“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.
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.
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.
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.