Daily Picture Show

Skyscrapers Of The Future

In the future, we'll live in neighborhoods that sprawl in three dimensions, taking the subway vertically as well as horizontally to get to parks suspended between towers. Or we'll live underground in structures dedicated to harvesting geothermal energy — or perhaps we'll be able to unplug our homes from one location and plug in somewhere else, maybe closer to the air-purifying membrane that stretches across the sky.

Flat Tower won second place in the 2011 Skyscraper Competition. (Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans) i i

Flat Tower won second place in the 2011 Skyscraper Competition. (Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans) Courtesy of eVolo hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of eVolo
Flat Tower won second place in the 2011 Skyscraper Competition. (Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans)

Flat Tower won second place in the 2011 Skyscraper Competition. (Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans)

Courtesy of eVolo

At least, that could be the future as imagined by architects. The architecture and design journal eVolo recently had its annual Skyscraper Competition, and the concept illustrations for the 2011 winning designs look like structures from the set of a sci-fi movie.

The design for LO2P won first place. (Julien Combes and Gael Brule, Atelier CMJN) i i

The design for LO2P won first place. (Julien Combes and Gael Brule, Atelier CMJN) Courtesy of eVolo hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of eVolo
The design for LO2P won first place. (Julien Combes and Gael Brule, Atelier CMJN)

The design for LO2P won first place. (Julien Combes and Gael Brule, Atelier CMJN)

Courtesy of eVolo

First-place winners Julien Combes and Gael Brule of Atelier CMJN in France designed a giant turbine for cleaning the polluted air above New Delhi, India. Called LO2P, the skyscraper would be a giant loop made of material from recycled cars. Layers of greenhouses would act as filters, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, while the rotating filters would collect particles in the air.

Another view of Flat Tower, which won second place. (Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans) i i

Another view of Flat Tower, which won second place. (Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans) Courtesy of eVolo hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of eVolo
Another view of Flat Tower, which won second place. (Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans)

Another view of Flat Tower, which won second place. (Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans)

Courtesy of eVolo

Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans and Xavier Schirr-Bonnans, also from France, claimed second place with their design for Flat Tower, a skyscraper that is really more of a dome than a tower. It stretches out across an urban park and railway, but the design allows light to pass through pore-like spaces in the structure. The surface of the dome is equipped to collect solar energy and rainwater.

Yheu-Shen Chua re-imagined the Hoover Dam to win third pace. i i

Yheu-Shen Chua re-imagined the Hoover Dam to win third pace. Courtesy of eVolo hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of eVolo
Yheu-Shen Chua re-imagined the Hoover Dam to win third pace.

Yheu-Shen Chua re-imagined the Hoover Dam to win third pace.

Courtesy of eVolo

Third place was awarded to Yheu-Shen Chua from the U.K. for an inventive redesign of the Hoover Dam. In this version, a hanging tower is built down the face of the dam into Black Canyon, and would house a vertical aquarium and viewing gallery.

