One of our favourite design competitions to follow is the annual eVolo Magazine Skyscraper Competition. Recently, eVolo announced the winners for 2018!
The third place winner was Waria Lemuy: Fire Prevention Skyscraper by Claudio C. Araya Arias from Chile. The idea behind the concept is to build residential skyscrapers in areas of Chile damaged by wildfires. These towers are designed to interact with the environment via water catchment.
“Formally the building is considered an element of prevention, acting as a beacon in the prevention of future catastrophic events,” the submission describes. “Its façade system allows cross ventilation of the building which slows down the major winds, its water storage system, and irrigation on the environment would allow the increase of the existing humidity, allowing both to control part of the most influential variables in the propagation of the forest fires.”
The second place winner was Shinto Shrine Skyscraper by Tony Leung from Hong Kong. This tower combines urban rice farming, spiritual meditation, and community development.
“…recent development in hydroponic farming technology makes vertical rice farming possible,” the submission explains. “Pitched roof of a Jinja can be converted to a stepped paddy field, which conforms the traditional idea of using organic roofing material in Jinja construction.” A Jinja is a shrine, but not intended for worship – it’s a place to safely house sacred objects.
The first place winner was Skyshelter.zip by Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk from Poland. Inspired by origami, this foldable skyscraper is designed to be transportable, specifically into disaster zones.
The skyscraper unfolds like an accordian, so it can be flat packed and transported quickly and easily. When deploying, a helium balloon lifts the 3D printed lightweight slabs into the air. The exterior is comprised of fabric.
“Based on particular cases’ needs various functions can be accommodated inside, including reception area, first aid area, temporary housing, storage and vertical farm that uses soil gathered during anchoring,” says the submission. “Additional advantage of producing vertical emergency camp is its height, partially achieved thanks to the size of the balloon.”
The height of the tower can be controlled by the amount of helium in the balloon. Out of the top three, we find Skyshelter.zip to be the least believable, but feasibility is not what the eVolo Skyscraper Competition is about.
Clearly, the architects/designers who came up with the idea put a lot of thought into how something like Skyshelter.zip may work, but to us, the competition is more about challenging the way we think about high-rise design.
We’re interested to see if vertical urban farming is something Toronto architects and developers may start exploring. Imagine a mixed-use building with condo units, urban farming, schools, and places of worship.
Instead of mixed-use buildings with just retail on the ground and residential above, perhaps it’s time to start incorporating additional essential community amenities in our city’s towers.