Someday I hope to be invited to be a judge at the Evolo Skyscraper competition. It would be so much fun; the entries are always wild and creative, and they attract an eclectic mixes of judges. I don't think I have ever agreed with their choices for first place, but there have always been wonders in the other prizes and the runners-up.
If there is one thing that always blows me away, it is the quality of the drawing. In the days before computers, you did your plans and elevations, if you were good perhaps a few sketches, and you hired one of a few architectural renderers who would do a perspective for a couple of thousand dollars. You got one view in the style of the artist. By 1980 rules there are a couple of million dollars worth of presentation on the table here, wonderfully rendered in a way we could only dream about. There is some serious talent on display here.
Honorable Mention: Migrant Skyscraper
I wouldn't be surprised if judge Mitchell Joachim liked the Migrant Skyscraper by Damian Przybyła and Rafał Przybyła of Poland the best; it reminded me of his Homeway, Mobile Housing of the Future. The designers write:
The concept behind this structure is that in an unstable world, people need the stability of self-sufficiency to truly be free, and the future of the architectural field can help provide that to people. By constructing a safe haven for residents to live in that ensures they will have food to eat and water to drink, the Migrant Skyscraper affords people freedom despite what natural and social disasters may come. The building-inside-a-wheel can stay stationary for however long residents please, but, for example, if political upheaval destabilizes a region, residents can fire up the biofuel-powered engine and cruise to a new location.
More on the Migrant Skyscraper
First Prize: Himalaya Water Tower
OK, it addresses an important environmental issue, but first prize?
The “Himalaya Water Tower” is a skyscraper located high in the mountain range that serves to store water and helps regulate its dispersal to the land below as the mountains’ natural supplies dry up. The skyscraper, which can be replicated en masse, will collect water in the rainy season, purify it, freeze it into ice and store it for future use. The water distribution schedule will evolve with the needs of residents below; while it can be used to help in times of current drought, it’s also meant to store plentiful water for future generations.
Third Prize: Monument to Civilization: Vertical Landfill for Metropolises
This is clever. Lin Yu-Ta of Taiwan creates a vertical landfill that is three times the height of the Empire State Building.
As landfill possibilities surrounding growing metropolises disappear and cities fight waste management issues, the power of trash needs to be reconsidered. The accumulation of waste, for example, actually creates potential energy-recycle opportunities, such as when gas is emitted during decomposition. The Monument of Civilization proposal suggests locating trash vertically in a tower and using the energy generated from its decomposition to help power the surrounding city. By locating the tower in the heart of the city, energy is provided in immediate proximity, and money is also saved in transportation costs when garbage no longer needs to be shipped out of town.
Honorable Mention: Human Rights Skyscraper in Beijing
Every year there is at least one of these that I love, the idea of the vertical subdivision where one gets to build whatever they want on a slab in a slot in the sky. This year's version, from Ren Tianhang, Luo Jing and Kang Jun of China, looks at the issue of land ownership in the country.
Illegal acquisition of land by local Chinese government entities has caused thousands of residents incredible grief and even death recently, plus social instability, say the designers of the Structure of Human Rights in Beijing. Though private property doesn’t really exist in China (and buying a property only ensures its use for 70 years), the designers of this structure feel that land use needs to be reexamined in China, as a private home is a basic human right. Their proposal to bring every person a place to live takes into account the country’s exploding population and need for dense development, and thus is oriented vertically.
What do you think? Have a look at all 25 winners and honorable mentions, put their names in comments, and I will do a follow-up next week.