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eVolo Magazine is pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 Skyscraper Competition. Established in 2006, the annual Skyscraper Competition recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design through the use of new technologies, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organization. The award seeks to discover young talents whose ideas will change the way we understand architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments.

The Jury of the 2010 edition was formed by leaders of the architecture and design fields including: Mario Cipresso, Kyu Ho Chun, Kenta Fukunishi, Elie Gamburg, Mitchell Joachim, JaeYoung Lee, Adelaïde Marchi, Nicola Marchi and Eric Vergne. The Jury selected 3 winners and 27 special mentions among 430 entries from 42 countries.

Globalization, sustainability, flexibility, adaptability, and the digital revolution, were some of the multi-layered elements taken into consideration.  The first place was awarded to a project for a vertical prison designed by architecture students Chow Khoon Toong, Ong Tien Yee, and Beh Ssi Cze, from Malaysia. Their project examines the possibility of creating a prison-city in the sky, where the inmates would live in a “free” and productive community with agricultural fields and factories that would support the host city below.

The recipients of the second place are Rezza Rahdian, Erwin Setiawan, Ayu Diah Shanti, and Leonardus Chrisnantyo, from Indonesia, whose project ‘Ciliwung Recovery Program’ aims to purify and repair the Ciliwung River habitat. The building is designed as an ingenious habitable machine that would collect garbage, purify water, and provide housing to thousands of people that live in the slums along the river.

The third place was awarded to Ryohei Koike and Jarod Poenisch, from the United States, for their project ‘Nested Skyscraper’ that explores robotic construction techniques for a novel structure of carbon sleeves and fiber-laced concrete. The building is a system of multiple layers of composite louvers which thicken and rotate according to solar exposure, ventilation, and materials performance.

Among the special mentions there are skyscrapers used as bridges that link different territories, cities in the sky powered by renewable energies, instant deployable buildings for disaster zones, skyscrapers that purify and desalinate sea water, or high-rises that commemorate historic dates. Other proposals create new pedestrian layers for existing cities. Some use the latest building technologies and parametric design to configure environmentally conscious self-sufficient buildings, while others create city-like buildings where different programs are mixed in one structure.

eVolo Magazine would like to acknowledge all the competitors for their effort, vision, and passion for architectural innovation.

Vertical Prison

First Place

2010 Skyscraper Competition

Chow Khoon Toong, Ong Tien Yee, Beh Ssi Cze


Studies on prison sentence reveals that post-release offenses were higher after imprisonment. Taking criminals out of community and incarcerating them is just a temporary solution. During their time in prison, inmates resocialize into a prison community or rather a crime community instead of rehabilitation; eventually return to the path of crime. Majority of the offenses committed are lesser crimes, and these offenders are those with higher chances of rehabilitation.

Community too plays a role in helping ex-convicts in their rehabilitation process. Yet there is a social stigma towards ex-convicts. In the end, rejections and scorns forced them to go back into the way of crime.

Rehabilitation essentially involves both the offenders and community. To achieve this, we propose a prison where the criminals are taken off the street to a place within that community and while serving their sentences, they continuously contribute to that particular community yet remain separated; a vertical prison.

Design to Separate – A Prison Without Wall
The purpose of a prison is to isolate the inmates from society and a prison needs a barrier to do so. A vertical prison does so without a wall, instead it isolates the inmates through height, where jumping off the prison is the only option.

The Relationship Between Prison and The City in Vertical Prison System
While serving their sentence, the inmates will work to help support the needs of the community, in a way of paying back to the society. Each prison is unique to its own context. In a city, inmates undertake agriculture activities to help feed the city or in an industrial area, the inmates help manage and reprocess waste to help the environment.

Gradually the tension between safe and unsafe will shift to understanding and eventually the prison will become part of the community. It is hoped that through this symbiotic relationship, the social stigma of a prison would be softened and the society will be more in acceptance of the inmates, giving them a second chance for themselves and also giving society a second chance.

A Parallel World
The inmates will live in a parallel world with the surrounding. They know, see and hear everything that happen in the city, yet isolated by the height. It is similar to penal deportation to a colony above city. In this colony, the inmates work to sustain themselves and support the city below. They live freely in the colony and the city continues to have impact to their life. In the end, it is hope that they can adapt more easily back into the society.

Mobility and Enforcement
Similar to the city below, the colony has its own transportation system which allows for law enforcement and other support system such as fire rescue and medevec to be provided by the means of mobile pods.  In a riot situation, the armored riot control pod with fast roping capability allow for rapid deployment of riot control team while the armored riot control pod serve as a mobile operation base and observation platform to control and monitor the situation from above. Meanwhile, the fire rescue and the medevec pods will move in to provide fire fighting, evacuation and medical support.



