10 March 2010

Tower Cities, Living Above It All

There is something to be said for living high above the muss and fuss of ground level humanity. Even better if you can put your towers offshore and inaccessible to anyone without authorised access. Such precautions are particularly wise in cities such as Marseilles or Detroit.
The Tower | city | towers project offers the opportunity to rethink all the functionalities, needs and demands of the city, especially in terms of population density and everything it involves (leisure activities, work, housing, transportation, etc.), thus allowing the nature to take back its original place.
The idea is to go back to the origin, allowing the pine-wood and the vegetation to grow again, making the rock reappear, offering the earth a deserved fallow-land, using the potential of lands conquered by the current city to give life to an alternative city which would offer an unequalled way of life and give back its place to nature.
Tower | city | towers suggests to deconstruct the existing city and build it on the sea in order to liberate the lands. _TowerCityMarseilles

The intention of the designers was to create a more dense urban center, and place the city out on the water in order to let the land regenerate. This would allow the inhabitants of the city close access to nature, trees, and open space rather than being completely surrounded by urban sprawl for miles and miles. Additionally, residents have even quicker access to the water for recreation or travel. Although designed originally for Marseilles, this skyscraper concept could be applied for any coastal city.

The new city would be built above the water so as to not disturb the marine ecosystem. Constructed in a 3D grid, the skyscraper city would still contain all the necessities of city life – places to work and live, modes of transportation, schools, shopping and every day life amenities as well as recreation. By condensing the city into a smaller, compact space, the city itself becomes more efficient, and as a bonus, a ton of additional land would be available for open space. The city would be built from the ruins of the old city, powered by renewable energy, and would include port facilities, garden and open space. _Inhabitat

The bubble tower pictured above is tower-by-the-sea meant to serve as a massive desalination structure for Almeria, in Spain.
The system works with a series of circular tanks filled with brackish water. The water is pumped through the mangrove plants via tidal power, and is ultimately stored in freshwater tanks for later use. Design Crew for Architecture estimates that the tower could potentially produce 30,000 liters of fresh water daily. _FastCompany
Such a well-intentioned approach to providing fresh water must unfortunately wait for more advanced materials and construction technologies. But as long as we are spending time talking about such projects, we remain unaware of how all our splendid past fantasies of ecotopia are lying dormant and wasting in the sun and rain.

Tidal power is the most expensive form of power generation known. Wasting resources on such fantasies has become something of a Spanish past-time recently. Meanwhile, Spaniards are vanishing from the land and being replaced by third world newcomers with average IQs at least 1 standard deviation lower. What type of ecotopia, exactly, is created via dysgenic demographic transformation?

The Marseilles Tower may be more practical -- particularly if it can provide a secure self-contained arcology that allows productive members of Marseilles to escape the rampant human predation that occurs on city streets and backways.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both you and Soleri have a fascination with monumental architecture as the solution to our future problems. Having visited Arcosanti and looked at surviving designs that were on display there I can only condemn such beliefs as little more than magical thinking.

Arcosanti itself is an example of the failure of Soleri's vision. When I visited back in mid-January I had to take my small car down 4 miles of washboard roads in order to get to the dirt parking lot in front of Arcosanti. The site is unfinished and will never be finished, nor will it ever house the projected 5,000 people that Soleri fantasized about. As far as I can tell what litle construction that occurred there happened in the 1970's and involved college students and hippies who wanted to make a difference. Some people live there full time, but the overall leftist feel of the place reminded me of Oregon from when I was a little kid.

I hope Soleri's vision never comes to pass.

Wednesday, 17 March, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I wanted to mention that the Spaniards desperately want to be part of Northern Europe, so they as a country ape the grossest trends out of Britain and Scandinavia and take such trends to the extreme.

Of course, the Northerners are batshit crazy and have a culture of Protestantism, which Spain hasn't yet adopted.

Wednesday, 17 March, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Both you and Soleri have a fascination with monumental architecture as the solution to our future problems. Ronduck

Oh really? You may be right about Soleri, although his views have probably tempered since his earlier writings.

As for Al Fin, your comment is pure projection. Al Fin is fascinated with the concept of arcology, given that such structures will be necessary for colonies in space, or in other extreme environments.

Your are confusing a poorly funded project in the desert with the larger phenomenon that will blossom with the movement of humans into more extreme environments.

Thursday, 18 March, 2010  

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