"A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier." --Mies Van de Rohe, legendary architect. By that logic, a colossal 2 kilometer high mega-structure should be really easy to visualize and put together. Of course, this is exaggerated and only meant to emphasize thoughtfulness in design. But speaking of immense skyscrapers... We've already talked about gigantic city-structures of Paolo Soleri. Today we are going to see more gigantic and highly imaginative chairs... er, no, mega-structures that were proposed in the last four decades - plus we are going to briefly look into the past, for a glimpse of glorious retrofuture. We'll start with the re-imagining of the good old Hoover Dam - which includes a "Tower in a Dam", and looks like something dreamed up by Megatron:
This design by UK architect Yheu-Shen Chua has been awarded Third Place in eVolo's 2011 Skyscraper Competition: "One of the main purposes of the project is to allow the water from the upstream river to engage directly with the visitors through a series of containers. A hanging tower above the 700-foot drop into the Black Canyon would be used as gallery and a vertical aquarium." Belgian Architect Vincent Callebaut dreamed up a combination of skyscraper and airship, where the skyscraper itself floats in the air, feeding on a green "algae" energy: the "Hydrogenase" project is as eco-sustainable, as it is beautiful - more info:
Vincent Callebaut uses organic shapes in his designs and and dreams BIG - see all of his fantastic projects here. Floating Observatories: Unreal Tower Proposed for Taiwan Strange combination of a tree-like skyscraper and huge Zeppelin airship-inspired floating observation decks is a radical vision by Romanian Dorin Stefan Birou Arhitectura - more info and images here
In 1995, a truly gigantic structure was conceived for Tokyo: X-SEED 4000 - four kilometers high, 800 floors, the tallest building ever envisioned (on the right). Image on the left shows scaled-down two-mile high tower:
Inside the X-SEED 4000:
on the right is yet another super-building concept for Tokyo, conceiving at the height of Japanese asset price bubble in 1989 - Sky City 1000:
The Shimizu TRY 2004 Mega-City Pyramid was another super structure proposed for Tokyo: "The proposed structure is so large that it cannot be built with currently available materials, due to their weight. The design relies on the future availability of super-strong lightweight materials based on carbon nanotubes."
"Large robots would assemble the truss structure, and air bladders would be used to elevate trusses above the first layer using a construction system proposed by Italian architect Dante Bini. Spheroid nodes at the connections between trusses would provide structural support and serve as transfer points for travelers."
On the left is "Project: Spiral" 1000-meter high, designed for Tokyo in 1998. Right image: Noida Tower concept for Noida, india:
New Thoughts in Mega-scale Architecture Algorithmic Architecture! More than just a catchy term, this is a great tool in coming up with organic and nature-inspired forms, based on mathematical algorithms:
Boston Arcology (left) is a mega-structure concept by Kevin Schopfer, who also came up with the amazing New Orleans Arcology Habitat (NOAH) (right image, more info). This building was designed using golden proportions and will house 15,000 people:
Ocean Arcologies: Floating Mega-Cities Gigantic skyscrapers and mega-cities can grow not only up high, but deep down in the water. This "Water-Scraper" is a rather creative re-thinking of a floating island idea, made for eVolo design competition - more info:
To give you an idea of the UNDERGROUND super city, here is art from Astounding Stories, November 1937:
Other Elegant Proposed Skyscrapers
Organic forms of all varieties seem to be all the rage nowadays: on the left is "Tree of Life" skyscraper by Ukraine architects (info); on the right is the fantastic "Hydra", which can take energy from... lightnings! Imaging living in a place that is designed to be struck by lightnings... in a safe manner, of course (more info)
Among most elegant proposed skyscrapers we'll have to mention yet another colossal concept for Dubai (featuring beautiful spiral shape) - Dubai City Tower, 2500 meters high:
Glorious Retro-Future Urbanism from the Golden Age of SF
It's been some time since our Glorious RetroFuture Urbanism, Part 1. Since in retrofuture time moves in both directions - dreaming of the future in high style of the past, it's never too late to come up with an update:
(left image via; right image: Popular Science, 1933)
"Metropolis" poster by Boris Bilinsky from 1926 and a street view:
Frank R. Paul's vision of a mighty city from "Amazing Stories", 1928:
Note the "slides" cascading down the building! This picture is from 1934:
Moving armchair transportation system, 1939:
Certainly not for those seeking some exercise and weight loss.