It is projected that by the year 2030, 25% of the city of Mumbai will be covered by parked cars. That means less area for parks, housing and basic room to breathe. The revolutionary Tata Tower was designed to address this pressing issue by creating a residential community for the employees of Tata (the largest automaker in India and manufacturer of the Nano, the world’s cheapest car) that would also serve as a vertical parking tower for electric vehicles. Aside from encouraging alternative energy vehicles, the vertical parking system would allow for maximum parking density, freeing up ground area for use as green space. The building would also have a number of alternative energy systems like photovoltaic louvers, building-integrated wind turbines, tri-generation, and an algae farm which would be used to power itself as well as the cars.
Mumbai is the second most populous city in the world and while we usually think of urban density as a good thing in the green world, it is negatively impacting Mumbai because of the lack of proper infrastructure. Because of the lack of good public transportation in the city, more and more people are purchasing cars, and they all need a place to park. Furthermore, much of the pollution in Mumbai is due to vehicle emissions. If everyone was encouraged to buy and drive an electric vehicle like the Nano EV, and had a convenient place to park that did not eat up valuable ground space, not only would air quality improve, but there would be room for more public transportation systems and parks.
The Tata Tower, designed by Seth Ellsworth & Jayoung Kim, solves three separate issues that Mumbai faces. Firstly, it creates 930 residences for the Tata corporation’s many employees, who would be encouraged to drive the Tata Nano EV or other alternative energy fueled autos, and their families to live. Secondly, it would serve as a place for 4,050 cars to park, sweeping them off the streets and into an efficient vertical parking garage running the full height of the tower where cars can move up and down the vertical cores externally on small platforms. Lastly, it would create enough energy, through the use of solar power collecting louvers, wind turbines and even an algae farm, to run the tower’s residences and recharge its cars. In addition, the designers hope that the tower will serve as an example for other vertical parking sites in India and elsewhere around the world.
Images © Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat