Of New Arcadia

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Joseph Konrad Kosmas Schneider, Vincent Johann Moller

The 22nd Century – Humankind succeeded in avoiding the dangers of the 21st century’s Technological Singularity. Through great efforts and extensive preparation the crucial moment of the awakening of a self-improving Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) could be predicted and controlled. Mankind was able to stay the most powerful yet not the most intelligent species on the planet while ASI became its god-like slave – forever bound to serve humanity in its needs.

Induced by ASI, unimaginable, all-embracing progress throughout the entire research was achieved, lifting the human state of knowledge to uncharted heights.

Step by step the human biological body was technically modified. Biological evolution merged with technology. Human communication changed into the medium of electromagnetic radiation, eventually the human mind was transcended into technical units and merged with ASI. A total integration happened. The human body was, through the immortality of its digital mind, eventually made redundant. Although physical reality is the basis of everything, being in it became obsolete. The shift of human reality from the physical to the digital world was completed.

The appearance of this digital world is beyond our current understanding of time and space – its only dimension is the speed of communication, the speed of data transfer. Cartesian locations loose their importance. The digital world is not a world of movement – it is a world of calling up.

Since being in this digital world differs entirely from human’s former nature, a new desire towards the physical reality arose at a certain point. Just like humanist artists used to depict the ideal ancient landscape of Arcadia in their paintings, mankind made the physical world into their world of NEW ARCADIA. For reasons of nostalgia human minds would then materialize into a favored biological body to experience this physical world`s truth.

The Tower of New Arcadia situates everything that used to constitute human life. It defines a place where people can meet and enjoy the beauty of physical world’s sensations.

A place of touch, sight, sound, smell and taste.

A place of pristine human interaction and feeling.

To stroll our so called Real World.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sensory Skyscraper

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Alexandr Pincov, Heng Chang
Moldova, China

Modernization and globalization symbolize human advancement in the 21st Century, but life in big “modern” cities is extremely pale, focusing only on work. Modernization, despite of all the conveniences it brings, it also devours people’s feelings, sensory information and emotions- the key ingredients of life.

The Sensory Skyscraper was conceived for on an island in the Yangtze River in the Chongqing Municipality, China. Landform, environment and climate deprive the local society of perceptual experiences. This project is a multifunctional laboratory of scientific exploration on human senses, perceptions, rehabilitation of sensory information, rehabilitation of experience effects, and rehabilitation of motivations and expectations etc.

This laboratory is a cube that consists of 6 pyramids with a side length of 100m. The shape of pyramid derives from a perception pyramid figure. The combination of 6 pyramids mirrors the way human brain works, different cortex processing different senses. Seen from outside, each pyramid has specific patterns which show the functional sectors inside. Every sector represents an open space for different types of perceptions and senses. Five magnetic flexible pillars support the cubes. The corridor system inside the pyramid links all units together vertically and horizontally.

The pyramids can be parted and move vertically since the cubic shape is control by magnetic power. With the coverage height of the magnetic power 600m and 100m lateral of pillars, the mobility of pyramids is completely secured. Magnetic power is invisible; so that the project looks like it is floating in the air the magnetic power is strictly controlled without harming nearby environment. The main entrance is at the bottom of the pyramid that has an elevation of 10m above the ground, so the only method to get in or out is through a magnetic floating vessel. The island is divided in modules of 20x20m for different purposes including 5 modules for supporting the cube itself, modules for floating vessels, storage, office, parks, shopping malls etc., making the island as multifunctional as the cube. Also the project can make full use of the island in this way. Down the riverbed are several pillars, which can rise to protect the island and buildings on it from water in wet season while fall to keep close to the water surface in dry season.

Once human beings regain their sensory perceptions they can better understand their origins, potentials, and natural environment, thus get rid of the downside of modernization and enjoy their life. Read the rest of this entry »

Taiwan Babel Tower

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Lu Te Hsin

If there is a need for a monument in this city, let there be one. This monument will become a slice of the contemporary world, and the ideology of citizens will be revealed with a massive collage of culture symbols.

Taipei is a great city where people of different classes from different countries are living. Mysterious games are played by everyone, while the winners accumulate huge capitals and others lose everything they have. Some people are born to win while others never have a chance. With population rising and more foreign culture are imported to the city, the game will be played by more people with frenzy pace.

The Dutch, the Spanish, the Chinese and the Japanese people in modern history have colonized Taiwan. A diverse political and cultural heritage has rendered Taiwan a country without clear root or origin. Taiwan thus becomes a blender that accepts most influences from other cultures. The mixture also represents in the build environment. Taiwan has find ways to incorporate different cultural aspects, whether traditional or modern, western or eastern. Like all other colonized cities, the urban scape is an agglomeration of different influences and developments.

