x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Imagineering in towering proportions

The Life: An architect has an ambitious solution to London's housing problem: build a 1,500-metre tower capable of housing 100,000 people.

A rendering of the 1,500-metre high tower proposed by Teatum+Teatum. Courtesy Teatum+Teatum
A rendering of the 1,500-metre high tower proposed by Teatum+Teatum. Courtesy Teatum+Teatum

A UK architect is proposing a radical solution to London's looming problem of crowding.

Teatum+Teatum has developed a plan for a 1,500-metre-tall tower that would house 100,000 people. The round giant would be a self-contained community with parks, schools and restaurants, and loom over the city, where the tallest building, the Shard, currently under construction, is 310 metres tall.

"It is conceived not as a building so much as a vertical extrusion of the city," the architects explained on the website Populararchitecture.com.

For the record, the chances of this tower being built are akin to the odds of horses growing wings.

But it is an interesting exercise in future urban planning, an attempt to tackle some of the challenges presented by population growth.

By building upwards instead of outwards, the design maximises the use of land, a scarce commodity in the city. High density also increases the efficiencies of mass transport, energy and recycling systems.

The exterior design is reminiscent of the 0-14 - the "Swiss Cheese Building" - in Dubai's Business Bay. The white outer wall would handle the weight of the building, freeing interior space, while round holes would let in natural light to illuminate "communal spaces" including gardens and parks.

The core of the tower would feature five massive vertical tubes for a transport system "comparable to a London underground train", capable of carrying large numbers of people. Smaller lifts would then take passengers to their individual floors.

The building would be divided into various communities, each with its own public spaces, topped by three "super-districts" each capable of housing 33,000 people.

Taking the concept out of the realm of architecture and into the world of social engineering, each district would elect its own representatives for local government, the designers propose. The entire tower would be represented by an MP in parliament, reflecting its status as a standalone population centre.

"The tower would allow London to expand and develop without putting strain on its historic fabric, by condensing all new development within a small footprint," the architects say.

kbrass@thenational.ae