This design was just an honorable mention in a competition, but the idea is incredible.
Every year, there are countless design competitions being held around the world for the best, brightest, and most innovative to submit their work and, hopefully, captivate their audience with groundbreaking work. This year, a team of South Korean designers participated in the eVolo Skyscraper Competition and were named as an honorable mention amidst 444 design entries that combined skyscrapers and sustainability; their design was called Tribute: The Monument of Giant.
The designers, Ko Jinhyeuk, Cheong Changwon, Cho Kyuhung and Choi Sunwoong, designed a tower that is meant to be placed inside of a giant sequoia tree once the heartwood has rotted away. The heartwood is described as the “structural backbone of the tree,” so when it starts to rot away for any number of reasons, the tree eventually falls from its own weight because the root system is so shallow in comparison to its gigantic size. The towers would uphold the redwoods while simultaneously informing visitors of the plight of giant sequoias—and the entire world.
“This project attempts to show a new architectural approach to human coexistence with nature, in harmony with the nature’s temporality,” the team said. “The architecture quietly takes place in the empty void of trunks, without hindering the breathtaking landscape formed by the giants. It then becomes active as an artificial organ to replace the trunks rotten away.”
The tower would essentially be a structural core running up through the trunk with a lattice-like cage forming an outer casting that’s up against the inside of the bark. Stairs leading to different platforms would allow for spaces that would house educational rooms, laboratories, exhibitions, and observation decks. Water would be drawn up from the ground to mimic the tree’s natural collection method.
Giant sequoias, which are a type of redwood tree native to the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, have an average height of 165 to 280 feet and a diameter of 20 to 26 feet. They are among the oldest living organisms on Earth, with some thought to be at least 3,000 years old.
The team’s biggest motivator in creating this design is deforestation, which they call “one of the most deadly sins to nature” because of the effects on redwoods and trees everywhere. Climate change has also led to a huge increase in natural disasters, which impacts all aspects of nature and living beings as well. With the surface of the Earth warming, there has been an increase in the breeding rates of insects that inhabit and kill trees, which has so far affected spruce and pine trees in western North America and is likely soon going to impact redwoods as well.
“Now is the time that we need to change, to stop exploiting the nature for selfishness and to start learning how to supplement each other on living,” the designers said. “It may be a valuable experience for those to feel the synergy of the beautiful landscape of the giant sequoia forest fused with the amenity space, which is quite different from the grey building forest of cities.”