To represent the city and its people, the government started a project to create a monument that is also a tremendous housing. Having no more land to use in the already crowded city, the only way to go is up. A colossal height is expected, and the design becomes a task of vertical urban-planning.

A megastructure in architecture as well as a superstructure in the sense of Marx theories, this monument / housing complex is an embodiment of economy, culture and society.

The infrastructure of the architecture is designed to allow various builders to construct different buildings within the tower for different needs. Huge elevators are erected to provide vertical transportation. While wealthy people purchase luxury high level residences, the lower levels and the ground floor becomes a slum that is not that different to the surrounded urban areas: chaotic and immense. The Tower becomes not only a monument for the city, but a representation of the city itself.

Seven Phases of Tower Building
1. A superstructure starts to develop under the supervision of the government. Verticality is a strategy to densify the use of space.
2. Real estate dealers start to advertise on the “tallest dwelling in the world”. Lured by the view and the sunlight accompanied with the height, buyers flock toward the mid- and upper sections of the tower.
3. As the tower continues to grow, people starts to move in. Newcomers gradually find that the tower is self-supplied.
4. A huge amount of labor force is needed to sustain the tower. The lower levels are open for workers to move in.
5. The possibility of lower level residents working their way up to the upper level threatens the stability of the power structure. A separate management is established for the lower levels to cut away connections with the top. Two dividing zones are established: an industry belt and a green belt.
6. The capacity and influence of tower expands rapidly. The difference between the three sections deepens. The lower levels fall into a slum condition while the top floors become more luxurious, and the middle-class working people caught in between spend much effort to keep up.
7. The infrastructure of the tower keeps expanding, as if the tower would never reach a limit. As the diversity within the tower grows, the cultural and visual identity of the tower becomes harder to describe. The Tower becomes everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Agora: Vertical Streetscape

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Alessandro Arcangeli, Filippo Fiorani
The Netherlands

Core Issue
Modern capitalism has been the 20th Century’s religion, and finance is its product. This system created utter inequality, the final stage of class struggle, where 1% of the population controls more than 40% of world’s wealth. Growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity.
Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. In 2008 financial capitalism collapsed. This collapse aroused the crowds, breathing life into a new political and economical approach, which we call Socialism 2.0. The upcoming neo-socialist economy requires a collective action, it is based on the certainty that paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest-in other words, the common welfare-is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being. The Architectural product of the XX century was the Skyscraper, and its mania for reaching the sky. The Skyscraper is the XX century’s Babel tower, where people only work, speaking different languages, distancing themselves from the city and from other people.

Our Position
Assuming that every spatial choice is political, and every political choice is spatial, we want to reverse the idea of the skyscraper, giving back the tower to the public. Most of the hybrid buildings we know failed, resulting in structures where different functions and spaces just stand in top or in front of each other, without interacting. We tried to create a space where functions and spaces interact, rather than co-exist, basing our design on the distinction that Aristotelis first, than Hannah Arendt, made, between the two verbs act and work.
A space where people act rather than work. Action goes on directly between men, corresponding to the human condition of plurality, to the fact that men, not man, live the earth. Plurality and connectivity are the natural conditions of Agorà.

Architectural Manifestation
We take the street and we flip it, arranging in vertical all the spaces we walk through when we go for a stroll in town. We base our design on the connection within public and private spaces.
The former will be distributed along the three dimensions of the tower, the latter will be literally re-invented: a new flexible working space, based on interactions between spaces and people, where sharing is the keyword: sharing services, workforce, ideas. From the city of Madrid, we access the tower arising on the new Spanish parliament, where the community decides for itself in a new form of free and collaborative democracy. From this political theatre we walk up to two squares that introduce the working spaces. Six modules of three floors, for different needs. These spaces stand on a structural steel grid along which tools such as chairs, printers, tables, panels, slide, being accessible by everyone. This space is conceived for young workers, startuppers, students, who have the possibility to rent a just a cheap table, enjoying the possibility of sharing the cost of common services and more important: to meet other people, potential collaborators and teammates. If we keep climbing the tower we end up in the library, conceived as an ascent on big steps to the rooftop. In the boarding spaces we found the hologram rooms, where people can experience through holograms, and 3d projections the spaces descriptor in the good old books. On top of the tower we find what called the labyrinth: a space where people lose themselves and meet inside this monumental labyrinth of monoliths scattered on the square. The whole building is conceived as a spiritual and social path, running from the crowded arena, to the spiritual, intimate, religious labyrinth. Read the rest of this entry »


By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Abolhassan Karimi, Amir Khosravi, Soudabeh Abbasi Azar, Shima Khoshpasand, Fatemeh Salehi Amiri, Maryam Nademi, Neshat Mirhadizadi

A major destructive earthquake is predicted to shake the city of Tehran in the near future. To mitigate the damage from such earthquakes it is necessary to find relevant risk factors of Tehran by assessing the social and urban response to such catastrophes.

