UFO on Facebook

The strange-looking structure would be the second-tallest building on earth.

Shenzhen is a rapidly developing city in the Pearl River Delta, swarming with a huge population and outsized architecture—it contains two of the top-25 tallest skyscrapers in the world. So it's fitting that a contest to cram another building into its skyline would pick this structure, a super-dense city within a city that resembles a looming thunderhead.

The aptly named "Cloud Citizen" would be "one interconnected system of functions and public plazas in the sky," say its promoters at the Urban Future Organization, CR-Design, and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Its three central towers would crest at a height of 2,231 feet, making it second in height only to the 2,717-foot-tall Burj Khalifa. Meanwhile, its bulk would occupy 18.3 million square feet—or two-thirds of a square mile—and would be packed with living modules, rolling green space, cultural facilities, offices, rainwater basins, energy plants, and (I'm guessing here) a giant circus net to catch people who accidentally tumble off its zig-zag curves.

The enormous project impressed judges at the Shenzhen Center for Public Art so much that it tied for top prize in an international design contest for the burgeoning megacity. Who knows if it will actually get built. The public-art center says the "execution scheme for this project will need further consideration and shall be implemented after approval by the statutory procedures," but I just can't imagine this monolithic thing existing anytime soon (despite the country's love of ridiculous architecture).

Still, the folks behind "Cloud Citizen" have their hearts in the right places. Here are some of the benevolent design touches they stitched into the project, which was recently featured at Designboom:

[T]he team believes that their approach can become a central hub of activity that can rival other locations around the world such as La Defence Paris, Canary Wharf London, ECB Frankfurt area, and the Presnensky District in Moscow. The new interconnected site acts as the next step in the development of the area from being production-oriented towards a modern service-oriented, high-tech, green metropolis...

As an integral part of the urban ecosystem, the proposal also has the ability to harvest rainwater and produce power from the sun, wind, and algae. In addition, it stores carbon and filters particles from the air while housing sanctuaries for wild plants and food-production modules. By implementing these mechanisms, the architects were able to place shelters throughout the exterior terraces in order to place visitors, residents, and workers in close proximity to nature, leisure, and healthier lifestyles.

Here are a few more peeks at the towering building, starting with its literal peak high up among the clouds:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo collage of 2020 presidential candidates.
    Equity

    Will Housing Swing the 2020 Election?

    Among Democratic candidates for president, the politics of America’s housing affordability crisis are getting complicated. Just wait until Trump barges in.

  2. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

  3. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.
    Life

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks at Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

  4. A photo of an abandoned building in Newark, New Jersey.
    Equity

    The 10 Cities Getting a Philanthropic Boost for Economic Mobility

    An initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group focuses on building “pipelines of opportunity.”

  5. a photo of Denver city council member Candi CdeBaca
    Transportation

    A Freeway Fight Launched Denver’s New Queer Latina Councilmember

    In a progressive shake-up, 32-year-old community organizer Candi CdeBaca will take her advocacy work to the city council.  

×