Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Changsoo Park, Sizhe Chen
United States

Air-Stalagmite is a high-rise designed to emerge in the most polluted areas in the world. This project recognized the environmental problems originated after the Industrial and Technological Revolutions – two centuries of a very high consumption of natural resources around the globe.

This skyscraper serves two functions. First as a beacon that acknowledges an extremely high pollution problem. Second, it is designed to filter contaminated air and capture suspended air particles. A gigantic vacuum placed at the bottom of the building sucks polluted air to be cleaned by a series of air filters located on the higher levels. The particles are then accumulated and used as building material to further construct the skyscraper. Each filament on the building’s façade represents a year – a similar concept to tree trunk rings. Read the rest of this entry »

Cloud Craft: Rainmaking Skyscraper

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Michael Militello, Amar Shah
United States

Droughts are a recurring feature of California’s climate, and the current four-year period starting from the fall of 2011 has been the driest in history since recordkeeping began in 1895. California is in fact the world’s fifth-largest supplier of food and most of the farming depends on irrigation, which usually accounts for about 80% of the state’s human water use. In 2014 growers lost about 6.6 million acre-feet of surface water and 2.2 billion dollars because of the drought.

California, much like the rest of the planet, is in dire need of immediate rain and snowfall; long-term water conservation and storage strategies for the future; and responsible architectural designs that incorporate innovative technologies to help preserve the earth’s environment, before it is too late.

Looking to the sky can be a solution. Cloud seeding has been around for many decades and used throughout the world in various strategies. China used cloud seeding in Beijing just before the 2008 Olympic Games in order to clear the air of pollution. Farmers in the midwestern United States shoot flares of silver iodide out of planes to help spur rainfall in that region. It is more and more becoming a popular weather modification tool to help combat drought, famine, pollution, solar radiation, etc.

Clouds contain super-cooled liquid water vapor. A rainstorm happens after moisture collects around naturally occurring particles in the air, causing the air to reach a level of saturation at which point it can no longer hold in that moisture. The process of cloud seeding essentially provides additional “nuclei” around which water vapor molecules condense in the cloud. These nuclei can be salts, dry ice, or silver iodide, which are all effective because their crystalline structural forms are similar to that of ice. The water vapor molecules combine with the added crystals to induce freezing nucleation, resulting in larger heavier water droplets and eventual precipitation.

The architectural concept imagines a future earth where cloud seeding has become the standard process to modify and manipulate the weather. Cloud seeding can result in many positive environmental outcomes including temperature control, flooding prevention, decreasing pollution, dispersing fog, and deflecting solar radiation. But for the purposes of California, it is mainly used for irrigation and rainfall to combat droughts and famine.

Towers are erected near the coast so as the lower marine layer clouds pass overhead, they can be seeded at different times and intervals, causing precipitation to occur in as little as 10 minutes. After years of practice, scientists have been able to pinpoint the exact amount and timing of release of chemical mixtures in order to manipulate the path of a cloud after seeding and predict where the rainfall will occur. Thus, rainfall is dispersed or “doled out” to cities and towns further inland that are suffering from drought.

The towers themselves take on the aesthetics of a tree. Great limbs stretch to the sky; cloud farms grow like fungi off these limbs. The upper levels of the tower act as a self-sustaining community – the cloud seeders jettison the salt + iodide mixture into the air forcing the clouds to precipitate. The cable netting catches the rainfall and syphons it down to irrigate the farms. And the farms in turn provide food for the community. Residential flats line the cloud pythons, housing the farmers and workers of the tower. Read the rest of this entry »

Return To Nature Skyscraper

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Nathakit Sae-Tan, Prapatsorn Sukkaset

This is an imaginary future, where resources of nature have been used and reclaimed exhaustively by the greed of man to the point of irreversible damage. Spanning across the landscape by human intervention, until there is no more nature left for the upcoming generations to see. In those days where the impermanence of concrete can not withstand the true forces of nature, the solid ground is soon to be covered by earth, minerals and eventually the green, growing on top are the woods that would stem deep and span miles and miles, beyond the imagination of mankind. We build these super structures that would spread throughout the city, as if they were grains of seeds that would uncontrollably grow, taking back what was once theirs.

When the forces of nature is too strong for men to resist, we would have to learn how to cope with nature in order to co-exist with the earth, occupying less surface on ground as much as possible, tall vertical super structure is the proposed solution. The Babel skyscraper can accommodate food security and living space for both nature and human. To achieve this, the architecture is designed with a concept of the emergence twisting parametric mountain, seamlessly flow with the geometric skyscraper. The building is designed with only floors to provide the vertical spaces; with open plan and inside void, providing ventilation.

