proposal for megatowers for London...
- Just came across an ambitious proposal reported on in the Gizmag blog
( http://www.gizmag.co.uk ) and picked up from Populararchitecture
( http://popularchitecture.com/supertower/ ), for 1.5 km tall towers
to bring huge numbers of residents into London. The assumption is
clearly that no surface space could be converted from channeling or
storing private automobiles to residential purposes (or that
"existing housing stock that is at the end of its lifecycle" could be
redeveloped at somewhat higher density...
Pictures available via the Gizmag page.
Could 1.5km tall Vertical Villages be the solution to London's
The proposed London Supertower could hold up to 100,000 people.
March 18, 2008 One of the key challenges in urban architecture over
the next 50 years will be figuring out how to squeeze vast numbers of
additional people into urban areas that are already extremely
crowded. London, for example, will somehow have to deal with a
projected 100,000 extra inhabitants every year until 2016. The
current plan of building new "commuter towns" on the city's outskirts
causes a raft of problems - but architecture think tanks are working
on ambitious solutions that go vertical instead of horizontal in
search of space. Could 100,000 people be comfortably housed in a
single structure? Could one building realistically be a whole new
town, with schools, parks, public squares and hospitals?
In terms of population density, London is one of the least crowded
major cities in the world - five times fewer people per square
kilometre than Paris, for example, and 8 times fewer than Cairo. But
the fact remains that the city's population is growing at a rapid
rate, and horizontal expansion into the surrounding areas is eating
up increasingly important agricultural land, as well as intensifying
all the transport issues that come with urban sprawl.
Popular Architecture would propose a radically different solution -
one that would generate homes for a year's worth of new arrivals,
while maintaining London's old-world streetscape at ground level and
eliminating greenbelt expansion.
The proposal is to go upwards, with vertical towers of unprecedented
size, each representing an entire new town by the time it's
completed. Each tower would be 1500 metres high, its top floors
nudging the cloud layer. Each would house 100,000 people in total,
but beyond mere accommodation, each tower would function as an entire
town unit, with its own schools, hospitals, parks and gardens, sports
facilities, business areas, political representatives and community
The vertical village towers are conceived as hollow tubes, with large
holes to allow light and air through the entire construction.
Occasional floor discs spread throughout the height of the building
will give inhabitants large central areas in the middle of the tube
to use as gathering spaces. Such a density of population could help
lower the individual energy requirements of each inhabitant, reducing
the ecological impact of the population as a whole.
While the building itself is unlikely ever to be seriously considered
for construction - imagine the number of elevators it would need, and
the practicalities of moving produce, furniture and other equipment
between the floors, let alone the safety implications of open areas
at such heights and with such wind exposure - the concept can serve
as a conversation-starter for urban planners looking to face the
challenges of the current and coming centuries.
Montreal QC Canada
I saw an interesting alternative vision of the use of towers in London
at an exhibition called 'Greenhouse Britain' recently, an exhibition by
two American artists Newton Harrison and Helen Mayer Harrison. They are
thinking differently about housing solutions to climate change and
propose towers shaped as an arc on the ground rising to a point,
housing 15,000 people each and also having community gardens and food
growing space on suspended floors. The biggest difference is that they
propose that the entire ground space around and between the towers
should be forested! They do not go into any details of how the
transport might work but there are no roads visible at ground level in
The exhibition can be viewed online at
--- In email@example.com, Christopher Miller
> Just came across an ambitious proposal reported on in the Gizmag
> ( http://www.gizmag.co.uk ) and picked up from Populararchitecturebe
> ( http://popularchitecture.com/supertower/ ), for 1.5 km tall towers
> to bring huge numbers of residents into London. The assumption is
> clearly that no surface space could be converted from channeling or
> storing private automobiles to residential purposes (or that
> "existing housing stock that is at the end of its lifecycle" could
> redeveloped at somewhat higher density...
> Pictures available via the Gizmag page.