The idea of a city in the sky has a rather 80’s feel to it, at least in my book. Perhaps it’s a hangover from that space-obsessed decade I grew up in, where every little boy was a Star Wars dork or an epic fail. Being a girl myself, living in space still seemed cool, albeit pretty unlikely.
Fast forward 30 years and while the idea that the Mother Ship will be lording it over us, with mini spaceships whizzing in and out, remain at least a galaxy away, there is a chance that living up high is something that could soon become part of our reality – certainly in London.
Such a vision is central to SURE Architecture’s Endless City Project, an award-winning proposal that suggests London could house its first space-saver skyscraper to stop dense cities from spreading outwards.
SURE Architecture, a Chinese firm with an office in London, drew up the design for the SuperSkyScrapers Awards, a competition seeking an “inspirational typology for a high-quality organic skyscraper concept to be used as a tech city”.
SURE claims that its ambitious blueprint for London’s first ‘vertical city’ could house thousands of people in a 300 metre skyscraper hosting its own complete ecosystem – with business units, shopping centres, entertainment and residential areas.
A glimpse into the future
For an idea of what the ‘city’ would look like, picture residents walking around a building as tall as The Shard and being able to cross interlinked ramps, passing shopping, commercial and residential areas. With massive parks, technological spaces, vibrant streets, plazas and communal spaces available for people to relax in, all in a highly eco-friendly, energy efficient and sustainable building, with the shape reducing artificial light and energy needs. Structural support for the skyscraper would be provided by six steel tubes, containing the plumbing and electrical work for the building.
This very organic vision of the future will, according to SURE, grow and evolve as part of the London skyline. After all, how much longer can the city continue to sprawl outwards? Upwards is where the opportunity lies – and with London’s population set to top 10 million within 15 years, questions need to be addressed as to how everyone will be able to be housed. London’s at crisis point as it is – rents are soaring and land is scarce. Everyone wants to live here and property isn’t being built fast enough. So increasingly, imaginative options will have to be conjured up by the experts.
The skyscraper is currently only at design phase – although the company has earmarked a location near to the City of London. We’ll have to wait and see as to whether it’ll reach construction stage – if it does this will surely be a game-changer for London in terms of how its residents live and work.