Skyscraper vision: Vertical layers of nature

by Tania Wannenburg
Skyscraper vision

The award-winning Essence Skyscraper design conceptualises an architectural representation of various different natural landscapes that afford city dwellers a brief escape from urban life.

The winner of the 2015 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, the Essence Skyscraper designed by the Polish architectural firm BOMP, is a bold vision of a complex vertical landscape that aims to combine architecture and nature within the dense urban environment of a city centre.

The eleven floors of the 630m tall vertical tower have extensive open floor plans that each represents a different natural landscape. These stages are seamlessly interconnected to form a logical environmental sequence for visitors walking through the building.

The idea is for the skyscraper to be open to the public for a brief escape from city life, and to present visitors with a range of visual, acoustic, thermal, olfactory and kinaesthetic experiences while walking through the overlapping landscapes.

How it is structured
The mega-structure’s rectangle-shaped floor plan measures 100m by 300m. The core of the building houses an exorbitant system of ramps and platforms that connects the eleven stages, and is encased by a 10m wide belt that contains staircases, elevators, technical facilities and shafts.

Three additional levels, destined for technical facilities, split the tower into four segments, while not interfering with the general space. Different height modules (30m, 60m and 90m) organise the sequence of the levels in accordance with the type of landscape they host.

The tower is wrapped in a semi-transparent facade to blur the interior view from the outside, while neutralising the horizon from the visitor’s perspective.

A nature adventure
Entering the building via one of two mammoth ramps, visitors are met with an ocean scene arranged above the ground floor with fish tanks lifted up to 30m above the ground. From there the trip continues through moist, dense and foggy jungle thicket, stimulating various senses. Going up, one landscape follows the other, guiding visitors through a swamp, a desert, a steppe, a river, grasslands, a huge waterfall, mysterious caves, rocky mountains and at the top, a glacier scene.

These diverse habitats can easily serve as a playground for a fun adventure, as a camping venue or just as a walking trail for anyone looking to take a break or a day off.

The eVolo Skyscraper Competition was established in 2006 to award ingenious ideas for vertical living. Entries challenge the traditional understanding of vertical architecture and its relationship with natural and built environments through the innovative use of technology, materials, programmes, aesthetics and spatial organisations.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to eVolo and v2com for the information given to write this article.

The numbers:
Total building height: 630m
Total floor area: 330 000m²
Landscape area: 250 000m²
Number of floors: 11

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