Facebook PixelA modified skyscraper to create awareness on endangered plant species and generate funds to preserve natural habitats
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A modified skyscraper to create awareness on endangered plant species and generate funds to preserve natural habitats

Image credit: Photo by Riccardo from Pexels

Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Mar 09, 2022
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Everyone knows about red pandas and silverback gorillas and most other endangered animal species. Animals are cute and have personalities so it's easier to rally causes for them. The idea is to create a project so ambitious the world has to take notice, A skyscraper with a biome of purely endangered plant species. Proceeds from the building could then be used to safeguard the natural habitats of the plants.
A boost to conservation efforts
How it works
Challenges to growing trees on really tall skyscrapers.
  1. Wind- There are really strong winds and by virtue of being fast they become cold too. constant winds also mean the plants lose water through stomata at an even faster rate. The mechanical damage from constant abrasion from the wind is also not good for them.
  2. Nutrition- Plants take in nutrients from the soil. some with really complex root systems. The question major question raised here is how exactly do you provide the necessary nutrition to a plant 42 stories up the air.
  3. Plant-specific issues. Every plant is uniquely adapted to live in specific ecologic conditions. It would be difficult to recreate all of those conditions artificially
Despite all these issues trees on buildings aren't a new concept, they are as old as the hanging gardens of ancient Babylon. There have been some breakthroughs in the field in more recent times like:
WOHA's Oasia Hotel (image courtesy of Patrick Bingham-Hall / WOHA).
That and Singapore’s Changi Airport are amazing examples of how far architecture can go to incorporate nature in its design. It is expensive but also equally iconic.
How I think the problems can be overcome at higher altitudes
  1. Wind- What needs to be done is break up the wind flow, confuse it and make it lose power. A perfect example of this is the Aqua tower. The ripple design was made to break up wind to allow people to stay on the balconies longer to take in the sights of the city. Pushing that model to extremes could allow for plant growth, as a side bonus the trees are also windbreakers themselves slowing down the wind more.
  2. Nutrition- Organic waste matter. Cities throw away a lot of food, making an underground compost heap could generate the necessary plant food. Rainwater could be collected and passed through said compost heap. A system of capillaries and pumps could then distribute it to the plants essentially converting the building into a tree.
  3. Plant specific issues- there are 3,654 endangered plant species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2016. With that many plant species , It occurred to me that most are endangered due to habitat loss. By merging plants of the same habitat on the same floors, It makes it less expensive just by economies of scale.
Making money
  1. The building could have conference rooms and hotels which guests can rent bringing in money.
  2. School trips and other educational excursions.
  3. Nurseries for seedlings which can be sold to people who visit and end up liking the plants available there.
  4. Organic tourism, with a building of this design it is inevitable that people will want to visit.
A portion of these could then go to campaigns to preserve rainforests and other habitats.
The building design is an idea and input and corrections are welcome


Creative contributions

Dealing with complex root systems

Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Mar 09, 2022
Aeroponic culture can be used to shape how woody roots grow, combining this with gaps for root pruning prevents the building structure from taking damage from root growth.
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