DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE 2


A SKETCH OF THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE ROOF ENCLOSING AN EXISTING CITY WITH NEW AND OLD BUILDINGS COVERED WITH TROPICAL FOLIAGE. THE SURROUNDING LANDSCAPE REVERTING TO WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM.

IN MY BLOG COMMENTS EXCHANGE LAST YEAR, A FORMER STUDENT OF MINE AT SCI-ARC, THAT GOES BY “MAN IN THE MIRROR”, KEPT JABBING ME ABOUT BEING NEGATIVE, AND SUGGESTED DOING THE EVOLO COMPETITION. I LOOKED INTO THE RULES, AND SAID TO MYSELF WHY NOT? YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.

A FEW MONTHS BACK I WAS READING THE ATLAS. WHAT WAS EVIDENT, IS THAT ALL THE SETTLEMENTS AND CITIES AROUND THE WORLD HAVE BEEN BUILT OVER TIME, AND ARE DEAR TO THE INHABITANTS OF THAT REGION. THE VESTED INTEREST OF THE EXISTING IS PREVALENT AND MEANINGFUL. THE SNAP SHOTS OF THE CITIES REVEALED THE HISTORICAL TRAPPINGS THAT PEOPLE LIVE IN AND WANT TO PRESERVE.

THE CONCLUSION WAS TO UPGRADE THE CITIES. YOU DO NOT GO OUT AND BUILD MORE NEW CITIES ON VIRGIN LAND, BUT YOU START WITH THE EXISTING CITIES AND PRESERVE THE BUILDINGS AND ALLOW THE BUILDING PATTERNS OF DEVELOPMENT TO CONTINUE WITHIN PRESENT SOCIAL AND PLANNING FRAMEWORK.

A PITCH THAT COINCIDES WITH A DESIRED RESEARCH LAB WHERE I CAN DEVELOP SCHEMES TO SHOW A DIRECTION OF HOW EXISTING CITIES CAN DEVELOP. NO TAKERS YET, BUT FEEL THIS IS THE WAY TO GET MY IDEAS REFINED AND HEARD.

I FIRST WANTED TO DEAL WITH LA, SF AND NEW YORK ON A SPECIFIC BASIS THAT SHOWED HOW A SYSTEM COULD BE APPLIED TO ALL OF THEM.

WHAT IS OBVIOUS IS THAT A CITY CAN ONLY BE CHANGED BY ASPECTS THE CITY GOVERNMENT CONTROLS. THE STREET SYSTEM BEING IN THE OWNERSHIP OF THE CITY AND MAINTAINED FOR COMMON GOOD AND ZONING LAWS THAT SHAPE CITIES .

ALL THE CITIES OF THE WORLD HAVE STREETS, THEY VARY IN PATTENS, BUT THE DOMINATE PATTERN IS THE GRID IRON, ESPECIALLY IN THE USA.
IT IS A MODULAR SYSTEM THAT BECOMES A REFERENCE POINT TO ORGANIZE AND BUILD ON. THE GRID MAKING IMMEDIATE AWARENESS OF LOCATION.

SO I SELECTED A GENERIC GRID OF 400′ BY 800′ TO LAY OUT THE CITY . CITIES VARY WITH THE SIZING OF THE GRID, AND OFTEN CHANGE DIRECTION OF GRIDS. ALL DOABLE WITH THE TROPISPHERE.

MY INTIAL IMPULSE WAS TO BUILD PYAMID BUILDINGS THAT LEANED TOWARDS THE SUN. SINCE THE COMPETITION WAS TITLED , SKY SCRAPER. THE ADVANTAGE BEING TO LET SUN LIGHT GET TO THE GROUND. I PULLED BACK WITH A SECOND SCHEME TO GIVE PROPERTY AIR RIGHTS ABOVE. THE SCHEME WAS VERTICAL OFF THE SOUTH CORNER AND TAPERED BACK TO THE NORTH CORNER. THE BUILDING BEING 5.00O FEET WHEN THE FOOTPRINT WAS A COUPLE OF BLOCKS. ALL A BIT TOO RIDICULOUS. THE VERTICAL IMAGE A WORKABLE SCHEME. WHY FIGHT GRAVITY, JUST MAKE A SIMPLE CANTILEVER SHAPE PROJECTING OUT OF THE GROUND. THE ELEVATORS ON THE VERTICAL SOUTH CORNER. I FIND THE TRANS AMERICAN BUILDING IN SAN FRANCISCO DISTURBING WITH THE ELEVATORS MASS PROJECTION VIOLATING THE CLEAN PYRAMID SHAPE. BUT TRANS AM PROVED THE VALIDITY OF THE POPULAR SHAPE.


