Mile-High London Eco Tower by PopularArchitecture

by , 02/28/08

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The term “mile high” isn’t just for airplane action anymore- British firm Popularchitecture has proposed a mile-high eco tower for London that’s sure to be just as exciting. At a full mile tall and housing over 100,000 people, this concept tower really is just that: a cool, uber-green concept. With 500 floors would contain schools and hospitals to shops and pubs, and everything else under the sun. While it will likely never be realized, the design does push our thinking forward.

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The mile-high tower also illustrates the ecological advantages of living tall, as building up instead of out holds more people in a smaller footprint. This in turn reduces ecological impacts and the time needed to transport them. Close-knit living is also a way to rebuild disconnected communities, and to make life safer through the ‘natural surveillance’ created by populating areas 24/7.

Drawn up by Popularchitecture and intended for Tower Hamlets in East London, the giant skyscraper would be three times larger than anything ever built in the capital, creating 12 new ‘villages’ in the sky. However, despite the project’s ‘almost unbelievable proportions’, practice founder Tom Teatum does not feel the scheme is that crazy, insisting there are developers who are interested, ‘in particular because of minimal land value in relation to accommodation… occupying a scale far beyond anything that currently exists in London, the tower would allow the city’s population to expand without significant impact to the architectural fabric on the ground.’

At the center of the structure would be a ‘vast internal void’ lit by circular openings every 20 storys. Each of these ‘holes’ would be used as either public squares or for specialist activities such as ice skating, botanic gardens or swimming pools. Nice idea and nice visuals but it looks like it’ll be firmly rooted in our imaginations for the time being.

+ Popularchitecture
Via Skyscraper City and Fazyluckers

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  1. chazel April 22, 2010 at 12:53 am

    gosh what a nice design

  2. Chris April 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    This design is about totally removed from what it is to be human. I suppose, when you’ve spent thousands of dollars getting educated in architecture, you have to come up with such things in order to justify the expense, and to protect the fragile ego from scorn. It seems to me that the basic premise of this design is imagining that people already know how to live in peacful communities. If they don’t (and they don’t) all that will happen is that you will transport all our current social problema into mile-high towers. The novelty factor of living in such places will wear off quite quickly. I reckon that the focus should be on “what causes all our social ills?” with a total, stop-at-nothing willingness to unearth these causes. Such an attitude should go a long way to re-humanising architecture.
    And also, there are major flaws in the design.

  3. Mokke April 3, 2008 at 11:14 am

    In the 1930\’s we thought this would have become a standard by now, much caused by the rapid erection of such buildings like Empire state building and Crystler building (ref. Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas ). There was no limit for how tall a building could become. But now it seems that high rises has gotten a revelation, due to people with lack of impotence in some Arabic and Asian countries. My point is that this must be a temporarily phenomenon. that we will overcome.. Because it can\’t be cool to stand in an elevator with a bunch of people with high perspiration for twenty minutes just to get down… and it can\’t be economical…

  4. SuperTower: una torre d... March 24, 2008 at 4:05 pm

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  5. Mike March 10, 2008 at 6:31 am

    This is an old idea first conceived by John Wagner in Judge Dredd for 2000AD back in 1977. Suffice to say it doesn’t work in his eyes…

  6. Alan March 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Have you ever seen the film Fifth Element? Not a great vision of the future.
    Architecture needs to be on a human scale.

  7. nick carter March 7, 2008 at 5:48 am

    woss gonna happen when i fling me pepsi can down frum up dere?
    It gonna rain kentucky fried wrappers ennit?

  8. mile high v2.0 « ... March 6, 2008 at 11:19 am

    […] as i accurately hypothesized before, is completely out of touch with everything human. according to inhabitat, the tower would rise some 500 stories and, “would contain schools and hospitals to shops and […]

  9. David Howell March 4, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Sorry – that is simply an ugly structure without any architectural merit.

    I agree with previous comments – this says more about architectural ego than it does about environmental issues.

