24 August 2006

Building Into the Third Dimension: Super-towers and Arcologies

Architect Paolo Soleri introduced the concept of the arcology, an entire city contained within a large well-integrated building. Soleri designed arcologies for many types of terrain--even sea-floating arcologies and arcologies in outer space.

Other architects have since taken up the theme of the arcology, or megacity. The Ultima Tower seen above is about 3,000 meters tall, and the Sky City seen below is about 1000 meters tall. A million people could live in the Ultima Tower comfortably. Such mega-cities bring the issues of land use, energy efficiencies, and recycling of wastes and resources to the forefront where they belong.

Integrated megacities make better use of land, minimise inefficiencies from long-distance commuting from the suburbs and outlying rural areas, and force city planners to get down to the fine details of energy and resource planning that has never been approached until now. This is close to the type of meticulous planning that will be required for building settlements on lunar or Martian soil, or for large orbiting settlements.

This website presents a description of the key components of an arcology. Theoretically, an arcology could be located virtually anywhere on Earth or in space. An arcology for purists would contain its own energy supply, water supply, waste treatment, and interior transportation system--along with residences, recreational areas, shops providing necessities and luxuries, restaurants and cafeterias, medical and dental facilities, and places of business and manufacture. Maintenance workers would necessarily be valued members of the community.

Undersea arcologies and outer space arcologies would require special attention to air supply infrastructure. Recycling of air and water would be particularly important in space, and would almost certainly involve intensive use of specially engineered living plants. Protection from high pressure environment (undersea) and low pressure environment (outer space and high atmospheric) would introduce special design considerations, and special training for all residents.

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Blogger ErictheTolle said...

One other efficiency should be mentioned in the post-911 era. Such huge concentrations of people and services in a single building would be a very efficient target for terrorists, in that one or two jumbo jets impacting on one of those towers could imperil hundreds of thousands of people. In fact, looking at the design, an impact near the tip could end up with flaming aviation gas pouring down the central shaft.

This is the constant problem with the arcology concept: along with the benefits of maximum density, comes a magnification of problems if something goes wrong.

Sunday, 29 March, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Quite right. Something to be factored into the equation.


Tuesday, 09 June, 2009  

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