London has 17 skyscrapers, a tiny number compared to the 316 in Hong Kong or New York’s 253 high-rise buildings, but wherever they are in the world, these sky-high buildings always attract criticism: they’re called monstrosities, monuments to capitalism, or the recluse of the wealthy.
But what if they could solve the world’s problems?
These seven skyscrapers promise much more than a bird’s eye view:
1. Solving world hunger
Specifically aimed to help farming flourish in Africa, the Mashambas Skyscraper in east Africa will provide a trading area for local agriculture workers in addition to education and training on techniques, fertilisers and tools.
Two Polish architects proposed the building after discovering that 40 per cent of people in sub-Saharan Africa still live in absolute poverty, half of whom are small farmers.
Winner of architecture magazine eVolo’s annual skyscraper competition, the architects said: “Africa’s fertile farmland could not only feed its own growing population, it could also feed the whole world.”
2. Solving the housing crisis
The Pod Skyscraper is a vending machine for homes which aims to solve the housing crisis.
Inspired by Japan’s vending machine culture, it creates homes on demand in order to reduce the 109 tonnes of waste that the UK construction industry produces each year.
The mile-high building starts off as a giant steel skeleton with a 3D printer at the top, producing customisable rooms for customers who can then move in as soon as the designed apartment has been printed.
3. Solving deforestation
A skyscraper built inside the biggest tree in the world. It sounds like Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree, but it’s an idea to help protect the 3,000-year-old redwood trees in the US.
The Tribute: The Monument of Giant was designed by a team of South Korean architects who hope this unusual skyscraper will prevent any rotted ancient redwood tree from falling down.
The tree would house learning spaces, exhibitions and observation decks to help people understand how humans and nature can co-exist.
4. Solving the energy crisis
A skyscraper powered by solar energy would be as much use as a chocolate teapot in grey and rainy London.
But Melbourne’s average 2,200 hours of sun each year makes it the ideal place to build the Sol Invictus Tower.
The 60-floor building would house 3,300 square metres of solar panels which are expected to provide over half of the skyscraper’s power.
5. Solving planning permission
The most insane of these skyscrapers has to be the Analemma Tower: a building designed to be so tall it would have to be suspended from an asteroid above Earth.
New-York architect firm Clouds AO proposed the concept building as a way of solving the issue of planning permission.
But the downside is you’d be stuck floating thousands of metres above Earth until you reach a mountain high enough for you to leave the tower.
6. Solving pollution
It wasn’t enough for the materials science company Arconic to suggest a three-mile tall skyscraper.
It also decided it would be covered in a special self-cleaning, anti-pollution coating.
Arconic’s vision for skyscrapers in the year 2062 is that they will all be coated in EcoClean - a substance which purifies the air around the building and enables it to self-clean.
7. Solving pollution (again)
China’s pollution levels literally went off the charts yesterday as it surpassed the maximum metric on the Air Quality Index.
That’s why the skyscrapers of architect Stefano Boeri’s Forest City are needed now more than ever.
The high-rise buildings covered with plants, trees, and shrubs aim to offset some of the pollution in Nanjing by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing more oxygen.
Though Boeri himself admits it would take more than these skyscrapers to solve the issue, it’s a good start.