Editors’ Choice
2020 Skyscraper Competition

Ginfung Yong , Anca Ruxandra Florina Trimbaciu, Ali Irfan Bin Shazali, Alina Marinescu, Dominic Street, Franci Tafilaj, Raussell-Vince Mendigo, Jinkun Shen
United Kingdom

As years go by, we become more aware of the changes we need to make, as a society, in order to try and slow down or stagnate the damage we have done to our planet.

Consumerism and demand for cheaper, easy-replaceable goods have led us to produce more and more plastics and, implicitly waste, every year. However, unlike other materials, which can be reused or can enter a different lifecycle, plastics generally end up in landfills. Most of the Western plastic waste has been exported off to countries in Asia, which leads to rivers there becoming increasingly polluted. This is happening especially in areas of high-density population, in underdeveloped countries where the necessary recycling infrastructure is not provided. The plastic waste in rivers eventually ends up in open seas and oceans, which has built up in time into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area in the Pacific Ocean where over 80,000 tonnes of plastic float.

Therefore, solutions to implement recycling into circular economy models are needed. The Vrysi (Greek βρύση – meaning tap) prototype is designed to be positioned in estuary environments (the tidal mouth of a large river; where the tide meets the stream). The prototype expands on the concept of the ‘Ocean interceptor’, created by The Ocean Cleanup Group and, as the name states, intercepts and stops waste from flowing past it and into the ocean and transforms it into products that can benefit the community. Due to its strategic location, the vertical village is ‘turning off the tap’ on ocean pollution right at the source.

The waste is collected, sorted and cleaned, and then shredded in preparation to be used as prime material for 3D printing. The material resulted from this process will directly go into further developing the building itself (i.e. through fabricating construction materials and the replaceable façade panels the skyscraper is using) or into the micro-economy of the vertical village, through creating products to be used by the inhabitants or to be sold outside of the community for profit or in exchange for other goods.

Fabrication of the façade building parts also takes place on-site and contributes to the semi-closed economy of the village. Inhabitants of the vertical village are actively involved in producing the elements and trained about the latest techniques and scientific advancements through workshops in order to help the community gradually implement lifestyle changes as well as encouraging research and experimental thinking.

The dynamism of the façade allows for the modular hexagonal cells to respond to particular user needs. This happens either by blocking off the unpleasant pollution or by responding to natural seasonal conditions such as glare or wind.

Positioned in an estuary, on water, the Vrysi Tower is designed vertically as a response to the continuous horizontal growth of communities and populations across the globe. Although some may argue that there are vast amounts of water surface to be exploited for human development, we believe that vertical developments are a sustainable approach to creating new communities. This allows a sense of proximity to land areas and reduces commute times for inhabitants to still be connected to the shore by overlooking it closely.

Vrysi is, first of all, a building that creates all the premises for a circular economy and autonomy to develop through its program. Secondly, it is an extended take on an already existing solution to clean up the oceans by stopping the pollution at the source and using it in a productive and sustainable manner which provides jobs and long-term benefits to the community itself.


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