Towering edifices that incorporate agriculture — farmscrapers, if you will — make for solid gold in the eye-popping conceptual design imagery department. Wild and wonderful in concept, these plant-studded structures present a somewhat sobering glimpse into a land-starved future where there’s nowhere for commercial food production to go but up.
When it comes to multitasking, an aggressively idiosyncratic conceptual skyscraper from Mexico City-based Studio Cachoua Torres Camilletti (CTC) blows other visionary vertical farming proposals out of the water and then some. The World Architecture Festival-shortlisted proposal, simply titled “Hong Kong Skyscraper,” incorporates housing, commerce, cultural programming, public transit, rainwater harvesting, renewable energy production, and fish farming into a giant, plant-clad package that looms precariously above the Hong Kong skyline.
Front and center, however, is Hong Kong Skyscraper’s futuristic presentation of the terraced paddy field, a staple of rice cultivation that's been a familiar sight in mountainous areas of China and Southeast Asia for thousands of years.
The reason that Studio CTC opted for rice over other, perhaps more skyscraper-friendly crops?
Rice terraces have an important semiotic and symbolic significance in the culture of countries such as China and the Philippines, and they are cultivated by the need to sow seeds vertically. Throughout history, they have been carved by hand into mountains high above the sea as emphasized contours with built-in irrigation systems. In addition to the formal beauty of these spaces, they are a living example of the respectful change of nature by humans, who do not pose any environmental aggression, and are ultimately both respectful of nature and of man. Studio CTC finds such richness of the meanings and interactions that it was decided that rice should be the crop of choice for the skyscraper.
A grain-centric “urban agriculture system” modeled after the traditional rice paddy can be found atop the larger of the bisected building’s dual rooftops (the other is home to a helipad). As you can see, the volume — designed as an attempt to “envision what a tower should be in the future era” while “letting go of many ingrained preconceptions about the way buildings should be designed” — is not-so-neatly split down the middle; the two halves are connected/supported by a network of angled struts along with several transparent bridges that will accommodate rail and bus traffic.
Writing for CityLab, John Metcalfe notes that it would appear the two halves of the "extremely mixed-use" skyscraper, each dripping with vegetation, are posed to “attack each other” in the renderings. It’s a fantastic observation — the larger tower with the rice paddy up top truly appears to be hunched over and ready to lunge at its less top-heavy counterpart — and if this was Tokyo, not Hong Kong, one could easily surmise that Studio CTC has birthed sustainable architecture’s very own dueling daikaiju. Just don't forget to eat up before running for your life ....
Via [Designboom], [CityLab]
Related on MNN:
- Rainforest Guardian: Futuristic skyscraper protects, irrigates the Amazon
- A skyscraper that grows taller and taller as its occupants generate waste
- Vertical farms sprout into reality