Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 

Climate Culture Context
2011, University of Nottingham, David Nicholson-Cole & Philip Oldfield

This studio, run annually at the University of Nottingham, explores how tall buildings can relate better to their climate, culture and context.

With recent years having seen an explosion in tall buildings globally, the epicenter of high-rise construction is now centered on the Middle East and Asia. However, despite this boom, technological developments and attention from celebrated international architects many tall buildings fail to respond to their surroundings and are too often designed as gleaming air-conditioned glass boxes, with little consideration of site and environment. The spectacle of such towers rising in desert and tropical cities in particular has led many to believe that the tall building is an unsustainable typology, unworthy of a role in our future cities.

This studio aims to challenge the above scenario, with students tasked to design a tall building on a site in one of two cities – Abu Dhabi or Singapore – and to take inspiration not only from the site’s context and climate, but also to explore if cultural, social and vernacular traditions can be reinterpreted into contemporary high-rise. The studio asks a number of questions of tall buildings – can they accommodate new and innovative functions? Can we create social / communal spaces at height within the city? Is there such a thing as a sustainable skyscraper?


Flood Plain Tower Vertical Fiesta
Ankur Modi and Suruchi Modi
 
This design celebrates the spirit of Singapore by creating a vertical residential community bound together with aspects of festivity. Vertical Fiesta lifts the vibrancy, color and celebration of "Festivals" into the sky, embraces "Vertical Greenery" through fostering social interaction, and provides high density living with long term adaptability.
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Filtered Light Tower   A New Shibam
Najla Gunnur, Soha Hirbod, and Fahimeh Soltani
 
This design for a desert skyscraper drew inspiration from a vernacular precedent – the 500-year-old towers of Shibam, Yemen. Known often as the ‘Manhattan of the Desert’, Shibam is a magnificent walled city of mud towers, some rising up to 11 stories high, with labyrinth-like alleyways and shaded courtyards below.
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Vertical Kampong
Samuel Holt
 
The Kampong House is a vernacular housing typology common in South East Asia, although due to modern urbanization, one which is increasingly rare in Singapore. Its design has evolved historically to respond directly to Singapore’s unique tropical climate and the social cultures of the region.
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Stacked Courtyards   Solar Parking Tower
Fei Qian
 
This design aims to address the environmental problems associated with the excessive use of private fossil-fuel powered cars. Inspired by Masdar City’s proposals for all-electric autonomous pod cars, it envisions an Abu Dhabi of the future where this scheme has been extended city-wide and residents make their daily travels by using vehicles from a number of huge vertical carpools.
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Sky Forest Tower

Vertical [pH]arm
Robert Streather
 
Vertical [pH]arm is an agriculture center and wellbeing hotel designed to address the increasing social, environmental, economic and political problems caused by Singapore’s limited natural resources and increasing population.

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Green Roof City   Spiny Lizard Tower
Arash Sheikhi
 
This project is designed as a direct response to the harsh sun and hot semiarid climate of Abu Dhabi. Rejecting the curtain-wall-clad, fully-glazed tall building, so prevalent in the Middle East, it instead draws inspiration from nature, and in particular the Spiny Lizard.
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Streets in the Sky   Singaponics
Lee Bali
 
Singaponics is concerned with food sustainability, vertical agriculture and water resources within the context of Singapore. The city-state is highly dependent on imports for feeding its growing population, with 97% of all food coming from abroad, and just over 1% of the total land mass of the country being devoted to agriculture.
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Wind Tower   Vertical Library
Qianru Ouyang and Yang Yang
 
This design imagines a new National Library and Art Gallery for the city of Abu Dhabi in a tall building which also accommodates residential units. The form of the tower evolved from the idea of two stacked open books – an abstract interpretation of the library – where two wings of accommodation are organised around central courtyards.
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Wind Tower   Projecting Skygardens
Debarpita Mohapatra, Rahul Suralkar, and Yi-Li Hsieh
 
Located in Singapore, Projecting Skygardens has three main objectives: create a vibrant mixed-use community bound together by a series of large, projecting public skygardens; orientate the skygardens at various heights and directions capturing different views; and lift the entire tower 30 meters above the ground to create a shaded public realm below.
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Wind Tower   Green Terraces
Ming-Wei Wu, Wei Huang, and Duanduan Zhao
 
This scheme is concerned with water sustainability and self-sufficiency in Singapore. While highly developed, Singapore suffers from a lack of natural resources, with forty percent of the city-state’s water being imported from neighboring Malaysia and the availability of potable water set to be a major issue in future years.
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Wind Tower   Urban Trails
Charlotte Freeman
 
Singapore is known as the "Garden City", and the city-state’s many parks and reservoirs educate its people about nature and the environment. However, due to dense urbanization, downtown Singapore has few green spaces left, and feels disconnected from the city's existing "park connector network".
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Wind Tower   Mist Tower
Eman Ismail and Maryam Ahmadi
 
Agriculture consumes nearly 70% of the world’s fresh water, which leaves many areas subject to shortages of this essential natural resource. Saltwater on the other hand is available in abundance around the globe,  which makes sustainable desalination an enticing option for producing  potable water, especially in dry regions such as Abu Dhabi.
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