Architecture, Buildings, Buildings inside trees, Conceptual scheme, Environmental architecture, EVolo skyscraper competition, Giant sequoias trees, Skyscrapers, Sustainable architecture, Tree towers

South Korean architects propose building skyscrapers inside tree trunks

Designers from South Korea have proposed inserting towers within the trunks of giant sequoias trees in an attempt to save the worsening of the environment.

The conceptual scheme is called Tribute: The Monument of Giant which imagines buildings to be constructed inside the hallowed-out trunks of sequoias, a redwood tree species native to the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, and which are also currently endangered.

The concept awarded designers Ko Jinhyeuk, Cheong Changwon, Cho Kyuhung and Choi Sunwoong an honourable mention at the 2017 eVolo skyscraper competition.

The proposal calls for buildings to be inserted within the heart of the tree that has rotted away, and which in turn will prevent the tree from falling.

Giant sequoias are believed to be over 3,000 years old and are amongst the oldest living organisms on earth, as well as being the largest single trees in the world, averaging in height between 50 to 85 metres and diameters between six to eight metres.

“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.”

Building towers inside these fragile trees- which once rotten, fall dead – will enable the trees to continue standing.

“When the heartwood – the structural backbone of the tree – starts to rot, the trees fall dead from their own weight,” the team said.

“Only occupied in the void is the minimal gesture necessary for the human stay,” the team said. “It complements the structural reinforcement and features, not only for the humans but for the giants to stand.”

A structural core has been proposed to run up the centre of the tree with an additional lattice-like cage forming an outer casting behind the bark of the tree. Also featured inside is a series of platforms that would act as spaces for education, as well as laboratories, exhibitions and observation decks.

The team applied the tree’s natural water collection method as the concept for water access across the ‘treescrapers’.

The purpose of the scheme is to aid the rise in natural disasters inflicted by human activities that have contributed to the worsening of the natural environment.

“The desire of human has been endless and it is incapable of coexisting with the nature,” the team said. “Crying in agony, the nature seems to fight back with natural disasters all around the world, and it is increasingly visible that the earth is ever more sickened.”

The Korean architects hope their proposal will help raise awareness and inspire people to extend greater appreciation and respect for nature that is being destroyed.

“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,” the team said.

The eVolo skyscraper competition invites architects to submit futuristic tower proposals. This year’s winner is a skyscraper aimed at introducing a “green revolution” to people living in sub-Saharan Africa, designed by Polish urbanists Pawel Lipinski and Mateusz Frankowski.

Other notable eVolo submissions include a skyscraper that allows to dock and recharge as well as a proposal to construct 1000 foot walls to surround Central Park for more natural space, which was awarded first place in 2016.