The Asian Cairns – Shenzhen, China
With cities reaching ever further into the clouds to accommodate an exponentially increasing population, how do we keep in touch with nature, rather than just resign ourselves to sad concrete boxes in the sky?
Vincent Callebaut’s solution isn’t more suburbia – ‘The more a city is dense,’ he says, ‘the less it consumes energy’ – but high-rises that encompass the natural world. This design for a series of six ‘farmscrapers’ in China – a response to China’s rapid urbanisation, which saw the population of cities overtake that of the rural population for the ﬁrst time in 2011, and commissioned by the Chinese city of Shenzhen – stacks giant glazed pebbles one on top of the other, supported by a steel spine, and sees accommodation and ofﬁce spaces combined with green spaces and agriculture.
Each pebble would support suspended orchards and vegetable gardens, with all waste fed back into the towers’ internal ecosystems. Each building, meanwhile, would also be self-sufﬁcient, acting as its own micro power station, with solar panels and wind turbines on the outer surfaces.
The Asian Cairns aims to address a big worry for cities of the future – as populations expand and density increases, there’s an even greater strain on resources, with ever-more trucks forced to bring in food from all over the world.