Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mushroom City

Amazing, and kind of ugly, Tropicool@KL envisions a city of self-reliant, symbiotic buildings. The shape is designed to resemble the rainforest - where large trees form a canopy shielding the ground below, while still allowing sun's light to reach the floor.

It is an interesting response to the question of urban development, how we respond to increasing growth given a limited amount of land. The top is lined with solar panels and also serves as a solar canopy, cooling the city and branches below. the branches cradle urban dwellings, and the trunk of the system funnels energy derived from the solar panels. Also, the structures contain centralized sewer and sanitation within each mushroom, which is recycled and converted to bio-mass energy, powering the building. Rainwater is also collected to use for a portion of the water needs within each building. Each building is designed to be fully self- sufficient. In addition, these structures and designed to have large communal areas between the dwellings to foster and strengthen community. The designer envisions the ground to be largely a green urban park, with most transportation taking place in subways.

Wow. It looks pretty bizarre, and in my addled and jaded mind the "mushroom in the sky" connotation brings strong images of nuclear blasts. Though, that may be appropriate, maybe this is the post-nuclear city.

Furthermore, although this city is supposed to be a haven of community and ecological spirit, I can't help but wonder what will happen to the city below. Sure, there's going to be all kinds of parks and gardens on the ground level, and in theory it sounds fantastic. But it seems like only the rich will be able to afford to live in these things. Won't it create an obvious segregation in the city? Not that cities aren't already segregated of course, I just feel like this is an instance of "looking down from the high horse". Additionally I imagine the lower levels to be dark, rank, humid, just by the very fact of mimicking a rainforest. Except in an actual rainforest the scent is of earth, plants, dampness. In a city, I can only imagine what that aroma might be!!

Or, on the other hand, maybe it could truly work, and people will flow between the upper levels and the ground level, working on community based gardens. I suppose in a lot of ways it's no different than regular skyscrapers of today.

What do you think?

via Inhabitat

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