0 BOTTOM DRAWING AS IS EXISTING
1 MIDDLE COVERING THE DOWNTOWN CORE
2 TOP COVERING THE ENTIRE CITY

I MADE A DESIGN LEAP TO PUT A ROOF OVER THE CITY. HUGE BUILDINGS WOULD BE EVERY 1/2 MILE ON THE GRID TO SUPPORT THE ROOF STRUCTURE..

THE GROWTH PATTERN BEING EXISTING TALL BUILDINGS IN CENTER CORES AND THEN GETTING TALLER BUILDINGS AS DEVELOPMENT MOVED OUT FROM THE CENTER TO THE SURROUNDING AREAS OF THE CITY TO CREATE HIGHER DENSITY. THE PROBLEM OF ATTACHING TO THE GROUND AT THE PERIMETER, WITHOUT MAJOR DISRUPTION PUSHED ME AWAY FROM THIS IDEA, BECAUSE THE PERIMETER WOULD BE CONSTANTLY CHANGING AS THE CITY GREW.

I TOOK A BROAD LOOK AT WHAT I WAS DOING AND SAID IT WAS NOT REALISTIC . BUILDING HUGE BUILDINGS FOR SUPPORTS WAS TOO MUCH INVESTMENT THAT THE CITY COULD NOT CONTROL. ALSO THE TENT DID NOT REQUIRE BUILDINGS FOR THE RELATIVE MINOR COMPRESSION LOADS OF THE ROOF.


THE PREMISE OF ADVANTAGES OF A CONSTANT MODERATE TEMPERATURE , I AM NOT SURE WHERE IT CAME FROM. MAYBE LIVING IN OREGON WITH WEATHER THAT ONE HAD TO DEAL WITH CONSTANTLY MADE ME THINK OF THE TROPICS, WHERE I HAVE SPENT LOTS OF TIME. I REMEMBER THE EAST GERMAN DOCTORS IN MANAGUA RAVING HOW WONDERFUL NICARAGUA WAS, I LIVING IN LA AT THE TIME WAS NOT ALL THAT CONVINCED, BECAUSE THE HEAT IN NICARAGUA GREETED ME AS A BLAST FURNACE AS I STEPPED OFF THE PLANE.


MOVING AWAY FROM BUILDINGS AS SUPPORT POINTS I DECIDED TO HAVE LIGHT WEIGHT MASTS AS SUPPORT POINTS.
THE STREETS OFFER THE PERFECT PLACE TO MAKE A SUPPORT POINT THAT CAN BE IMPLEMENTED WHEN NEEDED. THE ROOF IS PART OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT CAN BE CONTROLLED BY THE CITY FOR THE GOOD OF THE CITIZENS.

RATHER THAN THE ROOF EXPANDING OVER TIME, THE SCHEME BUILDS THE ROOF AT ONE TIME, AND CONFINES THE GROWTH TO AN MANAGEABLE DENSE AREA. MOST CITIES HAVE CORE DOWNTOWNS. A COUPLE OF MILES BY A COUPLE OF MILES.

THE GENERIC SITE WAS A VERSION OF LA AND DETROIT DOWNTOWNS. A BODY OF WATER ON ONE SIDE AND SURROUNDED BY FREEWAYS. A RATHER TYPICAL PATTERN IN US CITIES.

NOTICE THE BALL PARK, STADIUM, AND ABUNDANT PARKS.

THE GLUE GUN AND BALSA WOOD MODEL TOLD THE STORY, BUT OFFERED A REAL CHALLENGE TO CONVEY DETAILS IN ANY DEEPTH. SO RATHER THAN MAKE A COUPLE OF POWERFUL IMAGES, I OPTED TO TELL THE STORY WITH DRAWINGS THAT I COULD SHOW A LOT OF DETAIL, PLANS, ELEVATIONS AND SECTIONS.


THE TOP IMAGE IS VIRGIN LAND, SHOWING WHAT THE COUNTRYSIDE WAS LIKE BEFORE WE STARTED TO MESS WITH THE LAND.

THE SECOND IMAGE WAS THE BUILD DOWNTOWN CITY. NOTICE THE HILLS IN THE DISTANCE ARE COVERED WITH DEVELOPMENT.