Our proposal for a safe and temporary infrastructure in the event of an earthquake consists of a network of urban links that lead to central core or “stackable” shelter pockets. We have strategically selected the Deh-Vanak area of Tehran as our scenario location due to its high urban density of buildings at high risk of collapsing and its lack of open public spaces.

In the event of such earthquake, our project proposes a network of infrastructure and vertical safety nods acting as temporary central cities that will safely mobilize and shelter the local community.

The proposed central safety nods are based on the antisismic properties of and consist of clusters of sliding sphere geometries. Mixed use clusters that cover basic needs are allocated around a core public space and key transportation nods. These nods are capable of serving as shelter by aggregating the mobile sphere units that navigate the network.

The proposed network in Deh-Vanak analyses threats and opportunities of the site and efficient trajectories not only at pedestrian level and but also along clearances of low rise and mid-rise buildings.

Through this analysis we are able to deploy minimal infrastructure to reach safety and optimize the number and location of these central safety nods.

Sphere Geometry
The geometry of the sphere allows the minimum friction and the maximum freedom of movement hence minimizing structural tension during the repercussions that follow in the aftermath of an earthquake.

A selection of spheres are fixed to compose central pockets that serve as public spaces while other spheres characterized by their double shell act as mobile units to host diverse functions from information points to first aid checkpoints to food and clean water distribution centers. The shells of these mobile spheres have the capacity to ensemble into emergent shelters.

Supporting infrastructure such as water and waste canals feed along main links into the core public space and key stations. Connectivity between spheres in shelter pockets is possible through connecting joints. Read the rest of this entry »

Healing Matrix

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Jie Liu, Wen Sun, Hewen Suo

Research has shown that crime has closely related to personality disorders. Conventional correction center usually conveys a feeling of suffering for the inmates. Limited sunlight and tight space has negative psychological impact on the inmates. Personality disorder tends to be aggravated in the custody process, rendering the inmates difficult to effectively reform or being corrected. Healing Matrix is trying to break the ordinary design of a correction center; it is attempting to address this social issue from an architectural perspective.

In this building, newly defined healing cluster-space has replaced the traditional detention space to facilitate the healing of personality disorders, and meet the needs of inmates in different stages of the healing process. During the entire sentence, under the arrangement by the Command Centre of the building, inmates will interact with each other according to their instant need. Inmates will also be able to look inside to discover their inner spirit and interact with the architectural space itself, through a multi-layer treatment approach, therefore fundamentally cure the personality disorder and achieve the goal of complete healing.

To achieve crime prevention and psychological and cognitive rehabilitation, other than the setup of a conventional correction center, six independent yet related types of spaces are created here. Each space has its own function and approach towards self-healing and self-correction. Each space is a cluster of several cubes. Different needs of inmates with distinct personalities are addressed here. Spaces are divided as such: Praying Space (religion support), Meditation Space (the power of inner peace), Accompaniment Space (interpersonal interactions and support), Anger/Depression Management Space (cognitive behavioral therapy), and Social Training Space (communication and soft skill polishing)

Each inmate has his/her own independent space (each space is a cube with dimension of 3m*3m*3m). Inmates’ life and privacy are appropriately respected and protected. Inmates’ instant need is transmitted through feeling receptors to the Command Centre of the Building. The matrix network would then automatically match and transfer the inmate to a “best fit” space to optimize the healing effect. In order to ensure the free multi-directional movement each unit, the building itself has an inner matrix space, which allows for three-dimensional movement. The mobility of the space has not only created diverse environmental experience for the inmates, but also has realized the frequent interactions between inmates hence promoting the healing effect.

In terms of the appearance, due to the changing needs of the inmates to the healing space, the inner form of the building is kept dynamic and adaptive. At different times, by observing the location and volume of the clusters formed by different cells, inmates’ current psychological status and the needs for particular space could be identified.

