IAMZ Designs A Concept Lovely As A Tree

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” Poet Joyce Kilmer had it right about trees, and many green builders would agree. If only there were a way to that architects could design a structure that fits as well with nature, bends with the wind, absorbs CO2 as fuel, gives of oxygen as waste and — mostly remarkably — converts sunlight into energy.

While some researchers try to build walls that literally contain chlorophyll, a group of designers from IAMZ are trying to mimic not only the look but the actual function of trees in their latest proposal for a high-rise residential tower in New York City. Dubbed the Chlorophyll Tower, the 10,000-square-foot building is made of dozens of pod-like living units that are attached to a support scaffold, creating a skyscraper the likes of which have never been seen on Manhattan’s skyline.

This proposed reinvention of the New York City skyscraper would mimic the look and function of leaves on a tree. Image via IAMZ.

This proposed reinvention of the New York City skyscraper would mimic the look and function of leaves on a tree. Image via IAMZ.

IAMZ’s concept is based on biomimicry, or the recreation of structures and functions found in the natural world. In this tower, the residential pods are like leaves, each with its own small green roof to absorb water, CO2 and sunlight, supported by branch-like metal columns. Each residential unit is securely fastened to the steel grid, but over time, these modular units can be rearranged and swung into different positions in case the building owners want to make additions other modifications.

Each modular housing unit is equipped with a green roof to absorb CO2 and can be rearranged as needed. Image via IAMZ.

Each modular housing unit is equipped with a green roof to absorb CO2 and can be rearranged as needed. Image via IAMZ.

Interstitial spaces in between the pods and support frames provide natural ventilation for the residences proposed in the design. The jaunty angles of the pods will also draw in daylight front multiple directions, as well as interesting and spectacular views of the surrounding cityscape.

An artist's view looking straight down on the tower reveals the extensive use of green roof design as well as the open spaces for natural venitlation. Image via IAMZ.

An artist’s view looking straight down on the tower reveals the extensive use of green roof design as well as the open spaces for natural venitlation. Image via IAMZ.

Still in its conceptual stages, the design is aimed mainly for residential uses. However, IAMZ has also made room for mixed-use development, incorporating administrative offices, entertainment centers and retail spaces in with the apartment and condos. No details were given yet about when, or if, this “tree” would ever see the light of day.

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.