Skyscrapers were born of necessity and conceived as symbols of prosperity, success and hope as they reach towards the skies. EVolo Magazine's 2016 Skyscraper Competition, one of the most prestigious awards for high-rise architecture, shows off innovative futuristic designs that include a bubble-wrapped Empire State Building and sunken Central Park in New York City along with vacuum and cloud-shaped buildings.
With fifty four percent of the world's population living in urban area, megacities of populations over 10 million are increasing and the need to make effective use of scarce land is ever more important.
Here's a look at some of the winning designs in the the annual competition, recognizing outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design.
Sustainable Skyscraper Enclosure by Soomin Kim and Seo-Hyun Oh of South Korea.
This design shows an enclosure surrounding the Empire State Building in New York City. The model uses conventional buildings as resources, finding a new usage for them and giving them purposes for the future. The newly born buildings will use and self-produce eco-friendly energy in a sustainable cycle, so that they can co-exist with the environment instead of opposing it.
Neza York Towers
Neza York Towers: Anti Sinking System for Cities by Israel López Balan, Gabriel Mendoza Cruz, Ana Saraí Lombardini Hernández, Yayo Melgoza Acuautla of Mexico.
The architects' goal is to answer the question, "How do we stop the sinking of Mexico City and its water system crisis?"
As Mexico City pulls water from the acquifer below its ground is sinking. Rain water harvesting is one solution. This proposal replaces the network of small storm sewers in Ciudad Neza with a rainwater system collector that converge in recreational lakes on the surface, where towers emerge as large natural filters for rainwater storage; and treatment plants with absorption wells for underground injection.
Air-Stalagmite: A Skyscraper To Serve As A Beacon And Air Filter For Polluted Cities by Changsoo Park and Sizhe Chen of the U.S.
Air-Stalagmite is a high-rise designed to emerge in the most polluted areas in the world. The skyscraper serves two functions: First as a beacon that acknowledges an extremely high pollution problem and Second 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.
Sensory Skyscraper by Alexandr Pincov of Moldova and Heng Changof China.
The Sensory Skyscraper was conceived for an island in the Yangtze River in the Chongqing Municipality of China. Landform, environment and climate deprive the local society of perceptual experiences.
The project is a multifunctional laboratory of scientific exploration.The lab is a cube that consists of six pyramids with a side length of 100 m (328 feet). The pyramids mirror the way the human brain works, different cortex processing different senses.
Seen from outside, each pyramid has specific patterns showing 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 pyramids can be parted and move vertically since the cubic shape is controlled by magnetic power.
The Valley of Giants
The Valley of Giants by Eric Randall Morris, Galo Canizares United States.
Located north of Tindouf, Algeria, the Valley of Giants is the largest oasis in Northern Africa. As global conflicts grew and their impact rippled over several continents, demand for refugee housing and temporary settlements increased in the area. They needed something that addressed the influx of immigrants, the desertification of the area, and changing cultural diversity; something beyond a quick-fix.
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; so they were designed as 1km (.6 mile) tall, thin, cylinders. A network of underground pipes facilitates 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.
New Horizon by Yitsan Sun and Jianshi Wu of the U.S. won first place in the competition.
The design proposes a continuous horizontal skyscraper around the full perimeter of a sunken Central Park in New York City. The project would create 7 square miles (80 times greater than the Empire State Building) of housing with unobstructed views and connection to the park.
New Horizon by Yitsan Sun and Jianshi Wu of the U.S.
A view from within the park looking at the housing created as a wall around the park.
Osteon Cumulus Vertical City
Osteon Cumulus Vertical City: Kilometer-High City by Layton Reid, Adrian Jimenez Escarfullery, Sakib Hasan, Bryan Ruiz, Milot Pivera oftheUnited Kingdom.
The prototype site is Wuxi City in China. The concept for the design appears like a cumulo-nimbus could formation or a banyan tree with downward branches. The idea is a small footprint below with maximum space above.
Vertical Shanghai: Hyperlocal Monument of the Global Housing Crisis by Yutsa Sano and Eir Nakajima of Australia.
Building high-density apartments to accommodate mass migration and population growth is a natural response to the demands the world is facing.
Global Cooling Skyscraper
Global Cooling Skyscraper by Paolo Venturella and Cosimo Scotucci of Italy.
To cool down the temperature a huge greenhouse is placed in between the sun and us, based on the principle of a solar tower. With the accumulation of heat in the glazed structure, air flows naturally from hot to cold generating rapid and strong flows, helping to cool down Earth. The structure also generates renewable energies by wind turbines placed inside the structures.
Return to Nature Skyscraper
Return to Nature Skyscraper by Nathakit Sae-Tan, Prapatsorn Sukkaset ofThailand.
The building is designed with only floors to provide the vertical spaces; with an open plan and inside void, providing ventilation. The idea involves merging urban and nature environments in an intimate bond.
Trans-Pital : Space Adaptive Skyscraper Hospital by Chen Linag, Jia Tongyu, Sun Bo, Wang Qun, Zhang Kai, Choi Minhye of China.
Patients arrive at the hospital, and enter the core tube directly to the emergency treatment and the outpatient departments. The patients who need the in-patient treatment will transfer to the wards. The idea of the hospital is that the patient does not have to move by himself, according to the motion track, the wards can move to where it should go to, like the outpatient space for further consultation with a doctor instead. However, if there are not too many patients of any department, the space for the outpatient and in-patient will be folded to form a therapy garden space.
The whole building is divided into a frame, a core tube structure, a large assembled body, which is an independent department module, and a small mobile body which is a medical cubic module inside the large assembled body.
Tower of New Arcadia
Tower of New Arcadia by Joseph Konrad Kosmas Schneider and Vincent Johann Moller of Germany.
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 the physical world's sensations.
A place of pristine human interaction and feeling.
Hanoi Vertical Quarter
Hanoi Vertical Quarter by Vietnamese architects Minh Phuc Nguyen and Linh Phuong Phan of M Architects Ltd.
The Tower stems from the idea of bringing the horizontal density of Hanoi to a vertical living space while still reflecting all the beautiful aspects of the Old Quarter and a busy city center. It is a combination of modules.
Cloud Craft: Rainmaking Skyscraper by Michael Militello and Amar Shah of the United States.
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. The architectural concept imagines a future Earth where cloud seeding has become the standard process to modify and manipulate the weather.
Towers, with the aesthetic of a tree, erected near the coast can seed passing clouds creating rain.
Taiwan Babel Tower
Taiwan Babel Tower by Lu Te Hsinof Taiwan.
In densely populated Taiwan, 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. These megastructures allow various builders to construct different buildings within the towers for different needs. The architects describe a vertical city in which the rich live at top and workers and the poor in slums at the bottom.
Sustainable Data Center
Sustainable Data Center in Iceland by Valeria Mercuri and Marco Merletti of Italy won third place in the competition.
The project is a vision of a future green data center located in Iceland. Iceland is considered a strategic location for data centers because of location, renewable energy sources and climate.
The tower is conceived as a giant 3D motherboard with a cylindrical shape. On the external façade are fastened all the hardware components, otherwise the internal part is empty. This void has a double function: first, it is the main air duct of the cooling system, and second it is a space where pods can be moved to the ground floor, during maintenance and upgrade phases. A huge cooling fan on the top of the tower activates a natural chimney effect, allowing each pod to take fresh air from outside and release warm air inside. A part of this air is expelled from the top of the tower, another part is re-used to heat the laboratories and the greenhouses situated in the basement. During the winter, the warm air released by the server could be also used to heat the houses in the surrounding neighborhood.