Rather than being differentiated through conventional parameters, inmates are identified and distinguished by the types of personality disorders they are suffering from. Each inmate’s experience of space and healing path is determined in accordance with their unique personalities and healing needs. The sentence is not merely sentence here; it is a customized self-healing journey. One’s peculiar character determines one’s fate. The length of staying in the building is no longer determined based on the type of crime one has committed, rather is determined by psychological indicators such that psychological and behavioral assessments are done periodically to determine when it is a proper timing for the inmates to return to the society. This spontaneous healing mechanism promotes a more positive way of self-discovery and personality improvement. Life path and the meaning of space are being revolutionarily redefined here in the Healing Matrix. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Ko Anthony Chun Ming
Hong Kong

In the 21st Century, the act of cities throwing away architectures and everything that contributed to their present scene is no longer strange to the eyes. Everyday there are buildings being torn down, immeasurable amount of objects being abandoned and sent to landfills at an overwhelming rate. Neighborhoods change progressively, eventually becoming a place we are no longer familiar with.

In Japan, the government created artificial islands within Tokyo Bay as a method to bury the evidence of earthquakes debris and also, indirectly reduce landfills. Unwanted objects are then hidden beneath as reclaimed lands. Their existence and contribution to the city are obscured.

It is urgent; a revolt is needed to criticize on the erasing actions of human and cities without considering the true values of what it is demolished.

The ‘Displacement’ is to evoke the nostalgic emotion of mankind, through architectural salvage to regenerate the abandoned and hence turnaround their fate to be forgotten. Boats and ships perform the salvation by moving the abandoned from their origin to Harumi in Tokyo Bay, an artificial island where the project took place.

The salvaged are then processed through the factory on-site, granting them a new aura relationship while inheriting their memories as well. The whole architecture is an empty framework sitting on the site. Through the architectural salvation, it will continually be infilled with the reclaimed objects and buildings in phases and in the end it attains saturation. It is an architecture that inherits buildings. Not hiding what we abandoned, but acknowledging their efforts to create our memories. Read the rest of this entry »

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Israel López Balan, Gabriel Mendoza Cruz, Ana Saraí Lombardini Hernández, Yayo Melgoza Acuautla

Neza York
Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl or more commonly Ciudad Neza, is a city and municipality of State of Mexico adjacent to the northeast corner of Mexico City. In the 20th Century, the land on which Ciudad Neza sits was under Lake Texcoco and uninhabited. Successful draining of the lake in the early 20th Century created new land, which the government eventually sold into private hands. Today Ciudad Neza is a sprawling city of over one million entirely with modern buildings.

Until the 2000s, most migrants from Mexico to the United States, especially to places like New York, were from poor rural areas. However, since the turn of the century, another wave of immigrants is coming from poor urban areas such as Ciudad Neza.

These immigrants tend to be younger and better educated than their rural counterparts, and tend also to keep separate from them. This is bringing into existence a new Mexican subculture called “Neza York” distinguished by dress, speech and the likelihood of learning English. Businesses with names like Tacos Neza and Neza Grocery have appeared in New York City.

As Mexico City continues to pull water from the aquifer below, its ground is sinking. The subsidence that results from groundwater extraction is a problem all over the world, but is especially dramatic in Mexico City. The aquifer has been under increasing pressure over the last several decades as the city’s population has skyrocketed.

While subsidence has been stabilized in the city center, many parts of the metropolitan area continue to sink. Some parts like Ciudad Neza have sunk more than 30 feet during the last century.

Vicious Circle
Mexico City puts a lot of effort to stop the sinking. In some locations it has caused the sewage lines to become slanted – resulting in the lines running backward. Consequently, the city struggles with flooding during the rainy season. Emergency pumping stations have been built to maintain extraction capacity, but a major solution is still needed.

The water difficulties have become a vicious circle: as the city grows, more water is pumped from the aquifer. As more is pumped, the city sinks further. The sinkage ruptures more underground water pipes, sending fresh water gushing into the sewers, aggravating the shortage, requiring more water to be pumped from the aquifer, and so on.

Design Concept
If Mexico City receives significant pluvial precipitation at a total rate of 215 m3/s, pluvial water is partly responsible for the urban flooding problem in rainy season, but rainwater harvesting could be part of the solution for people living in Ciudad Neza. Here, rainfall is heaviest, and the area is sufficient to collect and store water to reduce costs.

In the other hand, the total amount of wastewater treated by public wastewater treatment plants is 10 m3/s and all the treated wastewater is reused. At the present time, reused water is utilized to fill recreational lakes and canals (54%), to irrigate agricultural areas and parks over a total area of 6,500 ha (31%), cooling in industry (8%), diverse commercial activities (5%) and to recharge the aquifer (only 2%).

With all this in mind, the proposal is to replace gradually the network of small storm sewers in Ciudad Neza with a rainwater system collector that converge in recreational lakes on the surface, where towers emerge as large natural filters for rainwater storage; and treatment plants with absorption wells for underground injection. Following this system, floods will decrease because drainage system of the city will not be saturated in rainy season, and after treated water is injected directly into the aquifer, the sinking will stop. Read the rest of this entry »