Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 

The Passivhaus Skyscraper
2011, University of Nottingham, David Nicholson-Cole & Philip Oldfield

Passivhaus is a construction standard where thermal comfort is maximized through passive measures – super-insulation, heat recovery systems, passive use of solar energy and internal heat sources. While tens of thousands of Passivhaus compliant buildings have been constructed globally in the last few decades, it seems strange that there have been almost no attempts to design a ‘Passivhaus Skyscraper’, especially as the typology has a reputation amongst many as being inherently energy hungry.
 
This studio then aimed to investigate the opportunities and challenges in designing a Passivhaus compliant tall building in Lower Manhattan, New York, just a short distance from the new World Trade Center. However, the brief went far beyond this, tasking students to marry these environmental ideas with designs that create communities rather than isolate occupants at height, demonstrating how the tall building can make a positive impact on the city in terms of both environmental and social performance.

The studio formed part of the 2011 Isover International Student Design Competition, in which schemes from the University of Nottingham came first, second and third at the UK National Finals Stage, and second overall at the International Finals held in Prague.


Flood Plain Tower Green Canyons
Ankur Modi, Suruchi Modi and Chuyu Qiu
 
This design is concerned with reconnecting the currently isolated site - cut off from its surroundings by the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel ramp – back into the neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. It consists of a series of green ‘tendrils’, spreading out from the site and creating physical connections with key nodes in the urban fabric such as Battery Park and the World Trade Center.
Flood Plain Tower Flood Plain Tower Flood Plain Tower Flood Plain Tower Flood Plain Tower Flood Plain Tower

Filtered Light Tower   Sky Podium
Samuel Holt, Shreela Sharan and Willie Yogatama
 
Inspired by the experience of viewing the city from height, such as when visiting the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty observation decks, this design aimed to create a Passivhaus compliant tower encompassing a significant public plaza in the sky. The project consists of three towers, bridged by a two acre ‘sky podium’ 130 metres in the air.
Filtered Light Tower Filtered Light Tower Filtered Light Tower Filtered Light Tower Filtered Light Tower Filtered Light Tower

Social Tower Experiment
Jianhui Chen, Yeuk Hei Wong and Xu Xu
 
This project aims to challenge the negative homogeneity of space and circulation experienced in many tall buildings, and instead examines how vibrant communities and social interaction can be fostered in high-rise. The design consists of a series of stacked vertical villages each with its own linear east-west orientated atria acting as the village ‘street’.
Adaptable Tower Adaptable Tower Adaptable Tower Adaptable Tower Adaptable Tower Adaptable Tower

Stacked Courtyards   Green Ramp
Venu Madhav Chippa, Avinash Davidson and Ranjit Shekhar

 
This project is informed by a desire to better integrate Lower Manhattan’s green spaces into the city fabric, and in particular to create a green link between the site and Battery Park. The design solution is a building which ramps from Battery Park all the way up to the site, culminating in a Passivhaus skyscraper.
Stacked Courtyards Stacked Courtyards Stacked Courtyards Stacked Courtyards Stacked Courtyards Stacked Courtyards

Sky Forest Tower

Solar Slice
Maria Myrianthous, Masoud Sajjadian and Ali Sehizadeh
 
This design evolved from the desire to not only create a skyscraper that meets Passivhaus requirements, but one which also respects the solar rights of the existing ‘88 Greenwich Street’ tower to the north of the site.

Sky Forest Tower Sky Forest Tower Sky Forest Tower Sky Forest Tower Sky Forest Tower Sky Forest Tower

Green Roof City   Windgate
Xuanxuan He, Ming Wei Wu and Chaoran Zhen
 
This design is informed by two concepts; firstly the desire to maximise wind energy harvesting within the building. Secondly, to use the building as a ‘gateway’ onto Manhattan by bridging over the adjacent Brooklyn Battery Tunnel ramp – a key artery onto the island with some 50,000 cars passing along it daily.
Green Roof City Green Roof City Green Roof City Green Roof City Green Roof City Green Roof City

Streets in the Sky   Stacked Sunspaces
Soha Hirbod, Katayoun Khodadadi and Fahimeh Soltani
 
This design was initially influenced by research into low-rise Passivhaus precedents, specifically the Denby Dale Passivhaus in the UK. In particular, inspiration was drawn from the Denby Dale House’s double-height glazed sun space which provides the building with passive solar gain and daylight penetration deep into the plan, but also acts as the house’s heart – a comfortable social space for the occupants.
Streets in the Sky Streets in the Sky Streets in the Sky Streets in the Sky Streets in the Sky Streets in the Sky

Wind Tower   The Urban Window
Arash Sheikhi and Ali Pasha
 
Like the ‘Solar Slice’ scheme, the form of this project evolved with consideration of the rights of sun and view of the existing art-deco ‘88 Greenwich Street’ residential tower located to the north of the site. This historic skyscraper, completed in 1929, enjoys significant sunlight and some of the best views in Lower Manhattan, both of which would be lost through the creation of a ‘typical’ block tower located in front of it.

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