eVolo - 2017 Skyscraper Competition


Architect: Mostafa W. Alani & Abduljabbar Shihab

After several decades of war, much of the Mesopotamian region has been left decimated. Widespread violence and unrest has left a legacy of cultural, political, and economic burdens. This project, situated in the deserts of Iraq, proposes to address these issues through social change as a product of environmental manipulation. The project invites those with a thirst for knowledge to embark upon a journey of intellectual exploration. This journey will challenge the participants’ prior understanding, and as such, demands a certain willingness to question ones basic assumptions. The journey requires individuals who are willing to be open to the different other; being committed to living the experience and to taking what they have learned from it and using that experience to facilitate social change in their home environments.
This project draws upon Deleuzian philosophy to suggest that reality transcends the observable or actualized universe; instead, it is the processes that underpin this observable universe that define reality. Within this space, virtual designs are qualitatively as real as actualized designed. Therefore, despite the tower’s morphological basis in the palm tree, Thousand Geometry eschews a taxonomy of shapes; rather, it embraces the surrounding environment, evolving much like a living organism to intelligently refine its shape in accordance with the environment. The project conveys themes of hope and change; that while there is always hope for something better, change is required if that hope is to be realized.
From a technical perspective, there are two major components to this project. The holding structure, which relies upon the use of soft-robotic technologies (e.g., soft pneumatic actuators) to change the basic shape and behavior of the structure. These actuators surrounds number of spheres which provide ample space within for a range of activities. How these spheres are distributed within the holding structure, however, is a function of controlled magnetic levitation. Each sphere employs gimbaling around its axis point to balance its interior space and are interconnected via flexible tubes that adapt the dislocation of each sphere as necessary. For instance, strengthening the magnetic field has the benefit of causing the spheres to disperse. Similarly, a weaker magnetic field would have the opposite effect, thus causing the spheres to congregate.