The Babel skyscraper is located in many sites around Bangkok. People visiting and living there will once again experience the natural habitat; bringing back the intimate bond we once have being so close to nature. The homogenizing of concrete landscape had us forgotten our relationship with nature. This future is to re-imagine these connections and visualize them. This connection would also form a more intimate symbiotic relationship between nature and humans.

During the first phases, the architecture only contains the mountain-shaped base and vertical columns, which would eventually grow into an Eden, a relaxing park and food bank, for the organic vegetables and rice. The architecture itself is time-based and would change dramatically through the years. And in the times where human can no longer walk the earth, this skyscraper is where humans can depend on as inhabitants, traveling up and down by drones, a technology of the future, which we foresee.

We’ve planned many possible locations for this this skyscraper in order to spread the green effectively throughout Bangkok, Thailand. Neglecting the living of man and let nature flow through every street and avenue of the city, eating up the main vessel and eventually the heart of the what we see as places, until there is nothing left for man to stand and looking back at what we’ve done to the earth.

This set of skyscrapers would be a symbol for the cruelty we’ve done to nature, and what we have to pay back; including how human should adapt in order to survive.

The design is something that may or may not have happened in a world beyond our imagination, and the architecture not as we recognize today, but as seeds that that takes us back to the past where nature rule the earth and where man are but just another creature that walk the planet. Nature here plays a crucial role in the establishment of the architecture, unlike the ones we see nowadays, being changed and adapted, according to the use of man.

Here, we design skyscrapers, with nature as the main user and human as parasites of the planet, struggling to survive and camouflage, living towards the very end of the race. Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainable Skyscraper Enclosure

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Soomin Kim, Seo-Hyun Oh
South Korea

Modern cities have faced extreme changes due to developments of the Industrial Revolution and the urban sprawl caused by population increase. Artificial environment, cities, offered diversity of opportunities and new lifestyles which humans comforted with. However, this benefit jeopardized the balance and harmony of natural environment. Capitalism, while making possible these megacities, also brought severe side effects such as economic polarization and social imbalance. Once expected to guarantee prosperity of human lives, technics and systems, are now even considered as threats to the coexistence between human and natural environment, and human communities.

Architecture of the past reflected the overheated technologies in competition of developments and selfish gain of capital. However, as the question of coexistence and balance is brought to the surface nowadays, how will the generation’s idea change this selfish gain and what kind of form will modern architecture will take as its phenotype? Today, 54% of the world population live urban based lives, megacities of population over 10 million keep increasing. Skyscrapers were born from the necessity to disperse dense complexity of horizontal cities by vertically expanding and reconstructing, in order to make a more effective use of scarce land. Moreover, many cities passionately competed in building more skyscrapers since they were often taken as outcomes of their economic success.

State of the art technology and highly concentrated capital turned New York into city of skyscrapers. The Empire State, completed in 1930 becoming the world’s highest man-made structure, was imprinted into the mind of people as the symbol of prosperity and a great leap towards success. This piece of architecture visualized the harsh competing nature of capitalism itself, which is the driving force of the idea. Simultaneously, making scenery that even shows the severe polarization of capital, shabby slum streets of the city in contrast to the world’s tallest building.

The urban areas in earth, which just account for just 1% of the Earth surface, uses 75% of the total energy, and responsible for 80% of green gas emission. It was found that NYC, which developed into the first megacity to have population more than 10 million in 1950, uses the most excessive energy and resources amongst all the megacities. UN predicts that by 2050, the world population will go over 9 billion. Cities will be overcrowded in due to accept this change in population, which makes experts believe that demand for skyscrapers will continue to increase. However, these demands are in contradiction with the social and environmental problems that could be caused if the megacities like NYC continue to spend energy and resources at this rate. Thus, to satisfy these demands, we need to have a sustainable model for a skyscraper.

If skyscrapers in the 20th Century followed the logic of development and growth, the new model should be following the law of recovery and coexistence. Currently most of the NYC’s areas are already in use, and it would take a great deal of energy and resources to try starting over entirely. The model will use conventional buildings as resources, and it will find a new usage for them and give them purposes for the future using only the slightest efforts on building acts. The newly born buildings will use and self-produce eco-friendly energy in sustainable cycle, so that they can co-exist with the environment instead of opposing it. With the model, the capitals will have a new frontier in front of them as they implement shared values within the public, and the skyscrapers, once a symbol of polarization of capital and public, will make a transition to a symbol of co-existence. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »