Sand Babel is a twisting, solar-powered, 3D-printed skyscraper built from desert sand. Inspired by tornadoes and mushroom rocks found in deserts, the tower was designed with an underground tube network system that combines residential spaces, scientific research facilities and sightseeing platforms. The futuristic, forward-thinking project by Chinese designers earned an honorable mention in the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition.
Conceived by Chinese designers Qiu Song, Kang Pengfei, Bai Ying, Ren Nuoya, Guo Shen, the project envisions an intelligent network of skyscrapers distributed across a desert landscape. The towers would be manufactured through a solar-powered 3D printer and constructed entirely using an abundant, locally sourced material – sand.
Each structure would have two main sections. The upper, spiral skeleton part would be constructed using continuous transmission of tensional forces, while the tree-like lower parts would keep the entire structure stable and reinforce the ground dominated by flowing sand dunes. The organic underground parts are meant to act as roots and facilitate communication among the buildings.
The spiral skeleton would have a water-generating system located on its mushroom-shaped roof, which uses temperature differences to generate water through condensation. Dual funnel cross-ventilation would run along the entire building and keep the interiors cool during the day.