Noteworthy large-scale developments such as skyscrapers can often turn out to be some the built world’s most resource wasting structures.
While the green skyscraper is becoming commonplace in the green building sector, skyscrapers as a whole still stand as symbols of excess and dominance.
However, their inversion is having a marked effect on the industry. Already New Mexico’s Earthscraper by BNKR Arquitectura has changed the design rules regarding the skyscraper design, leaving in its wake a number of cutting edge and imaginative concepts that have true potential as green infrastructure pieces.
One of these developments is a series of “seascrapers” designed by a Serbian architectural cohort that includes Milorad Vidojević, Jelena Pucarević and Milica Pihler. Gaining an honourable mention at last year’s eVolo skyscraper competition, these inverted skyscrapers not only offer a striking and modern aesthetic, they promise to function as landfill collectors.
Much like an iceberg, the concept images show that the structures would bob above sea level like a small island, with the tail and functional end of the structure underwater. Designed in response to the billion dollar issues of underwater garbage accumulation in areas of the world such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which floats through the northern portion of the Pacific Ocean, these structures were designed to act as self-sustaining waste facilities.
Each seascraper has been designed in three segmented parts. These include the garbage collection units at the bottom, the recycling plants in the middle and the housing and recreational zones at the top.
It is this recreational level that makes stability hugely important for the concept. To ensure the seascrapers are stable and safe, each structure would have a central hole which would allow for mass to be adjusted. When larger amounts of trash are collected, water is released from the structure, and vice versa, allowing weight-to-volume ratios to correlate correctly and allow flotation.
The waste plants were included to convert the collected rubbish into energy by heating it in a recycling chamber and storing the gas in ‘massive battery like structures’.
While this concept is clearly highly imaginary and focused more on innovation than feasibility, it is a concept that favours both design and functionality.
The skyscraper does not have to be a sign of industrial, resource excess. Green architects are clearly taking back the architectural form of the skyscraper and making it their own with clever and out of the box sustainable concepts.