Architecture

Earthscraper concept takes urban planning underground

Earthscraper concept takes urb...
"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR. (image by BNKR Aquitectura)
"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR. (image by BNKR Aquitectura)
View 15 Images
The first ten stories offer a tourist attraction, with all floors displaying Aztec and Mayan artifacts in a pre-Columbian museum. (image by BNKR Aquitectura)
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The first ten stories offer a tourist attraction, with all floors displaying Aztec and Mayan artifacts in a pre-Columbian museum. (image by BNKR Aquitectura)
This impressive "Earthscraper" is a solution to Mexico City's dense population (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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This impressive "Earthscraper" is a solution to Mexico City's dense population (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
The next ten stories house retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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The next ten stories house retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
This impressive "Earthscraper" is a solution to Mexico City's dense population (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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This impressive "Earthscraper" is a solution to Mexico City's dense population (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
The historic city square is commonly used year round for events such as concerts, political gatherings, open-air exhibitions and cultural celebrations (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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The historic city square is commonly used year round for events such as concerts, political gatherings, open-air exhibitions and cultural celebrations (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
Drawing upon their ancestors, the Earthscraper is a reversal of the historical Aztec pyramid (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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Drawing upon their ancestors, the Earthscraper is a reversal of the historical Aztec pyramid (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
Capped with a glass roof, habitable spaces are positioned around the central void, allowing natural light to filter down to even the lowest of levels (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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Capped with a glass roof, habitable spaces are positioned around the central void, allowing natural light to filter down to even the lowest of levels (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
The first ten stories feature a pre-Columbian museum. The next ten stories house retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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The first ten stories feature a pre-Columbian museum. The next ten stories house retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR. (image by BNKR Aquitectura)
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"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR. (image by BNKR Aquitectura)
The first ten stories feature a pre-Columbian museum. The next ten stories house retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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The first ten stories feature a pre-Columbian museum. The next ten stories house retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
The first ten stories feature a pre-Columbian museum. The next ten stories house retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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The first ten stories feature a pre-Columbian museum. The next ten stories house retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
This impressive "Earthscraper" is a solution to Mexico City's dense population (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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This impressive "Earthscraper" is a solution to Mexico City's dense population (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
"The historic center of Mexico City is in desperate need for a pragmatic make-over," says BNKR (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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"The historic center of Mexico City is in desperate need for a pragmatic make-over," says BNKR (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
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"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
View gallery - 15 images

This ambitious "Earthscraper" concept from BNKR Aquitectura seeks to address several problems faced by Mexico City - a growing population, the lack of new plots for construction, the need to conserve historic buildings and height restrictions on new structures. "The historic center of Mexico City is in desperate need for a pragmatic make-over," says BNKR. The solution - build an inverted pyramid underneath the main plaza at the heart of the city.

A kind of reversal of the historical Aztec pyramid, the Earthscraper would aim to preserve the visual aesthetic of the historic city square whilst also retaining the public space, commonly used year round for events such as concerts, political gatherings, open-air exhibitions and cultural celebrations. The 775,000 square meter design is capped with a glass "roof" and habitable spaces are positioned around the central void, allowing natural light to filter down to even the lowest of levels.

"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)
"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR (Image: BNKR Aquitectura)

The first ten stories would offer a tourist attraction, with all floors displaying Aztec and Mayan artifacts in a pre-Columbian museum. The design sees the next ten stories filled with retail shops and domestic housing, whilst the deepest levels offer 35 stories of office space.

The concept is reminiscent of the famous glass pyramid featured at the center of Le Louvre Museum in Paris, but with mammoth proportions. "The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition," says BNKR.

The BNKR Aquitectura "Earthscraper" concept was a finalist entry in the eVolo Magazine Scraper Competition.

Via: Archdaily.

View gallery - 15 images
12 comments
Jacob Shepley
looks awesome, but also sounds depressing to live underground
Von Meerman
Sounds awesome. The natural light is an excellent idea (Although I wonder how many panty-shots will result from a glass roof being the centre of public space) and if the bottom of the pyramid could have a small garden - and each higher levels perhaps a small balcony garden, so as to not restrict the light from above for the lower levels - then there\'ll always be fresh air and reduced claustrophobia. I\'d be interested in how people get down - 4 elevators at all 4 corners? The space between the pyramid and access tunnels could be utilised too. I don\'t know, hydroponic gardens maybe. :D
Mark Temple
given the geology of the area though, this seems like a bad idea. mexico city is located on the soft bottom of a filled in lake. one that is tectonicaly unstable to boot. the city has enough issues with sinking foundations for stuff above the ground, i wouldn\'t want to think about the problems a massive underground facility would have.
Mushi
I\'m wondering what is supposed to happen during a fire. In a typical highrise, you have fire-stairs which are descended, while in this design one would have to race up how many flights? It\'s not like the elevators would be operational. Maybe they have a non-mechanical safety solution....
windykites
Is not Mexico City in an earthquake zone? Supposing the whole thing floods? Lastly, where is all the excavation soil going to be put? There is enough fuss made about garbage mountains. This looks like another fanciful idea which will never come to fruition.
yrag
Agreed on all questions windykites1.
Slowburn
@windykites1 Earthquake survival, and flooding are engineering problems that have been repeatedly solved. There is always a market for clean fill. The excavated material will be sold.
jad
Re: slowburn\'s comment: tell that to the Katrina, Haiti, and New Zealand survicors, not to mention all the flooding that\'s been taking place in the U.S. and elsewhere. The Earthscraper in Mexico City is a bad, bad idea, as mentioned by Mark Temple. Besides, the area taken is the same as a high-rise would be.
Slowburn
@jad Haiti didn\'t have any enforced building codes. People in New Orleans after refusing orders to evacuate attempted to escape rising water by climbing into attics that did not have roof access. In Christchurch there were apparently undamaged building standing next to piles of rubble after the earthquake. The fact that people have died does not invalidate my assertions.
Domestic Engineer
Sounds interesting and the finished work may look great, but there are some inconvenients to be taken into account: Cases like México City would require a very stiff substructure in order to support loads due to earthquakes of at least Grade 8 in the Richter scale. Also, the whole underground structure needs to be designed as a floating foundation, due to the extremely softness of the soil. In the other hand, isolation from the exterior might represent an issue. The architecture and accesories such as illumination and Air Conditioning, must be of a very high quality so that living in the underground will not affect the inhabitants mood. Don´t you think?