1,000,000SF - architecture as infrastructure III
mixed-use, eco-friendly, energy-independent, water-harvesting tower in San Francisco
This mixed-use tower is a hybrid converging architecture and infrastructure into a mega-structure which produces energy, harvests water, and offers a readily available structural framework [core and exoskeleton] to anchor newly constructed buildings.
a. World population has been increasing at an accelerated rate, and its flux is steadily directed to our metropolises. New levels of population density have to be accommodated with a new notion of architecture which blends with infrastructure, and is able to respond with supply of infrastructure that grows organically with demand. The current model is based on the obsolete threshold model, which requires generational efforts on the supply side.
b. Continual advancements in construction technology are allowing for ever-taller and ever-larger developments. Current large developments are most often delivering a mixed-use program and on the financial side, are structured upon a joint venture model which allocates risk among the players.
The increase in world population will make mixed-use larger developments the norm. Real estate values will shift toward a volume unit rather than surface unit of a piece of land. The build-able volume will depend on the height technology can deliver based on the specific plot. Further, the infrastructural component will make the public sector part of the equation. The scenario we propose is one where the infrastructural component will be built beforehand [and produce energy], while the non-infrastructural program can be apportioned into independent sub-projects built separately by developers who purchase a quantified volume to fulfill a certain kind [or amount thereof] of needed program.
c.After the recent climatic event in New York and New Jersey, which submerged entire portions of cities on the coastline, it is clear that the possibility of permanently losing certain portions of land currently inhabited is not remote. Building vertically and above the current grade is a necessary shift in city planning of densely populated areas.
The worsening of the drought problem across the globe, and specifically in California, has made it clear that conservation and rain harvesting are urgent measure to be implemented. Each newly constructed building should produce energy sufficient to fulfill its needs, and harvest rain water to us for irrigation and sanitary purposes.
This tower is located in San Francisco. It is comprised of a central space frame truss aided by seven cores holding redundant conveying systems and stairwells. Attached to this structural system are two rhomboidal skins of hollow alloy pipes used to drain the rain water collected by the basin sitting atop the building. The size of the rhomboids decreases from top to bottom to decelerate the water as it travels at otherwise increasing speeds. These skins also hold a series of Darrieus windmills which implement the power produced by the towers. While this three-dimensional framework constitutes the infrastructural portion of the project, the towers built within it deliver its programmatic portion. The entire glazing system of each tower is covered with a thin-film solar cell (TFSC) by Nanosolar. This technology allows for a thin-film photovoltaic cell (TFPV), to be deposited in thin layers (thin film) on a substrate. This system alone makes each tower self-sufficient in terms of energy needs. Further, their slender profile and their siting within the structural system also contribute to their energy efficiency. The infrastructure is oriented to take advantage of prevailing winds, while the towers are oriented to take advantage of day lighting in a way fitting their program.