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This Skyscraper Concept Would Heal Icebergs and Eat Carbon Dioxide

The "reverse climate change machine" is an honorable mention in the Evolo Skyscraper Design Competition.

by Beckett Mufson
Apr 28 2017, 6:47pm

Images © EVOLO LLC, via

A one-stop skyscraping shop for urbane living and fighting climate change called the HEAL-BERG is among the selected entries in eVolo's annual Skyscraper Competition, which invites the world's designers to "challenge the way we understand vertical architecture." The mammoth pearlescent structure would simultaneously cool Antarctic ocean water, scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and generate electricity with saltwater and wind turbines, creating what the designers call, a "reverse climate change machine."

Luca Beltrame and Saba Nabavi Tafreshi created HEAL-BERG as a response to a potential future in which, "climate was changing at a rate exceeding most scientific forecasts; oceans warming, air pollution and climate change were caught in a discernible self-boosting loop. In the speculative world they've created, it's 2039, 21.5 million people are being displaced annually due to climate change and, "the complex patterns representing the world were doomed to collapse."

The respectively Italian and Australian designers incorporated mainstream technologies such as drones and wind power with research from leading institutions to imagine a what all world governments could accomplish if they pooled their resources in a last-ditch effort to preserve humanity. UC Davis's studies about cleaning carbon dioxide with lasers, MIT's research into building with hyper light and strong graphene at MIT, and Hyperloop, Inc. and Tesla's transportation tech meld into a Cloud City-like utopia floating near the south pole.

The location was selected based on a statement from Pieter Tans, lead scientist, NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, reporting that Antarctica is the last place on Earth to feel the impact of climate change. "Global CO2 levels will not return to values below 400 ppm in our lifetimes, and almost certainly for much longer," he says. "The far southern hemisphere was the last place on earth where CO2 had not yet reached this mark."

The eVolo Skyscraper competition, founded in 2006, allows architects and designers from all over the world to submit ideas that are often more art than science. The award, "recognizes visionary ideas for building high- projects that through the novel novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations, challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments."

They accepted 444 submissions for the 2017 competition, including an electromagnetic spaceport, an undulating factory for megacities, and a pillar that looks like it's made from mechanical angel wings. The winner was the Mashambas Skyscraper, a modular agriculture education center designed to move throughout Africa distributing knowledge and resources to fight famine. These concepts aren't meant to be actualized, but exist more as art object that can inspire designers to think about how architecture can positively impact the world.

But if we have to survive a climate change apocalypse, we'd rather do it in the HEAL-BERG than a a Mad Max: Fury Road scenario.

See more from the Evolo design competition here.

Related:

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A Lotus-Shaped Concept Skyscraper Could Save The Amazon

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