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Since 2006, US based Evolo magazine has held an annual contest challenging architects and designers to envision skyscrapers of the future. What makes the competition fun is that the entrants are not rewarded for the practicality of the design but their novel use of materials, technology and aesthetics. This allows the creators to run wild with their imaginations and results in some pretty cool, gravity defying structures.
The 2013 competition, the results of which were announced on March 12th, attracted 625 competitors from every continent in the world and 83 different countries. While only three winners and 24 honorable mentions were selected by a jury of leading designers and architects, all the entries were extremely creative.
United States-based designer Derek Pirozzi took first place with his vision of a 'Polar Umbrella'. As the name suggests it is a dynamic skyscraper that resembles an umbrella which attempts to solve one of Earth's most pressing issues - Melting ice caps. The skyscraper is designed to reduce the surface's heat gain, which in turn will re-freeze ocean water. Not only that, the solar-powered structure is also capable of desalinizing salt water, to fulfill the needs of its residents.
French designers Darius Maikoff and Elodie Godo came in second with their entry of the 'Phobia Skyscraper' that uses recycled industrial materials and pre-made stacked units to create a very modern building that looks fragile enough to crumble with the touch of a finger. However, the open architecture allows for the building to morph and evolve over time, so that it can better suit the needs of its occupants.
China's Ting Xu and Yiming Chen took third place with their spectacularly cool floating skyscraper. Called Light Park, it is kept afloat with the help of a helium-filled bell and helps solve the rapidly growing issue of declining ground space in congested cities. Built with solar panels and water collectors, the building is also self-sufficient. Not only will Light Park help mitigate China's overpopulation and congestion, but also, pollution, thanks to the green spaces it houses.
Among the honorable mentions was the Urban Earthworm Skyscraper that not only resembled the tube shaped animal, but was also, designed to clean the soil and air and the Volcanic Skyscraper that was powered by geothermal energy from . . . you guessed it, volcanoes.
Most of these ideas are too far-fetched to see the light of day. However, each one of them has one or more interesting elements that could probably be implemented in the way we construct buildings today and make a difference to our environment. The images of course also make great coffee-table books, which is what Evolo is planning to do with a limited collector's edition of 'Evolo Skyscrapers' that will incorporate 300 of the best designs received since the competition began, in 2006.