  • The Demilitarized Zone is an area established in 1950 as a buffer between North Korea and South Korea to prevent further hostilities. Barbed-wire Skyscraper is based on the idea of a unified Korea and the importance of preserving the untouched natural habitat of the zone: The hundreds of miles of barbed wire that separate the two countries would be used to build a museum and ecological r...
    Hide caption
    The Demilitarized Zone is an area established in 1950 as a buffer between North Korea and South Korea to prevent further hostilities. Barbed-wire Skyscraper is based on the idea of a unified Korea and the importance of preserving the untouched natural habitat of the zone: The hundreds of miles of barbed wire that separate the two countries would be used to build a museum and ecological reserve. (Hyunbeom Cho, JinKyu Pak, HongSup Kim and Jiwon Kim, South Korea)NOTE: Captions have been edited for space and clarity.
    Courtesy of eVolo
  • Sports Tower is an idea for a multisport arena built from structural modules of various sizes that can be combined in different ways. Large blocks are used for soccer stadiums, while medium sizes are swimming pools and tennis, basketball and volleyball courts. Fans will be allowed to move freely between stadiums and matches.
    Hide caption
    Sports Tower is an idea for a multisport arena built from structural modules of various sizes that can be combined in different ways. Large blocks are used for soccer stadiums, while medium sizes are swimming pools and tennis, basketball and volleyball courts. Fans will be allowed to move freely between stadiums and matches.
    Sergiy Prokof'yev and Olga Prokof'yeva, Ukraine/Courtesy of eVolo
  • Fish Tower is a prototype for a vertical fish farm that could be up to 30 times more efficient than traditional farms. It was designed as a solution to the substantial decrease of wild fish, which is estimated to peak by 2050.
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    Fish Tower is a prototype for a vertical fish farm that could be up to 30 times more efficient than traditional farms. It was designed as a solution to the substantial decrease of wild fish, which is estimated to peak by 2050.
    Hsing-O Chiang, Taiwan/Courtesy of eVolo
  • Seeds of Life Skyscraper proposes an exoskeleton where different types of living and working units could be plugged in — from small ones for single families to large ones for recreational areas such as parks and sports facilities.
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    Seeds of Life Skyscraper proposes an exoskeleton where different types of living and working units could be plugged in — from small ones for single families to large ones for recreational areas such as parks and sports facilities.
    Osama Mohamed Elghannam, Karim Mohamed Elnabawy, Mohamed Ahmed Khamis and Nesma Mohamed Abobakr/Mekano, Egypt/Courtesy of eVolo
  • The White Cloud Project imagines a network of skyscrapers designed to purify the air. The buildings are narrow at the bottom and create a cluster of structural branches, with residences and offices on top — almost like a group of trees.
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    The White Cloud Project imagines a network of skyscrapers designed to purify the air. The buildings are narrow at the bottom and create a cluster of structural branches, with residences and offices on top — almost like a group of trees.
    Adrian Vincent Kumar and Yun Kong Sung, New Zealand/Courtesy of eVolo
  • The Hydra skyscraper design investigates the possibility of creating a power plant that uses hydrogen as a source of energy. Its exoskeleton is built from grapheme, the basic structural element of graphite and carbon. Grapheme has a high thermal and electric conductivity and is 200 times stronger than steel. The idea is to harvest energy from lightning storms and store the power in sever...
    Hide caption
    The Hydra skyscraper design investigates the possibility of creating a power plant that uses hydrogen as a source of energy. Its exoskeleton is built from grapheme, the basic structural element of graphite and carbon. Grapheme has a high thermal and electric conductivity and is 200 times stronger than steel. The idea is to harvest energy from lightning storms and store the power in several mega-batteries located at the base.
    Milos Vlastic, Vuk Djordjevic, Ana Lazovic and Milica Stankovic, Serbia/Courtesy of eVolo
  • NeoTax isn't so much a design for one building as it is a proposal for an entire system of infrastructure, where a city's layout is folded up so that streets run both horizontally and vertically, making it easier to get to places. Each of these cubic "modules" would be like a different neighborhood, and new modules can be plugged in to expand. (Marc Anton Dahmen, Rene Lierschaft, Anna-Ma...
    Hide caption
    NeoTax isn't so much a design for one building as it is a proposal for an entire system of infrastructure, where a city's layout is folded up so that streets run both horizontally and vertically, making it easier to get to places. Each of these cubic "modules" would be like a different neighborhood, and new modules can be plugged in to expand.
    Marc Anton Dahmen, Rene Lierschaft, Anna-Maria Wiedekind/Studio DMTW, Germany/Courtesy of eVolo
  • Rhizome Tower explores the creation of an underground city divided into four layers around a central core that is open to light. The first layer, above the surface, contains the recreational and food production facilities, with solar cells and wind turbines to harvest energy. The next layers would be residential and office space, and the bottom layer would be dedicated to harvesting geot...
    Hide caption
    Rhizome Tower explores the creation of an underground city divided into four layers around a central core that is open to light. The first layer, above the surface, contains the recreational and food production facilities, with solar cells and wind turbines to harvest energy. The next layers would be residential and office space, and the bottom layer would be dedicated to harvesting geothermal energy.
    Enrico Tognoni, Federico Tinti, Davide Mariani/Metarchitects, Italy/Courtesy of eVolo
  • Borough No. 6 would occupy the space between 22nd and 14th streets and 6th and 7th avenues in New York City. Large office towers weave through a grid of residences and then unfold into a large public park cut high above the city. An expanded New York subway system connects the building with trains that move in all directions.
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    Borough No. 6 would occupy the space between 22nd and 14th streets and 6th and 7th avenues in New York City. Large office towers weave through a grid of residences and then unfold into a large public park cut high above the city. An expanded New York subway system connects the building with trains that move in all directions.
    John Houser, United States/Courtesy of eVolo
  • North Pole Skyscraper imagines a world where the wilderness of the arctic is bisected by the largest shipping canal ever built, and the North Pole becomes a trading post for the world's freight industry and a site for oil and gas exploration. The building is an open structure that holds containers in multiple levels or platforms that serve as transaction posts between countries. At night...
    Hide caption
    North Pole Skyscraper imagines a world where the wilderness of the arctic is bisected by the largest shipping canal ever built, and the North Pole becomes a trading post for the world's freight industry and a site for oil and gas exploration. The building is an open structure that holds containers in multiple levels or platforms that serve as transaction posts between countries. At night it lights up as a beacon.
    Borja Muguiro, United Kingdom/Courtesy of eVolo
  • Hopetel proposes a transient solution to accommodate growing numbers of citizens who have lost their houses to foreclosure. The main idea is to create an environment that will provide a stable ground during the search for a steady income and a permanent home.
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    Hopetel proposes a transient solution to accommodate growing numbers of citizens who have lost their houses to foreclosure. The main idea is to create an environment that will provide a stable ground during the search for a steady income and a permanent home.
    Asaf Dali, United States/Courtesy of eVolo
  • Rollin' and Tumble seeks to transform One Times Square into a vertical amusement park, using a roller coaster as means of transportation between the different attractions. The park is divided into zones of different colors, with each zone composed of a series of modules attached to a steel exoskeleton.
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    Rollin' and Tumble seeks to transform One Times Square into a vertical amusement park, using a roller coaster as means of transportation between the different attractions. The park is divided into zones of different colors, with each zone composed of a series of modules attached to a steel exoskeleton.
    Dalho Yang and Seungdon Jung, Republic of Korea/Courtesy of eVolo
  • Elevated Connectivity is a high-rise proposal that creates a new urban grid above the city by connecting existing skyscrapers. The entire city will have three main layers. The ground floor will remain public and mainly used for transportation. The middle layer will be a private one with residences and offices, while the third one will be dedicated to leisure and entertainment activities....
    Hide caption
    Elevated Connectivity is a high-rise proposal that creates a new urban grid above the city by connecting existing skyscrapers. The entire city will have three main layers. The ground floor will remain public and mainly used for transportation. The middle layer will be a private one with residences and offices, while the third one will be dedicated to leisure and entertainment activities.
    Adam Nakagoshi and Thao Nguyen, United States/Courtesy of eVolo

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Although these are all conceptual projects that aren't slated to be built anytime soon (maybe never), it might not be too far off from possibility. As evidenced by the construction of the China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters in Beijing and the totally nuts proposal for the moving Dynamic Tower in Dubai (no, seriously, look at it), what was formerly the stuff of fantasy could actually become reality. Could you see yourself living or working in one of these towers?

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