Second Place

2010 Skyscraper Competition

Rezza Rahdian, Erwin Setiawan, Ayu Diah Shanti, Leonardus Chrisnantyo


Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, was originally designed as a water city where thirteen rivers that crossed the city utilized completely as source of livelihood by the citizens. Ciliwung River as the largest river that cuts right along the center of the city is the main river that supports the citizens’ life. Unfortunately, today the river had become disaster for the citizens, because surge of water flooded the city, and the number of slums along the riverbanks adds a new problem, namely the pollution of watershed’s surrounding.

Ciliwung Recovery Program (CRP), a project aims to purify the Ciliwung River’s environment to its original form. Through the new system in the building, CRP is expected to be able to repair and become the sustainability generator for Jakarta.

There are three main lines in the process of purifying the Ciliwung river, first line is the flow of the polluted river water into the building through pipes by utilizing capillary vessel systems, into the filtrating section. At this stage, the river water is separated from garbage, the organic garbage then used as raw materials to fertilize the soil around the river basin, while garbage-free water proceeded to the next stage or channeled back into the river.

The second line is the phase of river water purification through elimination of dangerous contaminants, and addition of various good minerals to the water, so it is safe for daily needs of CRP building occupants, which is people who previously lived in the slums along Ciliwung River. Removal of riverbank dwellers into the CRP building aims to open and expand Ciliwung watersheds that will be prepared to be the new open spaces for more “green” Jakarta and to secure the flood plane.

The third line is the re-processing of household waste products into water which is safe to be returned to the Ciliwung River. Some of processed water are being distributed to lands around Ciliwung River in two ways. First, through capillary pipes under the ground that not only bring water, but also fertilizer produced in the first line. Capillary tubings are connected to generator towers around the damaged lands, and create a new environment that’s usable for agriculture. Second, by spraying processed water through the skin of the building. Spraying water from height raises the humidity in the lower part of the building that triggers the growth of pioneer plants that will contribute to the creation of a new ecosystem. CRP’s ecosystems will create a good microclimate for Jakarta, as well as a response to the lost of many open green spaces around the world that leads to global warming.

CRP buildings generate energy for itself, including the use of passive technology systems in the building. The skin of the building is designed with many layers, where the outer layer of the skin receives large amount of wind that used as a wind power generator. For solar power generator, there is a gigantic solar reactor at the top. The elevator of CRP building uses Archimedes principle of vessels. It will move up and down by accommodating its specific gravity. The excess energy generated from CRP system will be distributed to buildings around the Ciliwung River.



Third Place

2010 Skyscraper Competition

Ryohei Koike, Jarod Poenisch
United States


The Nested Skyscraper has the weightlessness of a cloud that fluctuates with changing climatic, urban, and programmatic conditions.  This adaptive process, made possible by the use of advanced materials and robotic construction. This produces new environments of openness, energy efficiency, and symbiosis with the natural world. Nested explores a language of fragility, flexibility and lightness. The prototype project engages extreme urban and climatic conditions, and looks to blur the distinct threshold between interior and exterior.

Using a fusion of existing construction techniques and new robotic assemblies, energy can be saved and material waste minimized.  The technique is a mixture of current jump form methods with two robotic components. The first robot stretches a network of carbon sleeves, which are then impregnated with fiber-laced concrete. The second robot inspects and wraps the structure for lateral redundancy. This produces a dynamic construction system that can increase or decrease material density depending on structural needs.

Composed primarily of experimental materials the Nested Skyscraper is lightweight and flexible. Its form and construction are derived from the material’s inherent logic and performance capacities. The resulting composition is a system of multiple layers of composite louvers, which thicken and rotate according to solar exposure, maximizing the material’s performance while producing variation to the transparency of the enclosure.

The new skyscraper acts as a series of nests that stretch between and around structural elements as vertical circulation wraps around all elements allowing the pedestrian to penetrate the entire building. Together the materials and volumes create a hybrid relationship between compressive and tensile elements. This new material logic frees the Nested Skyscraper from the conventional typology characterized by a rigid, impenetrable multiplication of floor plates to one of lightness and openness, sensible to its climate and urban environment.

This specific prototype is set in Tokyo for a fashion boutique collective in the busy fashion district of Omotesando. Tokyo is a city of extremes; extreme climate, extreme density, extreme earthquakes and extreme flows. Today the city bombards individuals with buzzing electronic media, flying layers of infrastructure and a never-ending sea of concrete structures. The project looks to counter these extremes with softness and flexibility, where the open volumes inside act as a repose for the independent fashion boutiques. Given that each nest is physically separated and different, each store has an individual autonomy, privacy and unique qualities, while still acting as a community.

The Nested Skyscraper explores the use of advanced materials and robotic construction to re-imagine a future of weightlessness, material intelligence and climatic symbiosis.




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