"Clean, Green" TATA Tower is a Bleak Vision of the Future, Dominated by Cars

I have seen the future over at Inhabitat and it scares the shit out of me. It's the proposed TATA tower in Mumbai, a solar and wind powered algae farm that happens to be offices, 930 apartments and parking for 4500 alternate-fuelled little nanos that move up and down the outside of buildings that look like the people farm in the Matrix.

It is a future where we never get out of our cars, just drive home into the lifts and rise up to our apartment and desks. Where every resident gets to park their car in their own little "garden."

It sounds so green and progressive, when described by Seth Ellsworth & Jayoung Kim:

The tower is seen as a development for TATA offices and employee residences, all of which drive alternative energy Nano cars. TATA Tower aims to be part of a much larger solution to the city's crumbling infrastructure. Energy demands of the building and vehicles are met by photovoltaic louvers, building-integrated wind turbines, tri-generation, and an algae farm which produces biodiesel. Vertical parking allows for maximum parking density, gathering parked cars to act as a parking resource for neighboring linked towers. This also frees up space for a more pedestrian oriented ground plane, allowing for parks, recreation and increased public transportation.

And it is so, so green, with such ambitious goals:


• Create a new residential community for the TATA Corporation and its employees, where every family owns an alternative fuel TATA Nano car.

• Create enough electricity and biodiesel from alternative energy sources to power both the building and cars.

• Create a vertical parking system the full height of the tower where cars move up and down the vertical cores externally on small platforms.

• Intensify car parking density within the city, eliminate the typical anti-urban ground floor car parking block, and give each resident the capacity to park their car in their own 'garden'. It will also allow a more pedestrian-orientated ground floor.



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• Allow the building, in time, to become a parking resource for other towers, linked horizontally at height through skybridges. Number of residential units in scheme = 930. Number of car parking spaces = 4050.

• Create quality external parks and spaces in the project, for the benefit of the vertical community and possibly the wider community of Mumbai.

• Become a prototype for urban algae farming and other forms of 'alternative' energy, as a demonstration project for India.

• Become a prototype for vertical parking for other sites in Mumbai, India, and possibly cities around the world.


This is the future for a world where there are so many cars that they take over every bit of ground when they are moving and every building turns into a massive vertical car park. Where nobody ever has to walk again.


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I want a bright green solar and wind and algae powered future, I really do. It would be so wonderful to have a zero net energy system that actually ran not only the building but the teeny little biodiesel powered cars that slide up and down the sleek round towers.

But imagine if they did. Imagine what it would be like stepping out the door to a sea of gridlocked little cars. We have already given up our ground plane to the automobile, now we are just turning the whole planet over to them.


credit: Jay Hariani

I don't think this is a fantasy; the people with the vision and drive to pull off the Nano. could make this happen. In fact, when you look at Mukash Ambani's house, , with its parking for 160 cars for a family of five, they already have. And as I said, it scares the shit out of me.

More visions of the future:

H2PIA: A Vision of a Hydrogen Future
Cardboard Houses of the Future
Douglas Coupland On The Future: 45 Predictions And They Ain't Pretty

Tags: India