Future Perfect: Self-sustaining skyscrapers for a green world

gullwing twin wind tower

What’s happening right now

When cities have exhausted the two dimensions on the map, they look at the third dimension out of sheer desperation. The result is such concrete behemoths capable of hosting homes, work and what not.

In fact, their design and their numbers often symbolize the city and stand as an indicator of prosperity. So are they really the savior of cities and the way of the future? Some feel they end up congesting the cities even further by enabling unwarranted vertical growth that the city’s infrastructure may not be able to sustain. Moreover, is all that capital, brick & mortar, human effort actually worth creating something that claims to serve the purpose of a numerous smaller inexpensive structures?


1. Burj Al Taqa

burj al taqa

The key differentiator of this 68- story building is the fact that it is a zero-energy and zero-emissions structure. By using a cylindrical design, vacuum glazing windows and a rotating shield, the structure’s exposure to sun and its ability to absorb heat has been reduced. A 60 feet turbine, two photovoltaic facilities and an island of solar panels will produce electricity during the day of which the excess energy will be used to generate hydrogen by electrolysis. The Hydrogen in turn will be used to generate power at night using fuel cells.

2. Rotating Wind Power Tower

rotating wind power tower

Designed by Dynamic Architecture, all floors of this tower are capable of moving around a central axis. The designers claim that the independent rotation imparts a high resistance to earthquakes as well. Since the form of the building is constantly changing, residents experience different views, and so do those who lay sight on this from the outside.

3. Food City

food city dubai

The core idea is to create a continuous agricultural mat on all surfaces (walls included) to provide organic food for the inhabitants. The city is powered by renewable sources of energy and there is even talk of export of the surplus from the site. Power is also generated from the piezoelectric pads in pedestrian areas as well as methane extracted from sewage tanks.

4. Structural Geodesics

armenia skyscraper

It consists of an assemblage of structural geodesics that can change in accordance with program need for offices, hotels, etc. The surface is equipped with energy generation and water collection systems and has the ability to control light incidence.

5. Eco-Cybernetic City

eco cybernetic city

Conceptualized on nanotechnology, the surface allows vegetative growth and cooling by absorbing water and its subsequent evaporation. Along with photovoltaic lattices, the structure uses aerogenerators to harness the strong air flows between the towers.

6. Gullwing Twin Wind Tower

gullwing twin wind tower

The first look of this spike tower deems it as something that can be weaponized easily. These spikes are the turbine hinges using wind to generate electricity. The numerous cylinders with circular sections aim to create a tornado effect.

7. Gyre – Self-sufficient underwater tower

gyre self sufficient underwater tower

The concept by Zigloo creates a floating ecosystem with space for living, working and recreational activities. The complex underwater nacelles serve as both thrusters for propulsion and tidal generators.

8. Water Scraper – Self-sufficient floating city

water scraper   self sufficient floating city

This structure attempts to go a step further with the idea of a floating city by promising to make it self-sufficient for food. The surface of the submerged structure sustains a small forest as well in addition to the work and living areas.

The concept

With the flurry towards saving the dwindling natural resources and addressing the issue of climate change, architects have adopted designs that are self sufficient and reduce the burden on the environment.

The advantage

These towers not only provide accommodation to thousands, but they do so in the optimum manner to reduce pollution and save land. These self sufficient structures are indeed need of the hour for the burgeoning population and rising energy demand.

The impact
These structures attempt to solve numerous problems such as availability of water, energy and space. By incorporating energy saving technologies and solutions, these designs manage to keep our hopes of a better world alive.