Mankind has always craved for reaching higher and higher and architecture aspired to break another barriers, seek new meanings and gain more prestige. Today seems to be just another episode of this struggle between gravitation and human thought. But have you ever pondered over how high eventually a man can venture? What height can have the highest building of the future? The theory seems simple. It would be exactly 35 786 km – the geostationary orbit altitude, which constitutes the line where furthest element attached to the ground has its sense of existing.
This vision is fairly beyond our capabilities. I refer to it merely to evoke an image that departs from traditional engineering paradigm. I would like to elaborate on concept I call the inverted engineering and which consists in an assumption that can be sustained, ie. prevented from flying away rather than erected in typical way. The principle is very simple: atmosphere has its own dynamical density and insertion of lighter objects can compensate appearance of denser ones. Buildings would be no longer monolithic solids but changeable structures which take advantage of complex atmosphere characteristic to achieve desirable load capacity. Possibilities are vast, including functional spaces, communication, energy and climatic issues. Furthermore, all of these is already attainable with contemporary technology.
PHASE I: SUBJECT ANALYSIS - RESEARCH
Research part of my thesis tends to focus on comparison of contemporary technological solutions from the border between a cutting-edge tensile fabric architecture and blimps design. I created the juxtapositions of potential envelopes materials, gases and typologies as well as topologies of buoyant elements. Computational Fluid Dynamics studies were performed in additional to digital static models of manifold spatial arrangaments. This preliminary phase of the project concluded with finding optimal design of structural elements, concerning physical, functional, economic and safety issues. The selection of Tromso for the project site sprang from these deductions as well, since it appeared to be the place of great convenience in accordance to buoyancy geography research.
PHASE II: SITE ANALYSIS
From the whole to the detail. The site was analysed in the context of Arctic and Barentz Region, the country, the city, urban tissue and the closest vicinity. Demographic and historical studies were also performed as well as the complex process of anticipating future development directions. This phase was finished by the attempt of outlining an identity of the society and formulating some immediate design answers.
PHASE III: DESIGN
The last phase of the thesis tends on summing up conclusions of the previous studies and creating the multi-aspect design of new public spaces and the building. It is shaped so as to constitute the proper development on the ground level, helping emphasize assets of the vicinity and revitalizing the waterfront as well as influencing new users’ circulation. Upon this foundation was buoyant part built. It’s living sub-structure was allotted for hotel private and public spaces which are functionally inseparably bounded with the monolithic floors. Furthermore, energy and climatic elements were designed so as to present the real potential of the stratosphere-high structure in terms of energy production and achievement of unparalleled scientific possibilities. All the development was described through the innovative democratic business models.