TOWERING: A NEW EARTHLY MORPHOLOGY

Evolo Competition Entry

2015

Skyscrapers have long been associated with density and consumption. The valuable arable land on which cities are founded is consumed, diminishing global food production, depleting aquifers, and increasing the production of greenhouse gasses, all of which has dire consequences for our environment and our continued existence. 

 

Rather than developing a cityscape on rich and fertile ground, our tower is located in the desert next to an ocean. Our Tower transforms the surrounding desert into a vertical oasis of life, creating 1.5 million liters of water a day to replenish aquifers and support a population of 560,000. It harvest the wind to produce power for this new metropolis. A solar chimney evaporates seawater and produces building material out of salt. The metropolis radiates out along canals, providing low-energy transportation routes that cool the adjacent buildings. Once the population reaches the Tower’s water-production capacity, a new Tower is built to support additional urban growth. Over time, this new paradigm reverses desert growth and replenishes the world’s freshwater supply.

How it Works:

 

1. Turning Salt Water to Fresh Water

Cities would develop along arid coastal areas using the Tower to purify seawater into potable fresh water for urban growth, agriculture, and the replenishment of the water table. Each tower supports 560,000 people based on 150-liters/day/person.

 

2. The Tower Core—Vertical Oasis

A 900-meter-high helical Seawater Greenhouse, with public amenities and a 16km trail system, uses the root system of a variety of ecologies to filter 56 million liters of seawater per day into fresh potable water.

 

3. Rotating Tower

The Tower’s shell is made from a light dendritic-fractal lattice of carbon fiber with an ultra-transparent and ultra-light PTFE membrane skin. This turbine rotates around a stationary helical garden core.

 

4. A Drag-Type Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

The shell has a triangular section with a helical twist that catches the wind and produces 70 megawatts of power.

 

5. The Tower Base

The base is a circular frame made of curved steel members ventilated by air that is pulled in by the stack effect of the 900m-high solar chimney.  

 

6. A Solar Chimney

Between the Tower core and shell, the solar chimney produces 80 megawatts of power. Added to the 70 megawatts of power produced by the vertical turbine, the total electrical production of the Tower is 150 megawatts, enough to run the entire community.

 

7. Producing Environmentally Friendly Building Material

The seawater solution left over after the root filtration of the Seawater Greenhouse flows to a vault under the tower where, using forms and evaporation or a salt-solution concentrate spray, it is further processed into bricks to create a durable building material.

 

8. A New Urban Morphology

Root-like canals are created between the sea and the Tower with the canal’s surface being at sea level. A shaded canyon is created to ameliorate the intense desert sun to create a cooler, shaded environment. The new metropolis is built into the sides of the canyon using the white salt that reflects 80% of solar energy, reducing solar heat gain. The canals serve as low-energy transportation routes for the city, creating an environment whose water, electricity, and building materials all come from the Tower.

 

The skyscraper becomes a regenerative force to replenish global ecosystems while providing new cities for billions.