    Where is the human scale? This is just a Fritz Lang wet dream.


  10. Nick Simpson March 2, 2008 at 11:49 am

    In regards to this concept, it is little more than a piece of theoretical design created to prompt discussion – which is exactly what it has done. It is interesting to think of what height is actually optimal (bearing in mind that this may change depending on site, climate etc) in terms of sustainability…

  11. Nick Simpson March 2, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I’ve lived at the Arcosanti for a few weeks. That most certainly is not the way forward, nor is anything else associated with Soleri…

  12. David March 1, 2008 at 9:58 am

    C’mon, building such as this one are all about the architects ego. It’s yet another trophy (to themselves, as usual).

    If you want to promote ‘tall’ and/or integrated ‘community’ and/or ‘small footprint’ … why is there no mention of Paulo Soleri’s Arcology. That is the true innovation! Function, form and style … all evolved out of deep principles.

  13. Robert Miller March 1, 2008 at 8:04 am

    If you people work in the sector God help us, if your mathematical workings are as shoddy i wouldn’t want to live in any of your buildings…

    Anyway you are all a tad negative – the point of such designs are not to be built but to instill creativity within the sector…

  14. Jason Macosa February 29, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    To build a skycraper that is one mile in height (5280 feet), you will need at least 3-6 square blocks of ground space for the foundation and or the base to support it’s own weight, provide ample protection against high winds and to defy gravity otself. This is not only NOT feasible but and a ridiculous idea that will never be built period. BTW – the the estimated costs to build such building would be between 3-6 billion US dollars…

  15. Matt February 29, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Do Ecological and tall buildings go together? It’s a complex question but their construction emits more carbon and uses more resources more than low height buildings. They also consume more energy when in use. Those mile high lifts going up and downwill consume a lot of energy.

  16. danbowles February 28, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    In disagreement to some other comments though, some of the greatest architectural designs have never been built…

  17. danbowles February 28, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    My only reservation with the comments here about communities is that spaced high density living can often lead to delinquent behaviour in surrounding areas and not the proposed security of high volume pedestrian activity. This kind of development needs to synergise with surrounding lower density development to be successful imho.

  18. Marc Joseph February 28, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I don’t understand the constant pursuit of this “mile-high” status. It was already proven a long time ago by FLW of all people that it is “possible.” However the first building to do so must be as important as it is tall. This proposed building is not. Also, the biggest challenge to height is not structure but rather conveying people to the various levels. The elvator bank alone would take up the footprint of this building. Grandstanding indeed.

  19. queirós February 28, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    thankgod! it will never be done! london would become a very ugly city…

  20. Jason Macosa February 28, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Is this even practical or is this some grandstanding and or a PR stunt for the architectural firm proposing a structure that will never be built or lived in!

  21. Sea Wolf February 28, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I’m all for high density, all for sustainable city living, etc., etc. But once we’re done with the ooo’s and aaah’s (the same that greeted Frank Lloyd Wright’s proposed mile-high building . . . 50 years ago), I’m left wondering Why? Who would want to live in such a place or shop or go to school in such a place? The only bright side I can see is that with enough people shut up in mile-high towers, those of us who love living in reasonable proximity to the ground will have more that much more of it to ourselves.

  22. Will February 28, 2008 at 7:43 am

    I’m pretty sure this is right on a flight path too. Ouch.

  23. Will February 28, 2008 at 7:41 am

    No doubt this looks very very cool indeed. But are those really openings all the way up there? Wind speeds would make standing in one of those pretty dangerous, don’t you think?!

    If they incorporate some floors for vertical farming, this could be relatively self-sustaining.

  24. landscape February 28, 2008 at 6:34 am

    yep, nice idea and nice visuals…..although i’d love to see prince charles’ reaction to this one!

  25. alison February 28, 2008 at 5:15 am

    What kind of fire safety would be implemented for something of this magnitude?

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