The Future is Green: 12 Visionary Architecture Concepts


With looks straight out of a sci-fi movie, these 12 tall towers and super-complexes hint at the architecture of a greener future where solar-powered skyscrapers hold urban theme parks and self-sufficient mini-cities running on algae soar among the clouds. While some of these will forever remain curious concepts, others are actually slated for construction – and you’ll never guess which is which based on the incredible illustrations.

Tianjin Eco City


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This one definitely looks like science fiction, but surprisingly, the Tianjin Eco City is slated for construction in the next few years with a projected completion date of 2020. 350,000 residents will occupy this showcase for new green technologies, which will serve as a model for other new cities in China. Divided into seven districts, the city will include apartment buildings, an administrative and civic center, renewable energy production and stacked structures connected by sky-bridges at multiple levels.

Vertical Theme Park of the Future


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What if all of the attractions currently featured in the sprawling footprint of Disney World were compacted into sky-high towers? That’s essentially the idea of Ju-Hyun Kim’s eco-friendly urban theme park, which would not only pack rides, roller coasters and exhibits into skyscrapers, but equip the structures with technology to harvest rainwater, collect solar energy and recycle waste.

Weave Housing


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While some futuristic-looking eco architecture concepts are totally out-there, others are more attainable – like this apartment complex designed for Denver, Colorado. ‘Weave Housing’ is a stack of prefabricated modular dwellings made from lightweight concrete. Though all the apartments are narrow and long, some are made up of multiple units allowing for more interesting floor plans and additional space.

Twisting Acupuncture Tower for Taiwan


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With a biofuel-producing facade and an unusual spiraling design, the ‘Acupuncture Tower’ designed by grad students at the I.A. Lab of Taiwan University is definitely unlike most modern buildings. Created for Taiwan’s Khaosiung port city, the tower would desalinate ocean water, harvest wind and solar energy, and recycle waste. The greenery on the facade is not vertical trees or vines but algae membranes.

Vertical City for Venezuela Slums


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Where there currently stands a run-down building in the slums in Caracas, Venezuela is envisioned a three-tiered tower where each of the three ‘cups’ defines distinct user groups and activities. British architecture design collective Desitecture imagines ‘Vertical City’ containing retail, hotel, apartments and offices. Wind turbines embedded within the hollow structure would collect energy.

Solar Tower for Taipei


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The winner of the Taiwan Tower Competition is a structure so futuristic, we have to wonder whether building it is even possible. Inspired by the shape of a money tree, this solar observation tower has eight zeppelin-like floating elevators made from lightweight materials and filled with helium. Inside the core of the tower is office space and a museum, while built around it is an urban park. In the upper portion of the tower, solar panels harvest energy for power and a stack chimney effect provides natural cooling. Believe it or not, it’s slated to begin construction in 2012.

Structural Geodesics: Evolving Skyscraper for Armenia


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An ‘assemblage of structural geodesics’ make up the highly unusual exterior of the ‘Evolving Skyscraper’ proposal by Vahan Misakyan, designed for the city of Yerevan in Armenia. The structure consists of three towers joined by habitable bridges at the top and bottom and would include offices, residences and a hotel. The ‘intelligent’ skin of the building includes mechanical openings that let in varying amounts of light, heat and fresh air as well as solar panels, wind turbines and rainwater collection systems.

Synthetic Hyper Structure Proposal


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How can we use architecture to create a new kind of urbanism? Architect Graham Thompson addresses this question with synthetic hyper-structures that create urban farming zones, towers, solar recharging zones and recreation areas. The result, with its oddly curvilinear buildings, certainly looks unlike any city currently existing on Earth.

Multi-Floor Bridge in Seoul


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Why should a bridge just be a bridge when it can also serve as a park, meeting space, mall, museum and energy generator? This concept for the Paik Nam June Media Bridge in Seoul, South Korea would connect a newly redeveloped public cultural space  with the National Assembly Building, and with its vertical gardens, solar panels and interesting attractions it practically serves as a city within itself.

Spiral Tower: Suburban Living in Berlin


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Bringing the benefits of the suburbs to the city is a common theme in sustainable urban architecture concepts – because after all, wouldn’t it be great to enjoy the benefits of urban living and have a backyard, too? The Spiral Tower would give Berlin residents stacked dwellings with private terraces that provide a view and an open outdoor space for recreation and relaxation. Additionally, the building is equipped with solar panels, wind turbines and water collection and purification systems.

Sustainable Space Skyscraper in Egypt


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Looking like a fantasy writer’s idea of a skyscraper in an alien metropolis, the Space-Scraper by Mohamed Abdel-Aziz is made for modern-day Egypt with three twisting towers connected by a geo-sphere containing a health center with a spa and swimming pool. The unusual form is based on studies of the area’s wind patterns, and created to maximize views of nearby sites like the pyramids, the Nile and the city of Cairo. The green features are the requisite solar panels, wind turbines and water collection systems.

Self-Sufficient Algae Airships


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It’s an airship! It’s a hydrogen plant! It’s a flying farm! It’s… totally bizarre, but amazing. The Hydrogenase algae-producing airborne cities are the latest pie-in-the-sky sustainable concept to come from architect Vincent Callebaut, designed for the South China Sea near Shanghai. The self-sufficient airships contain special varieties of micro-seaweed that convert sunlight and CO2 into hydrogen biofuels. The exterior of each ship is also covered in solar panels and wind turbines. It’s certainly among the less likely ideas to ever see the light of day, but you can’t say it’s not fun to look at.