Design Architecture The Judges Get It Right With the 2019 Evolo Skyscraper Competition By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated May 01, 2019 CC BY 2.0. MethaneScraper/ Marko Dragicevic Share Twitter Pinterest Email Design Tiny Homes Architecture Interior Design Green Design Urban Design Lots of great ideas for green building in this year's crop. It's Evolo Time, when we look at the skyscraper competition which "recognizes visionary ideas that through the novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations, challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments." The jury this year included Vincent Callebaut, whose own crazy skyscrapers have been on TreeHugger, and Mitchell Joachim, who designs houses that grow or move, and Melike Altınısık, who is designing towers in Istanbul. Methanescraper Marko Dragicevic/CC BY 2.0In every Evolo I have covered, I have never thought they picked the right first place winner, and I usually go for one of the honourable mentions. This year, I think they got it right with Marko Dragicevic's Methane Scraper. The building is a giant vertical waste treatment plant that produces methane for energy. The towers are module-based, and every tower is consisted of waste capsules that are attached to the concrete core. Firstly, city waste is being delivered to sorting facility, where it is categorized by type (glass, plastic, organic matter, paper, wood, metal), after which it is sent to temporary landfill. The recyclable waste is taken to recycling facility, and organic matter, parts of wood and paper materials are gathered and disposed into modular waste capsules. These capsules are attached to the tower core by cranes. Every capsule is equipped with inhaler and pipeline that connects to the methane tank, and when organic matter rots, methane produced by the process is drawn from each capsule and later transformed into energy. See it full size here. Airscraper Airscraper/ Klaudia Gołaszewska, Marek Grodzicki/CC BY 2.0 The second place winner, Airscraper, by Poland's Klaudia Gołaszewska, Marek Grodzicki, looks a lot like proposals we have seen for skyscrapers in New York City, with those big voids to make them taller. This one reminds me of Daniel Libeskind's proposal for Madison Avenue. In fact, it is a giant chimney, where polluted air is drawn in at the bottom and sucked up through filters. "It incorporates a modular kinetic façade that helps to optimize the air intake and responds to prevailing wind directions, a filtration system that collects TSP and PM10 particles and an ionization system that collects PM2.5 particles." It also has green garden modules, "incorporated in the residential section of the tower, located at 400m and above, where the layer of smog doesn’t reach. The Green-Gardens include dense vegetation of various kinds, which not only help to adjust air oxygen levels and balance the micro-climate of the tower, but also provide attractive and healthy public areas to serve the wellbeing of the tower occupants and improve the daylighting of the inner chimney atrium." See it full size here. The City of No Nation Zhichen Gong, Yong Chen, Tianrong Wu, Yingzhi He, Congying He/CC BY 2.0 The City of No Nation is from Chinese designers, Zhichen Gong, Yong Chen, Tianrong Wu, Yingzhi He, and Congying He, but might be more relevant in the USA on the border: We propose to build a skyscraper along the border between two countries which provides shelter with security and development opportunities for refugees. The core part of this proposal is how to conserve their original environment and provide adequate space. Based on the narrow buffer zone, the skyscraper introduced here should not be simple stack of broken layers, but a transformation from a horizontal lifestyle to a vertical one. In this skyscraper, people can follow their previous habitats in stable societies and get adequate education, training and jobs. On the other hand, neighbouring countries will not bear too much of population influx when they provide. © Zhichen Gong, Yong Chen, Tianrong Wu, Yingzhi He, and Congying He, It is a plug-and-play wonder with a mosque on top. See it full size here. Bi-National Community Skyscraper Charles Tzu Wei Chiang, Alejandro Moreno Guerrero/CC BY 2.0 Another design for the border is this skyscraper on its side by Charles Tzu Wei Chiang, Alejandro Moreno Guerrero of Taiwan, a sort of inhabited wall. This proposal suggests an “In-between zone” above border fence, which is based on temporary scaffolding structure and can be expanded or reduced in size according to the needs. With respect to legal regulation and political situation, such zone can be accessed with control of shafts of staircase and allows families not only to meet up but hug and touch each other to share their moment together. As it serves as the platform for opportunities of interaction and communication, it enhances interpersonal relationship and encourages community like gathering space with bi-national identity. See it full size here. Carbon Copy Skyscraper Dattner Architects/CC BY 2.0 We love wood, and you can't have too many trees, so why not build skyscrapers for them? Dattner Architects propose giant timber structures but not to put people in. Instead of an urban skyline populated by humans, our project proposes a new landscape of forest structures inhabited only by animals, birds and trees. This skyforest is a systemic solution to the problem of deforestation. Built on a large-scale grid, it leaves the forest floor available for managed growth and harvesting, while duplicating the forest vertically by means of a three dimensional grid that rises high above the ground. This new skyline works with nature rather than against it. Dattner Architects/CC BY 2.0 It does seem odd, putting trees up in the sky, but it does leave the ground plane open for other uses. "Each tree is planted in a high tensile fabric pouch that contains the root ball, absorbs and retains water and allows room for growth. The pouch is secured on all four sides. The trees are staggered vertically to allow sun and rain to filter down and reach every tree." I suppose that might work, but it's probably high maintenance. See full size here. Level 5 Autonomous Green Dock Skyscraper Tony Leung/CC BY 2.0 Finally, we have Tony Leung's project that presses so many TreeHugger tropes. It's a vertical farm full of parked self-driving glass greenhouse buses with solar panels on top. They park in vertical docks and get charged up with solar power, then they drive off to farmers markets or food deserts and deliver the produce to where it is needed. This sounds so efficient and cost effective! See it full sized here. © Tony Leung I may make fun of some of the Evolo projects, but I am always amazed at the level of creativity and the quality of the drawings, and the amount of work that goes into this. See them all at Evolo and pick your own favorites.