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Monday, May 18, 2009

Dragonfly, New York, United States

Dragonfly concept aims for ecological self-sufficiency in New York
The latest concept design from Vincent Callebaut Architects – the Dragonfly – has been designed with the intention of easing the ever-increasing need for ecological and environmental self-sufficiency in the urban cityscape. The proposed development, designed around the Southern bank of Roosevelt Island in New York, follows a vertical farm design which, it is hoped, would cultivate food, agriculture, farming and renewable energy in an urban setting.

The unique 128 floor, 700m concept design is spread over two oblong towers and suggests building a prototype of an urban farm in which a mixed programme of housing, offices, laboratories and farming spaces are vertically laid out over several floors and cultivated by its inhabitants. The architecture of the design proposes reinventing the vertical building, so associated with the New York skyline of the 19th and 20th centuries, both structurally and functionally as well as ecologically.

The functional organisation of the design is arranged around two 600m towers, symmetrically arranged around a huge climactic greenhouse that links them, and constructed of glass and steel. This greenhouse, which defines the shape of the design, supports the load of the building and is directly inspired by the structural exoskeleton of dragonfly wings. Two inhabited rings buttress around the ‘wings,’ and along the exterior of these are solar panels, which will provide up to half the buildings electricity, with the rest being supplied by three wind machines along the vertical axes of the building.

While most would argue that the unconventional design of Dragonfly would be more suited to Dubailand than New York, the conceptual design tackles the contemporary dilemma of food production and agriculture in a city sorely lacking in the horizontal space required to do so, as well as attempting to achieve this in an ecologically sound and renewable way by merging production and consumption in the heart of the city.

John Edwards

architecture NOW

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