It's been a rough few days for traditional skyscrapers: two masters of the modernist glass tower died last week, the Trump Tower's Der Scutt and the Sears (now Willis) Tower's Bruce Graham. But imaginary architecture is alive and well. Just check out the winners of eVolo Magazine's 2010 Skyscraper Competition.
The winner was a floating prison designed by Chow Khoon Toong, Ong Tien Yee, and Beh Ssi Cze, architecture students from Malaysia. It's a prison-city, complete with farms, factories, and recycling plants that convicts live and work in until their sentences are up and they take the elevator back to earth.
The most interesting entry, though, came in third: Ryohei Koike and Jarod Poenisch's Nested Skyscraper, proposed for Tokyo. It's built kind of like a spider Web, with fabric-and-concrete netting wrapped (by, uh, robots, apparently) around a carbon-fiber internal frame. The nets are porous, but their transparency can be adjusted for sunnier or shadier spots to keep the building evenly lit and heated. We're suckers for biomimetic architecture, and this is a great example. The tree-like internal structure means the tower doesn't have to follow the rigid, one-floor-on-top-of-another look of regular skyscrapers. Instead, modules can be slotted into branches wherever they fit, and then held in place by the net. If spiders can do it, why can't we?