What every city needs: a wilderness-filled skyscraper

A proposal for a downtown tower that has oceans, jungles, caves and other natural settings arrayed on different levels has won a prestigious architectural competition.

eVolo Magazine has named the Essence Tower, dreamed up by a Polish architectural practice, the winner of its 2015 Skyscraper Competition.

The "urban mega-structure" would contain 11 different natural habitats on its levels, all suffused by natural light, to give city-dwellers "a place to briefly escape urban life and stimulate diverse and complex experiences", say designers Ewa Odyjas, Agnieszka Morga, Konrad Basan, and Jakub Pudo, who are collectively known as BOMP.

Levels would have extensive open plans with water floors, fish tanks and jungle areas, among other natural scenarios.

"Overlapping landscapes like an ocean, a jungle, a cave or a waterfall will stimulate a diverse and complex range of visual, acoustic, thermal, olfactory, and kinesthetic experiences," the designers say.

The Skyscraper Competition started in 2006 to recognise "outstanding ideas for vertical living".

This year the jury selected three winners and 15 honourable mentions from 480 submissions from around the world.

Vertical squatting

Second prize went to the "Shanty-Scraper", a proposal for a sturdy, vertical shanty town made from construction debris such as pipes and reinforcement bars.

Its creators, Indian designers Suraksha Bhatla and Sharan Sundar, say the approach would improve the quality of life for the many slum-dwellers of Chennai, India.

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