Vertical expansion is not a new idea, but as the structures scale up, a major concern arises. How can it maintain a relationship to the horizontal plane? Urban and architectural think tanks are investigating and developing new design strategies for our future vertical city models.
Basically, cities are horizontally organized systems, comprised of blocks, streets, buildings, open spaces. This spatial arrangement plays an integral role in shaping the image of the city by setting the stage for a vibrant public life. The high-rise buildings we have are often singularly programmed entities that disassociates from the surrounding urban context. This do not add much value to the urban community. Translating the dynamic urban qualities of a horizontal city into a vertical tower and harmoniously integrating it into the existing urban fabric is a great challenge.
Seamless accessibility/mobility is an important aspect under consideration. The common ways of mobility in a city are walking, cycling & motor or EVs.
When it comes to high-rise buildings, the elevator provides an efficient mode of vertical circulation. Since elevators are destination oriented and have unidirectional movement; it simultaneously limits the user experience. But a city needs to be experienced in different ways and velocities. Alongside, transition of horizontal locomotion and vertical transportation within the tower and across multiple buildings is required. An integrated mobility grid has to be stitched into the vertical city fabric. Pragmatically, the floor area at every level expands and the city should be designed around these mobility routes.
There can be Inter Transit Hubs (ITH) in each tower and the path between each corresponding ITHs can have cycle tracks, walkways & electric walkways providing hassle free mobility with less power consumption. The accessibility within the tower and between the towers needs to focus on various aspects: technical feasibility of mobility systems, dynamics & stability of tower structures considering the motion within it, minimise structural vibrations, overall energy consumption, weight reduction & eco-friendly transportation. As these towers are cities within them, unprecedented security & safety measures need to be in place as well as incorporating the same from the early phase of design.
Another important aspect is the environmental/climatic control of high rise towers. High-rise towers are often hermetically sealed and limit exterior conditions such as daylight and natural ventilation. Setting up natural conditions to create micro-climates that can translate the exterior qualities of the city into the context of the high-rise tower. This eliminates the boundary between the two environments. Architectural innovations inspired from nature can be the promising solution. Bio Inspired Eco Adaptive Architecture (BIEAA), a series of nature inspired technological adaptations envisioned for advanced high rise city designs can facilitate uninterrupted flow of natural environment in & around the city. Designed around the Regenerative Architectural approach, they can also power themselves. The three strategies of BIEAA are Biomimetic, Biomorphic & Bionic system based design. The underlying basic thought is; there is a flow of energy between every living being - the Biological perspective of Energy Law. Each level can be designed to have a thick & lush green micro fauna core. As the tower structure is open to outside environment, no artificial ventilation is required for the core to breathe. Since the boundary between inside & outside is dissolved, the master structural skeleton needs be designed to withstand various forces of nature like earthquakes, high velocity winds, as well as security threats & other safety considerations.