Limestone is a crucial and essential industry mineral, but excavation of the rock often comes with a massive price: decimated landscapes and increased flash flood and landslide risk. Malaysian designers Jethro Koi Lik Wai and Quah Zheng Wei introduced a way to salvage these limestone mining sites in their Limestone Skyscrapers proposal, a design that inserts buildings into the excavated regions of the landscape. Reinforced with steel structures, this interventionist architecture celebrates the limestone landscapes’ natural forms and also helps provide reinforcement against landslide risks.
The presence and dissolution of limestone carves beautiful and scenic landscapes into the earth and creates formations called Karsk Topography, commonly known as Limestone Hills. These megalithic monuments have become the draw for many of the world’s most-visited landscapes, including Vietnam’s Halong Bay and Karsk Forest in Madagascar. The Limestone Skyscrapers proposal, which won an honorable mention in the 2015 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, retains and reinforces these beautiful sites by embedding mixed-use buildings into the vertical landscape.
“This design approach seeks to intervene the process of mining, turning it into a mere ‘site clearance and earthwork’ phase to allow buildings to be erected within, adapting to the sophisticated and ever so beautiful terrain of the karsk topography,” write the designers. The scalable building designs would be clad in glass and could include vertical farming, communal decks, rock climbing, residential space, retail, and other recreational areas. Water would be sourced from the nearby body of water and greywater and treated wastewater could be recycled for irrigation purposes.