Laboratories, exhibition galleries and observatories in a giant Sequoia. This futuristic project by South-Korean Architects has been rewarded by the “Skyscraper Competition” 2017.
Instead of putting a bit of nature back into cities, why not install homes directly in the forest? This is the slightly crazy idea of four Korean architects and designers who propose to sculpt buildings into the trunk of the majestic giant sequoia trees in Yosemite national park in California.
Sometimes over a hundred metres tall, the sequoias are the earth’s oldest living organisms, some of them estimated to be 3000 years old. Immense, ancestral boles, with impressive girths. But increasingly threatened by drought, global warming and modernisation. According to one study, over 10 million hectares of Californian forest are threatened with extinction. Right now 58 million much weakened trees could disappear, which would profoundly change animals’ ecosystems and habitats.
To save them from deforestation, Korean architects Ko Jinhyeuk, Cheong Changwon, Cho Kyuhyung and Choi Sunwoong have devised a way of reinforcing the hollow parts of the trees by adding a cage-like internal structure. This structure, made of cables, is an “artificial skeleton” enabling a network of stairs to be installed in the very entrails of these giants. Accessible to the public, the tree would then become an organic building with research laboratories, classrooms or, simply, a museum.
The operation aims to be respectful of its majestic hosts. The rooms would only occupy the empty parts of the tree. Above all, these constructions would extend their life expectancy. This ecological manifesto, as utopian as it may seem, is a feat that is achievable thanks to technical progress. It has already received accolades by eVolo architecture magazine’s famous Skyscraper Competition 2017. So when will the project start?