The WyeEcoHab is a proposal for the Olympic village for the Chicago summer Olympics 2016. The design uses emerging technologies and examines their possible influence on the future architectural developments of the skyscraper. The prominent site on Northerly Island became a dominant factor throughout the design process. The shoreline of Lake Michigan has been the green recreation area for the city for decades. The WyeEcoHab takes this ecosystem and extends it vertically. The site becomes part of the building and the building becomes part of the site. Unlike most recent skyscrapers, the WyeEcoHab develops a strong relationship to its surrounding environment.
The WyeEcoHab has a continuous ecosystem running through the center of the building. Where you would find a service core in conventional highrises, here you find a vertical garden space. A ramp system allows inhabitants as well as plants to walk and grow from the base of the tower all the way to the top. On every third floor the garden reaches out into one of the three wings of the plan. The double skin facade in these areas is used as an intermediate space and can be opened and closed.
The structure of the WyeEcoHab had to provide the possibility of keeping the centre of the plan free of any structure. A continuous bracing system around the perimeter of the building as well as braced main columns at the end of each wing absorbs the wind loads. At the voids, created by the social functions, the dead loads will be transferred into the main columns.
Maglev elevators replace common elevator technology in the WyeEcoHab. A paternoster like system reduces the shaft area dramatically and clears the space for the ecosystem. Once a cabin changes the direction it can switch shafts horizontally due to the maglev technology. The elevators are located at the end of each wing. The passengers can enjoy the view over the lake, city and the south shore while travelling up or down the building.
The skin of the WyeEcoHab integrates emerging technologies into the design. Every seven meters vertical algae systems are integrated into the facade to generate H². Along with bio refineries for garbage disposal, wind turbines in the upper part the building and lake water used for cooling the algae contribute to the sustainability of the technical systems of the building.