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Competition: eVolo skyscraper ideas contest 2020

Architecture and design journal eVolo is once again inviting entries to its annual skyscraper ideas competition, featuring a $5,000 USD top prize (Deadline: 28 January)

Open to artists, architects, students and designers, the anonymous contest seeks conceptual proposals for innovative, dynamic and adaptive vertical communities which provide a ‘window into the future’. There are no limitations on the size or location of concepts.

The annual call for ideas, first held in 2006, aims to promote dialogue around new approaches to urban development which improve existing infrastructure and enhance living conditions for residents. Proposals which boost community growth and integrate existing local organisational methods are also encouraged.

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

According to the brief: ‘The competition is an investigation of public and private space and the role of the individual and the collective in the creation of a dynamic and adaptive vertical community. It is also a response to the exploration and adaptation of new habitats and territories based on a dynamic equilibrium between man and nature – a new kind of responsive and adaptive design capable of intelligent growth through the self-regulation of its own systems.

‘There are no restrictions in regards to site, program or size. The objective is to provide maximum freedom to the participants to engage the project without constraints in the most creative way. What is a skyscraper in the 21st century? What are the historical, contextual, social, urban, and environmental responsibilities of these mega-structures?’

Now in its 14th year, the annual programme aims to explore the relationships between skyscrapers and the natural world, local communities and the city. Conceptual designs should be adaptive, encourage self-regulation and help create a dynamic equilibrium between humans and nature.

Marko Dragicevic from Serbia won this year’s contest with ‘Methanescraper’ – a new towering city-district on the left bank of the River Danube in Belgrade which serves as a vertical landfill with the ability to recycle waste materials and methane gas.

2016 contest winner: Sidescraper by Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi

2016 contest winner: Sidescraper by Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi

2016 contest winner: Sidescraper by Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi

Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk from Poland won the 2018 contest with their Skyshelter.zip proposal for a foldable skyscraper inspired by origami that could be easily transported and deployed in disaster zones.

Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi’s innovative ’Sidescraper’ proposal (pictured) for a sunken landscape in the centre of New York City was named overall winner of 2016’s contest.

The 2020 competition judges include Ryuichi Sasaki, founder of Sasaki Architecture; Manuel Navarro Zornoza, principal of Latitude Architectural Group; Lu Yun, founder of MUDA Architects; and Alper Derinboğaz, founder of Salon Architects.

Anonymous entries must include a 600-word project statement; two A0-sized presentations boards featuring plans, sections, and perspectives; and a document containing the professional details of all team members.

Results are set to be announced on 21 April, with first place prize of $5,000 USD, second place prize of $2,000 and third place prize of $1,000.

How to apply

Deadline

The registration deadline is 28 January and submissions must be completed by 23:59 (EST) on 11 February

Fee

Early registration until 19 November: $95

Late registration from 20 November until 28 January: $135

Contact details

Email: skyscraper2020@evolo.us

Visit the competition website for more information

Methanescraper case study: Q&A with Marko Dragicevic

The winner of this year’s contest discusses lessons learned

How did your winning concept respond to the eVolo 2019 contest brief?

The basis of the project (later finalised specifically for the eVolo competition) originated at the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade during my last year of studies, at the studio called The Ultrastructure of the Third City. The studio assignment was to explore specific strategies for creating a new urban matrix that would potentially initiate the development of the uninhabited area on the left bank of the Danube river, the territory of the future city – Third Belgrade.

Since the theme of the studio was fairly futuristic, I began my research by defining and mapping the most prominent problems of the cities of today, Belgrade included. After analyzing causes and consequences of each issue, I singled out those problems that could potentially drastically worsen in the future, such as lack of free space caused by constant urbanisation, endangered natural environments and the rapid increase in quantity of disposable waste.

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

Thinking about how all three of these issues could be tackled at once, I got the idea of an alternative waste disposal method, which is not surface-based and concentric like the landfills of today are, but vertical and linear. This gigantic vertical waste treatment plant would not just provide answers to some of these problems, it could also be a source of useful methane gas, it would reduce the possibility of gas inflammation and fires, it could provide a positive socio-economic impact, and generally would promote much better waste management at the macro level. I suppose multiple positive effects that this high-rise building would introduce (compared to standard landfill systems) is the strongest point of this project.

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The tower itself is of very basic, conventional construction. Around the concrete core (erected from tower base), the steel grid structure is formed, which can hold modular capsules that storage waste. As mentioned above, methane gas is released after organic waste decomposes, which is then extracted out of the capsule with pipeline system that transfers gas to the power plant where it is transformed to electrical energy. The modular capsule system is an adequate solution because after each decomposing cycle, individual capsules can be removed, cleaned, refilled and returned to the grid. Furthermore, this system assures there is zero contamination of both air and soil with toxic gases.

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

2019 winner: Methanescraper by Marko Dragicevic from Serbia

Although the essence of the project is more technologically driven, the design itself of the tower and its appearance is certainly extremely important. It can be said that the tower is an environmental manifesto that directly demonstrates how much waste we create and pollute our surroundings, as opposed to usual ‘burying under the rug’ practices. In doing so, it raises awareness and draws attention to anyone who does not think at all about how much waste one is producing and how much it is affecting our environment. To enhance this impressionistic effect, it would also be possible to attach panels of recycled or used wood, metal and plastic to the secondary construction, and thus further contribute to the visual identity of this ‘vertical landfill’.

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a winning scheme for eVolo 2020?

The devil is in the details.

 

Q&A with Carlo Aiello

The editor of eVolo Magazine discusses his ambitions for the contest

Carlo Aiello

Carlo Aiello

Carlo Aiello

Why do you hold an annual skyscraper ideas competition?

With more than 50 per cent of the world’s population living in urban areas, it is extremely important to unveil new concepts of urban living, especially ideas for vertical high density.

What would you like to see from this year’s entries?

This is a pretty open competition in which there are no restrictions to program, size, or site. The idea is to give enough freedom to the participant to come up with the most radical concepts that might solve real problems in years to come. This competition is not about present-day architecture, but a window into the future.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

This is an open call to any architect or designer worldwide. We would like to see projects from experienced firms as well as from students. For the senior architects, this is an opportunity to get away from their practice and be creative without client and financial constraints. For students, this competition offers a platform to uncover their ideas and be noticed and recognized by the architectural community, and hopefully open doors for a successful career.

2018 contest winner Skyshelter.zip by Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk

2018 contest winner Skyshelter.zip by Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk

2018 contest winner Skyshelter.zip by Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

There is an abundance of architectural competitions that cover diverse topics. We would like to continue focusing on the skyscraper genre and hopefully unveil a solution for the future of urbanisation. We strongly believe that skyscrapers will become self-sustained cities within larger urban areas.

Are there any recent innovative skyscrapers projects you have been impressed by?

We are very excited with the proposal for a 350metre-high wooden skyscraper for Tokyo by Sumitomo Forest and Nokken Sekkei. OMA’s Innovationen Tower in Stockholm is a great exercise in modular systems while Zaha Hadid’s Morpheus Hotel in Macau offers a fascinating exposed lattice structure with interstitial spaces carved from its central mass.

2016 contest winner: Sidescraper by Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi

2016 contest winner: Sidescraper by Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi

2016 contest winner: Sidescraper by Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi