Mixed-Use High Rise / Sustainable
Design Competition Entry
Evolo Skyscraper Competition Entry
Collaboration with Ryan Browne, Ben Scholten, and Nathanael Dunn
All cities suffer from pollution that tarnishes not only their own quality but that of the planet. One pollutant often overlooked and rarely considered harmful is noise. Sound is simply energy, and as concluded from Newton’s law of the conservation of energy, this energy is not lost to nothingness upon absorption. It is instead transformed into different forms of energy, the most prevalent resultant being heat: a process potentially contributing to our planet’s rising temperatures as cities continue to grow and leak more sound.
Why lose sound energy to unwanted heat gains when it can provide energy for essential building functions? The urban transducer utilizes noise pollution in Chicago by capturing airborne sound, converting it into usable energy, and using that energy to help power the skyscraper. This is achieved by acoustic panels that perceive present frequencies and tune metallic ‘bands’ to match the extant wavelengths, creating resonance through which energy is harvested from the noise. Each panel also remembers the most recurrent frequencies at its location, allowing preemptive adjustment to maximize efficiency.
Noise also influenced the tower’s form and appearance. Sound is pure when created, but human perception is distorted by contextual influences. Reflecting this condition, the habitable spaces (public hubs and private pods) are pure, simple forms that are perceptually altered and distorted by the screen systems (sound + wind) that obscure their simple forms.
Wind panels accompany the sound panels to optimize energy collection. Composed of miniature turbines, they harness all available wind power, even the most minute. Integrated throughout the entire tower, the wind panels are concentrated high (where wind forces are strongest and most consistent) and along the train tracks and roads (where transit creates airflow).
Design Process - Concept Sketch