As cities are changing to adapt to environmental pressures, skyscrapers -- those eminent symbols of hyper-urbanization -- must necessarily transform to fit the future as well. So what might these new towers of the city look like?
These future towers might be underground or floating on the water, but for the recent Taiwan Tower International Competition for Taichung, Taiwan, Austrian architecture firm soma designed this plant-like, zero-carbon structure that not only generates its own energy, but also biomimetically responds to its surroundings in its daily operations.
Soma's Fibrous Tower is designed to be a self-sufficient, non-hierarchal structure, organized along a "cellular" pattern, facilitating open-ended circulation between buildings (museum, tower lobby, , green spaces and a network of paths. This non-hierarchal organization can be seen in the unusual form of the Fibrous Tower, which looks something like the roots of a tree or plant stamens rising up and weaving toward the sky, leaving the landscape below as an open field.
These giant, interweaving roots, which are subdivided to different functions, contain panoramic elevators, stairs, platforms and public observatories and were generated using some interesting methods, says ArchDaily:
The design was developed using swarm intelligence system – a bottom-up processing that uses algorithms that imitate natural biological processes and applies them to digital models. The organization developed in this design created the performative fibrous structure and is just one solution chosen out of the many possible by this process. Once a scheme was chosen, the architects applied functional constrictions and further developed the design with a structural analysis.
It's an eye-catching example of digitally-generated, biomimetic architecture, which not only learns from nature but also responds to it. The building's required energy needs are fulfilled by piezoelectric feelers near the top which transform movement into electricity, resembling like a "floating swarms of particles." In addition, photovoltaic panels would be placed on the roof of the museum, while a flexible PV system would be layered on the outer skin of the entire tower.
Modelled on the unfolding of flowers, there are "biomimetic lamellas" which respond to weather conditions by opening and closing themselves to protect inhabitants from the elements.
Rather than the energy-intensive and angularly awkward skyscrapers of today, the Fibrous Tower is a tower designed to be in tune with its environment -- a nature-inspired landmark that would weave a new story for a city. Which is entirely the point, says soma:
The tower itself becomes a fully integrated part of the exhibition; it displays how the responsible use of natural resources can lead to architectural innovation and investigation that speaks to peoples’ imagination and emotions.