CITY OF THE FUTURE: A Design and Engineering Challenge
Inspired by Cities of the Underworld
In January, The History Channel, with sponsors Infiniti and IBM, challenged architects and designers nationwide to compete in City of the Future competitions in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Atlanta.
The competition was fierce with 8 teams in each city vying for the $10,000 Grand Prize and City of the Future title. Teams only had one week to envision what their city might look like in 100 years, a mere 3 hours to construct their models, and just 15 minutes to present their vision to a panel of five esteemed judges. Now it’s your turn! We want you to decide who will walk away with an additional $5,000 and the title of National Champion by casting a vote for your favorite City of the Future.
By casting your vote, you will automatically be entered to win a Home Theater set up, complete with 50-inch flat screen TV and Sony Blu-Ray player.
Voting ends Monday, April 28th and don’t forget to tune-in to the season finale of Cities of the Underworld on May 5th at 9PM EST to find out who wins!
Here is the regional winner for Washington, D.C.:
Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, LLP
Capital FORTway: Protecting Our History, Sustaining Our Future
February 2108: The Majority Exocratic party today announced that their goal for making Washington, D.C. the nation’s first entirely self-sufficient and environmentally sustainable city has been realized. The collaborative practice of Beyer Blinder Belle helped create the Capital FORTway (Future Oriented Renewable Technologies) Commission in 2008. Modeled on the city’s historic fort network, the new totemic FORT towers have reengaged the city’s original defense structures, acting as hubs for transportation and the generation and distribution of resources, now feeding the city’s entire population. The FORTway is just one component of a larger planning initiative that includes adding downtown residential density, converting L’Enfant’s diagonal avenues to green space, sustaining cultural and historic resources, restoring natural tidal flows, and adding a new rapid transit network. In addition, a transformed and expanded National Mall connects the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers.
Expert’s Corner: Commentary by Richard Meier
“Recalling the walls, towers, and other fortifications that once protected our cities, this master plan for Washington DC imagines a series of 29 towers that would encircle the city’s borders. Inside the ring, the historic L’Enfant plan, which forms the core of the city, would be kept to a modest height. Outside the towers, the extreme portions of the city and the suburbs would increase in scale, further setting off the city’s historic center. The towers would be multi-functional structures, emphasizing public spaces for the community to gather and incorporating new public transit centers, and implementing far-reaching sustainable strategy with ecological amenities like rainwater harvesting and hydroponic farming. Lasers, anchored to each tower, would serve the city’s defenses, when needed. A vast network of infrastructure would tie these towers together and ensure they worked as a coherent system.”
And here is the winner for Atlanta:
EDAW/Praxis 3/BNIM/Metcalf and Eddy
THE CITY IN THE FOREST
Even during the second driest year on record, rainfall in Atlanta produced 75 billion gallons of water. The city maintains over 1,900 miles of pipes to collect, combine with wastewater, treat and pipe storm water downstream. Climate change, growth, and sprawling impervious surfaces continue to degrade this outmoded, costly system.
2008 marks “The Dawn of the Restorative Era” by overturning the infrastructure logic of the past. In the City of the Future, stormwater resurfaces to flow naturally across the land. Freed from use, existing underground systems act as aquifiers, preserving scarce water for long term use.
This simple shift underground, in turn, transforms the landscape above. The rigidity of the urban grid yields to swaths of green and waterscapes. Settlements cluster along ridges and water catchments, participating in a sustainable, living system. Corridors of open spaces spread to link communities in an organic form and fully reclaim The City in the Forest.
Expert’s Corner: Commentary by Richard Meier
“The tall towers of Atlanta rise from a canopy of trees. The plan for metro Atlanta builds on that condition and foresees a region repopulated with forests 100 years from now. More than simply green space, these forests serve as the environmental lungs of the city. They filter storm water, which is currently channeled underground, allowing it to percolate through the soil and become usable. They purify the air. They also help to keep the manmade portions of the city the buildings and infrastructure concentrated so that their impact on the environment is minimized. This inclusion will stimulate the vitality of these built areas. Over time, the designers believe the city’s street grid will recede, promoting circulation and resulting in an organic evolution.”
And my personal favorite, and the one I voted for, as it is every SciFi lover’s dream city, San Francisco:
Symbiotic and multi-scalar, SF HYDRO-NET is an occupiable infrastructure that organizes critical flows of the city. HYDRO-NET provides an underground arterial traffic network for hydrogen-fueled hover-cars, while simultaneously collecting, storing and distributing water and power tapped from existing aquifer and geothermal sources beneath San Francisco. A new aquaculture zone with ponds of algae and forests of sinuous housing towers reoccupy Baylands inundated by rising sea levels. Hydrogen fuel is produced by the algae, and is stored and distributed within the nanotube wall structure of HYDRO-NET’s robotically-drilled tunnels. At key waterfront and neighborhood locales, HYDRO-NET emerges to form linkages between the terrestrial and subterranean worlds. Here new architectures bloom as opportunistic urban caves and outcroppings, fostering new social spaces and densified urban forms, fed by the resources and connectivity provided by HYDRO-NET. These locally responsive and distributed nodes and tendrils facilitate both the preservation and organic evolution of San Francisco.
Expert’s Corner: Commentary by Richard Meier
“The number of urban dwellers is expected to rise sharply in the future.
Addressing this fact, this vision for the future of San Francisco proposes a new network of infrastructure below the surface of the city that will help the region maximize and distribute its resources. Called ‘Hydronet,’ the system will not only provide tunnels for a new generation of hover-cars, but also collection and distribution systems for water and power. The proposal identifies places where drinkable water might be harvested from both the sky and the earth, where heat might be extracted or dissipated deep in the strata below the city, and where new hydrogen based energy might be generated from algae fields. The city’s signature waterfront is repopulated with a series of eco-towers that animate the skyline and are linked to the network of infrastructure.”
And from Inhabitat, comes more information:
San Francisco is already one of the greenest cities in the US, but check out this wild new concept from IwamotoScott Architects to completely remake the city into an ecotopia by 2108.
The design, which is as visually stunning as it is thought-provoking, recently won the History Channel’s City of the Future competition. It’s a full-scale urban system that combines the most innovative green technologies with San Francisco’s unique microclimate and geologic conditions, to produce a compelling vision for the future. Hydro-Net, as the project is known, will bring the lovely city-by-the-bay (which many Inhabitants call home) squarely into the 22nd Century with algae-harvesting towers, geothermal energy ‘mushrooms’, and fog catchers which distill fresh water from San Francisco’s infamous fog.
Hydro-Net is perhaps the most remarkable, modern and futuristic concept ever envisioned for San Francisco – considering global warming and the hunt for alternative energy sources in the coming century. It is an extensive network of above ground and underground systems that fulfill infrastructural needs for the movement of people, water, hover-cars, and energy throughout the city.
This network would connect water, power collection, and distribution systems across the city, forming one giant super-system that would resemble seaweed and chanterelle mushroom in its form. The aquifer and geothermal sources beneath San Francisco would be utilized as the source of water and power, while ponds and “forests” of algae would produce hydrogen.
The walls of the network would consist of carbon nanotubes walls, which would store and distribute the hydrogen generated by algae. The hydrogen would in turn be used as fuel to run hover-cars in the underground tunnels. The network also includes fog catchers that harvest air moisture, ecotowers, and more. Sound crazy? Designers Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, the partners of San Francisco-based design firm IwamotoScott, don’t think so, and frankly neither do we. The concept recently won the $10,000 grand prize for their entry in the City of the Future competition, organized by the History Channel.
For more photos, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/isar/sets/72157603824013896/
So, which do YOU like….