Situated between the Golden Mile, a bustling commercial sector, and barrios of impoverished residents, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico is located in an important, and ever-evolving spot. This makes the location ideal, says architecture student Clara Tresgallo Parés, for an innovative skyscraper: because of its visible location en route to Old San Juan, which is visited by large numbers of tourists annually, a creatively designed build would be admired by countless people passing through.

As the first true skyscraper in Puerto Rico, Parés seeks to design a structure that will inspire her countrymen, and that Puerto Ricans can identify with. She does this by basing her design on the twisting branches of mangrove trees that sit in a river just ten feet from the building site. The branches of the tree braid together to create an “interlaced net,” and in this way give the tree an incredibly strong base; by giving her skyscraper the same strong foundation, the building can reach high and house apartments, businesses, public spaces and even a hotel within. Also like branches, the skyscraper whole is actually a composite of many; the building is really four separate towers that twist together.

The building’s unconventional shape gives it some quirks: people will move between the buildings vertically and diagonally, and in the spaces in between the towers, water features and vegetation will be installed to further mimic the mangrove influence.

With direct access to the area’s bus and train stations, future connection to a ferry stop and proximity to the Coliseum of Puerto Rico, this skyscraper seeks to embrace Hato Rey’s new growth by mirroring its natural growth.

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