Friday, May 13, 2011

Flat Tower: Innovative Architectural Solution

Flat Tower High-rise buildings and skyscrapers have been the most favored architectural solutions for highly populated cities. It is a commendable idea for combining height – growing more vertically – and for its small footprint without hogging precious soil which is at a premium in most cities. But sporadic eruptions of skyscrapers do not add to the beauty of the skyline of any city nor does it add any way to the locale topographical charm. The solution seems to be structures that solve housing problem for the populace without spoiling the beauty of the city.

2011 eVolo Skyscraper Competition
The 2011 eVolo Skyscraper Competition is an annual event for architectural designs. This year’s goal was to find an architectural solution for housing in thickly populated urban areas without disturbing the existent city skylines as well as not hogging precious green spaces. This flat tower designed by Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, and Xavier Schirr-Bonnans from France has won the second place. This dome like structure has excellent green technology features incorporated as well.

Conforming to the guidelines
This high-dome building somewhat resembles a hillock on the outside and is about 800 meters in diameter. Honeycomb like gaps in the top surface let in the daylight so that the interior remains well-lit and gets plenty of sunlight. This is not a skyscraper but rather a hillock like structure with skylights built-in; covering vast areas of the city without attempting to destroy the existing structures or distorting the skylines.

At the ground level of the structure, there will be facilities for entertainment as well as huge tracts of green space. At the higher levels, office premises and residential quarters will be housed. While enough sunlight gets through to all levels through the openings in the ceiling, there will be enough windows for light and air circulation. There will be automated transport system for commuting inside and in and out of the structure. Each unit will be designed optimally as per their programmed needs.

Green ethics
The dome-like roof will have enough provision to house all the solar panels that will be needed by the entire complex. Also arrangements will be there to harvest rain water for watering the green areas below the dome and also for domestic use making the structure energy efficient and water self-sufficient. The skylights in the dome will reduce the need for artificial lighting during daytime and the solar panels will ultimately make the structure depend less and less on fossil fuel.

Universal adaptability
The designers have planned this for Rennes, a city in the old industrial area of France. It is a medium-size city, not interested in skyscrapers or any skyline-distorting high-rise buildings. While retaining the ethnic beauty and topographical highlights special to this area, the dome is designed as a housing solution for this city for highly populated areas with green ethics in mind. This design can be adapted for any other similar sized city.

It is extremely heartening to see that more and more people are turning towards green and renewable energy for containing carbon and other footprints to have a better and more eco-friendly world for future generations. This flat tower is also one such attempt.

What do you think?

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