There is a looming, grave problem emerging from the shadows, unnoticed, in many parts of the world.
It’s no surprise that our big cities are running out of space, soon if not in the next decade.
When will we acknowledge this?
What will we do when we run out of land?
Where will we go?
Who will take responsibility?!
There will be no space for us to live.
But it does not end with us.
Hong Kong has thousands of families that store ashes in sacks in funeral homes, and while they wait years for space in either public or private cemeteries. At the peak of Covid-19 New York, the City of Skyscrapers struggled to find a place to bury its dead as bodies piled up outside the funeral homes. Meanwhile, a study in central London shows how during the successive waves of the Black Death, the usual burial procedures were overwhelmed and bodies were thrown into pits in huge masses without any marker or memorial.
For many centuries we have followed certain rituals when it comes to paying respect to the deceased. The existing funeral practices like cremation involves an abundant use of natural resources. These practices pollute the environment, while the tiled graveyards are barren lands that have reached their stagnant stage with no future expansion possible to cater to the increasing death toll. The growing sprawl of the urban fabric will soon overwhelm the available land, and the evolution in the architectural vocabulary emphasizes that skyscrapers are crucial.
Our skyscraper can be planted anywhere in the world, but we chose Hong Kong as an illustrative example specifically because there they have an entire hill dedicated to burial, posing as an ideal example of stagnant land usage with wasted potential.
Hong Kong is becoming a city where dying is an increasingly expensive affair where private cemeteries in the city currently list permanent plots for as much as 280,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$ 36,000). It is also one of the most populated cities in the world and lacks natural resources. Eighty percent of its food is imported from China and only 8% is produced on local farmland resulting in low self-sufficiency.
The Dead need a Place to Live!
So, we create a space that aims to complete the cycle of life. A resting place that contributes towards the organic growth of the land while still being a part of the living realm. It is a sanctuary for the memories of those who left for their heavenly abode and those they loved.
The Idea and its Conceptualization
Trees demonstrate the idea of optimised junctured shapes that avoid stress concentrations and can adapt over time where the result approaches an optimal efficiency. This is achieved at the microscopic plane with the help of the three math patterns: Voronoi, fractal and spiral.
A skyscraper can be viewed as an urban tree; a seed is planted in the form of an idea, then it grows and adapts and eventually becomes an important contributor to its ecosystem. So using Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno Technological convergence we aim to create an integrated network of self-reproducing aggregate cells that will grow, propagate and manifest into a system that produces energy and nutrients for the land it stands on.
The result is a self-organizing and evolutionary structure that uses nanotechnology and a Computer Aided Optimisation program to integrate data from the micro-scale of the material structure with other factors to design an environmentally responsive structure that offers heterogeneous interior spaces via the morphogenic branching of the beams and the central load distribution to the floor plates by exploiting the property of the Voronoi to achieve optimal efficiency through rearrangement.
The floor plates, composed of a dense fractal network of programmable protocells, spiral up around the central core. The entire system is supported by hollow tube-like columns that not only help achieve a lightweight structure but also decrease the unnecessary dead load making its construction economical.
We have incorporated Genome Architecture (Genetic Engineering) to preserve all the biological information from the DNA of the deceased and project their memories on a holographic system. The main aim is to preserve the essence of a person, and their memories, for real death, is not being dead, it is being forgotten.
Aided by nanotechnology, drones will be used for the delivery of food to various places while helicopters will make the transportation of heavy machinery easier.
The entire system is a symbiotic, feedback rich closed loop powered by an interdependent ecocycle
Shivam Singh ( Group Head )