Is it possible to construct skyscrapers inside trees?

Is it even possible to save dying trees by constructing skyscrapers inside them? That is what a design team from South Korea conceptualised, proposing the construction of towers within the hollowed out trunks of the sequoiadendron giganteum – also known as the giant redwood, Sierra redwood, Wellingtonia, or very simply, Big Tree – found in the Pacific Northwest. Such a feat, once realised, will be the ultimate integration of nature with architecture, as well as bring the typology of a tree house to completely new heights never before explored.

The project, titled “Tribute: The Monument of Giant” won an honourable mention for its resourcefulness in the 2017 eVolo skyscraper competition, where designers are invited to come up with futuristic towers and skyscrapers.

The giant redwoods are a variety of coniferous trees known as redwoods, native to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Northern California, and hold the distinction of being some of the oldest living organisms found on Earth. With an average height of 50 to 85 meters and diameters spanning 6 to 8 meters, these massive trees risk falling brutally to the ground when their heartwood core begins to rot – due to their rather shallow root systems.

The conceptual design has a new skeletal framework inserted into the tree, filling up the empty space in the dying tree’s trunk, and effectively becoming an artificial organ inside the tree. The architecture would become the tree’s lifeblood, pumping activity throughout the massive structure.

Additionally, a cage reminiscent of lattice-work would serve as an outer shell within the thick bark. The sprawling interior can then be used for various purposes, such as exhibition spaces and observation decks, among others. In mimicking the tree’s natural method of water collection, the water that will be used within the entire structure will be drawn up from the ground.

Originally designed to bring the plight of trees and the rampant damage deforestation causes – as well as its role behind the increasing amount of natural disasters – into the spotlight, the team of designers were looking at how nature and humanity could, and should, support each other in living ecologically and environmentally friendly lives.

Though the project is not a feasible design solution due to the challenges climate change and deforestation pose today, it not only paints a vastly different picture in comparison to the urban jungles we have created, even those that have integrated verdant, green towers to improve the quality of air, as well as promote healthy living, it also puts forward the increasing urgency of safeguarding nature for a healthier tomorrow.


All images are credited to Dezeen

Sources: Architzer, Dezeen