Himalayan high-rise wins skyscraper design contest

The top designs in the 2012 Skyscraper Competition range from futuristic water-storing high-rises for the Himalaya mountains to a towering landfill/power plant hybrid.

Architecture and design journal eVolo has named the winners of its sixth annual Skyscraper Competition, in which a jury of luminaries from the architecture and design worlds judge skyscraper concepts based on their use of new technology and materials, as well as on their use of adaptive design and aesthetics. The contest also serves to cull young, creative talent from the ranks of newbies.

This year's winning design is “Himalaya Water Tower," a proposed skyscraper for the Himalayan mountain range that would act as some sort of water regulator do stem the bleeding, so to speak, as glaciers melt -- the structures storing water during the rainy season, purifying it, freezing it and then making it available for (presumably) human consumption during periods of dryness.

This type of geo-engineering seems more apt for a desert landscape, and it boggles the mind to think of a high-rise going up in the middle of the Himalaya -- let alone having a water supply there that is so polluted that it would require purification before freezing. Regardless, this design won. Then again, its originators, Zhi Zheng, Hongchuan Zhao and Dongbai Song, are from China and perhaps they're close enough to the unmitigated industrialization and air pollution in their homeland to see how and why this concept could some day be required. (You can find more details here.)

Yiting Shen, Nanjue Wang, Ji Xia, and Zihan Wang, also from China, took the second place honors for their “Mountain Band-Aid,” a project that seeks to repair both the ecological and societal damage wrought by mining. The concept is to essentially lean the "skyscraper" into the mined-out mountain slope. As you'll see from the image, it's hardly a conventional skyscraper form factor. But it is functional and innovative, and, as the designers envision it, would provide a new home for the displaced Hmong mountain people and also help restore the ecology of the Yunnan mountain range.

In third place is “Vertical Landfill” from the Taiwanese architect Lin Yu-Ta. This design completely re-imagines the skyscraper as a vessel not for people or corporations, but for what we cast away. The towering landfills would serve as both a striking visual reminder of the waste stream but also as waste-to-energy power plant.

Images: eVolo

Via: FastCoExist

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com