Gallery: Skyburbs: Bringing the Burbs to the City

skyburb, vertical gardens, vertical suburbs, solar passive design, suburbs, urban design, gardens, parks
 

Some people like suburbia for the wide open spaces, yards, and the sense of privacy, but the ‘burbs are not nearly as efficient as urban centers are. What if there was a way to bring all of the positive qualities of exurbia into the city while keeping all of the efficiency of an urban core? What about stacking blocks of suburban space onto blocks of urban space, similar in theory to vertical farms, creating modular gardens, orchards, parks, playing fields, community centers and even homes? The concept is already out there. Dreamed up by two Sydney-based architects, Skyburbs introduces the qualities of the suburbs into denser urban environments.

This flexible and adaptable vertical space provides the infrastructure for many different purposes. Levels can be used for gardening, orchards, public parks, playing fields community centers, homes, and apartments. Each level has a floor plenum, which is equipped with energy, water and services to support the various functions of the level. The structure itself to support this is composed of steel beams in order to let enough light into each area.

In the winter, the low angle of the sun will be able to penetrate into the center of each level, providing warmth and passive solar heating. During the summer, the sun will be high and only light the edges of the building, allowing the center to remain shaded. Combined with excellent natural ventilation across the level, the interior should remain cool.

Skyburbs could also contain a number of sustainable features depending on the types of amenities inside. Rain water collection and grey water recycling will help supply water for irrigation. Solar and wind power will help meet the energy demand and trombe walls, passive solar design and radiant heating will aid in heating homes and buildings. Each level is adaptable, flexible and changeable. Should an owner decide to change his/her own level, build or remodel, the levels can accommodate those additions.

The Skyburbs concept was developed by Mark Gazy and Neil Haybittel, both from Tzannes Associates in Sydney. We love the idea and hope they continue developing the concept.

Thanks for the tip Mark!

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


9 Comments

  1. kristi276 October 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    What would happen if you incorporate the farming and social areas into the super structure of a housing complex. One of the things liked about New York housing is its apartment building, brown stones, housing complexes (like that of Trump Village). If the outer super structure were housing units and the inner structure were the parks, farms and recreational centers, that would be a more idea setting that stacking them up like pancakes (one on top of the other). There are some apartment building that take up a whole city block, just think of the amount of solar panels that can be utilized in such a building. These Eco-buildings could have the ability to collect rain water in its basements for use by its tenants and the building itself.

  2. kristi276 October 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Not everyone loves the suburbs. This seems more utopian than real. In the city of New York, Manhattan has a population of 1,601,948 and rent that are out of this world; and climbing. Would these suburban dreams handle one million plus, and this does not include the other boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and (the orphaned child of)Staten Island. I do agree that there is a need for cities that are more environmental and spread out vertically and well as horizontally. Where the cities are meant for human habitation, and not just warehousing. But is this it? I don’t think so, but I do believe we are getting closer to it. As the old saying goes,”necessity is the mother of invention”.

  3. country girl September 22, 2009 at 9:45 am

    This is better than a lot of other eco-highrise designs I’ve seen. I live in a rural community in a house that is 140 years old and I love it. I love having a forest in my backyard, being able to see the stars at night, and not have to deal with traffic jams. I hate the idea of being forced to live in a city, jammed up with a million other people. I enjoy my solitude. But if the apocalypse comes and the countryside is no longer habitable, I suppose having my own private park space might compensate.

  4. davidwayneosedach September 18, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    We could use Skyburbs here in downtown San Diego. Maybe when the recovery comes…

  5. hairdizaster September 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I’m sorry but this idea is insanely silly. Do you think people want to pay to have their own private park space? And water management issues with every level? People live in the city, because they know how to interact with others. We don’t need to live in bubbles and isolated. Invest in park space!

    I’m all for greening construction and making improvements, but the concept pictures are ludicrous. I hate to think what happens when the soccer ball those kids are kicking, flies off the building. And what others mentioned with wind issues. It would be too windy at the height shown to be sunbathing as pictured.

  6. Althestane September 14, 2009 at 7:53 am

    As an academic idea, this is really appealing. As a practicable solution housing property in the city, I don’t think this would hold up. ‘Going up’ has always been an urban architectural fascination, but it brings unique challenges that may not be compatible to residential/suburban properties. One concern would be wind: the higher you go, the more it affects your structure. Even if it wasn’t downright windy on the upper levels, like all skyrise-buildings, the structure would have to sway to accommodate wind shear which is something homeowners likely won’t tolerate well. Another is light: a city is not always a sunny place. In fact, mid-20th century New York required it’s skyscrapers to step back from the street above a certain elevation in part because of the massive shadows that the towers would cast. This structure may be designed with passive solar techniques in mind, but in the city it will have to contend with other, not so like-minded structures. Again, a great exploration and well thought out (I particularly enjoy the structural rationale and diagramming). It looks eminently plausible, though I question it’s practicality.

  7. tsdfeff September 11, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    good!
    This flexible and adaptable vertical space provides the infrastructure for many different purposes. Levels can be used for gardening, orchards, public parks, playing fields community centers, homes, and apartments. Each level has a floor plenum, which is equipped with energy, water and services to support the various functions of the level. The structure itself to support this is composed of steel beams in order to let enough light into each area.
    In the winter, the low angle of the sun will be able to penetrate into the center of each level, providing warmth and passive solar heating. During the summer, the sun will be high and only light the edges of the building, allowing the center to remain shaded. http://www.barefoot.com.Combined with excellent natural ventilation across the level, the interior should remain cool.
    Skyburbs could also contain a number of sustainable features depending on the types of amenities inside. Rain water collection and grey water recycling will help supply water for irrigation. Solar and wind power will help meet the energy demand and trombe walls, passive solar design and radiant heating will aid in heating homes and buildings. Each level is adaptable, flexible and changeable. Should an owner decide to change his/her own level, build or remodel, the levels can accommodate those additions.
    The Skyburbs concept was developed by Mark Gazy and his colleague, both from Tzannes Associates in Sydney. We love the idea and hope they continue developing the concept

  8. Biking Viking September 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    They already have something like this, they’re reserved for the ultra rich and called Penthouse apartments. The reason they don’t already exist in this idealic form is because of land value. You’ll never be able to get this down to a price point to lure a middle class sprawl home buyer away from the exurbs.

  9. pixls September 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I had this idea! like stacking suburban properties, i called mine “V-SUL” and made a cool logo… sadly i’m not in a place to do something like this, and my friend who’s looking to be thought it was stupid, even though he loves virtical farms… :(

    of course my idea was nowhere near as well thought out as this…

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
What are you looking for? (Solar, HVAC, etc.)
Where are you located?