Collapsible Skyscraper Wins Design Competition
The design for a collapsible skyscraper that could bring relief to disaster zones was recently announced as the winner of the eVolo Skyscraper Competition, an annual award presented by eVolo to recognize visionary ideas in vertical architecture.
The foldable skyscraper—dubbed Skyshelter.zip—was designed by Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa and Piotr Panczyk to be packed into a box as wide as the building’s base, and to be delivered by helicopter. This structure has the potential to provide relief in disaster areas, especially places where roads are impassable.
To set up the skyscraper, the base is anchored and a load-bearing helium balloon is used to extend the tower to whatever size is needed.
"Depending on the amount of gas poured into the balloon, one can control the number of floors that are unfolding," the team said. "This way, with a single, mass produced module it is possible to attend different-scale, unpredictable events."
Accordion-style fabric panels in the structure act as walls as the balloon rises, with 3-D-printed slabs serving as flooring. Wind-resistant structural steel wires frame the collapsible building.
The design includes plans for first aid bays, a reception area, temporary housing, storage space and the potential for a vertical farm. With stacking all of this functionality together, the architects surmise that the structure would take up to 30 times less room than traditional tents used in disaster relief, reducing the amount of cleaning up needed for temporary housing.
The team also suggested the use of a nano-material based on ETFE foil embedded will tiny solar panels to allow the tower to generate its own clean energy, and a balloon at the top of the structure that could collect and filter rainwater.
Architect Tony Leung’s Shinto Shrine Skyscraper claimed second place, functioning as a vertical shine and rice-farming complex that would act as a focal point during Shinto festivals, its interconnected roofs serving as stepped paddy farms and public access to different halls.
Third place was presented to Claudio C. Araya Arias for his Waria Lemuy: Fire Prevention Skyscraper, a modular structure that provides vertical housing in areas damaged by wildfires in Chile and is equipped with a water catchment system that would accelerate the recovery of the affected flora.