For those of us who hate heights and fear flying, the GreenGru Airportscraper concept is the sort of white-knuckle nightmare that takes 10 years off a lifespan. For the rest, all the way down the fear scale from bungee jumpers and mountain climbers to those who ride mega-roller coasters to get their blood going, this 380 meter (1,246 feet) tall runway—by Greek designer Gerasimos Pavlidis—provides a view to die for (though hopefully not in the real world).
Receiving Honorable Mention in eVolo’s 2012 Skyscraper Competition, this skyscraper-tall airplane runway is aimed at providing convenience for those who live in cities where the airport is distant from the metropolitan center, or where traffic congestion makes it almost impossible to be on time for anything, let alone a flight that might require showing up an hour early.
The name, GreenGru, helps explain the skyscraper/runway’s functions. Gru is Italian name for a tower crane, which is what this unique skyscraper looks like. The green portion refers to a photosynthesis-like process inside the shell that separates water into its components, hydrogen and oxygen, the former used to generate energy. The outside of the building is clad with flexible, polymer-based solar cells. The building also incorporates a turbine that spins around the building for even more power.
The tower’s mast is made of carbon-reinforced steel. The building’s surface uses graphite, 10 times stronger than steel yet six times lighter. Over this, a layer of carbon dioxide-absorbing polymer called zeolight takes up excess CO2 during the night, and releases it when the sun shines, making the building’s façade an ideal medium for growing. Lastly, the top of this skyscraper/runway is an inner-city airport which uses fully automated, hybrid hydrogen-electric aircraft as commuter planes. Planes not in use are stored inside the buildings shell and raised to runway level via an elevator.