THE THIRD IMAGE IS THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE BUILT. FIRST BEING THE REMODEL OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE ROAD SYSTEM. BUILT IN A FEW YEARS, THUS PROVIDING THE FOUNDATION FOR THE ROOF ERECTION IN A YEAR WITH PRE FABRICATED PARTS. NOTICE THE HILLS IN THE DISTANCE ARE STILL COVERED WITH DEVELOPMENT.

THE THIRD IMAGE IS A MATURE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE WITH MANY NEW SKYSCRAPERS, PARKS AND ACTIVITIES. THE HILLS IN THE BACKGROUND ARE RETURNED TO OPEN LAND. THE POPULOUS PREFER THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE.

THE BOTTOM BIRDS EYE IMAGE CONVEYING THAT OUTSIDE THE PERIMETER OF THE TROPISPHERE THE LAND HAS BEEN RESTORED TO PARKS, AGRICULTURE, AND WILDERNESS. AN IMMEDIATE RUSH OF NATURE WITH A FULL DOSE. THAT MEANS ANNUAL FLOWERS, AUTUMN LEAVES, SNOW STORMS, BLISTERING HEAT, AND MOSQUITOS, NATURE ON ITS OWN TERMS. JUST A FEW MINUTES WALK, DRIVE, OR PUBLIC TRANSIT RIDE FROM THE TROPISPHERE.

THE STREET GRID RUNS THROUGHOUT ALL THE DRAWINGS TO SHOW THE MODULAR OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE OLD AND NEW IN ELEVATION AND PLAN.

AERIAL SKETCH DEPICTING HOW THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE WOULD EXPAND ON A REGIONAL SCALE. INITIALLY THE EXISTING DEVELOPMENT ON THE LANDSCAPE WOULD STAY IN PLACE. SLOWLY THE LAND WOULD REVERT BACK TO AGRICULTURE, PARKS, AND WILDERNESS AS PEOPLE MOVED INTO THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE. THE TRANSPORTATION ARTERIES AND SURFACE STREETS WOULD CONNECT THE DOWNTOWNS. I DABBLED WITH THE IDEA THAT THE TRANSPORTATION ARTERIES MIGHT BE COVERED TOO, BUT THIS IS NOT NECESSARY.

TO BE CONTINUED.

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15 comments

  1. ALL QUIET ON COMMENTS. IS THIS SCHEME TOO RADICAL?,
    OR IS PERCEIVED AS CRAZY? AFTER DEVOTING A MAJOR PART OF MY LIFE TO MAKING PROPOSALS. I FEEL CONFIDENT THAT IF THIS SCHEME WAS BUILT,IT WOULD BE A HUGE SUCCESS FOR THE POPULOUS AND THE ENVIRONMENT.

    IS NOT THAT THE OBJECTIVE , TO SOLVE PROBLEMS?

    I READ AN EXTENSIVE ARTICLE ON THE AVALANCHE OF OF NEW CITIES BEING BUILT IN CHINA, THE DRIVING FORCE TO BE DIFFERENT AND RADICAL TO BRING ATTENTION. THIS DOES ALL THAT, BUT IT IS SANE AS WELL. THE SEVERE WEATHER CONDITION IN CHINA ARE APPROPRIATE TO USE THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE DESIGN.

    THE YOUTH IN CHINA ARE THE DEVELOPERS THAT COULD MAKE A HUGE CREATIVE LEAP OVER THE EXISTING APPROACH OF BUILDING THAT WOULD ALTER URBAN DEVELOPMENT FOREVER.

    ALL DOABLE, DO YOU NOT AGREE?

    GLEN

  2. ERIC,

    A VISION. I ASK YOU, DO ARCHITECTS TALK ABOUT LARGE SCALE VISIONS. IS IT NOT IN THEIR WORLD OF INTERESTS. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE THAT IS NEW OTHER THAN THE SCALE. THE SCALE SEPARATES THE MEN FROM THE BOYS, AND FEW FEEL COMFORTABLE VENTURING THERE. GLEN PAULSEN MY MENTOR AT CRANBROOK, WHO HEADED THE ARCHITECTURAL PROGRAM, WORKED FOR ERRO SAARINEN, TAUGHT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN FOR DECADES, TOLD ME, RECENTLY THAT I WAS THE ONLY STUDENT IN HIS LONG PROFESSORIAL CAREER WHO ADDRESSED THE LARGE URBAN SCALE WITH MY BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. THE KEY TO THAT COMMENT BEING THE LARGE URBAN SCALE. DOES ANYBODY CARE? DOES ANYBODY KNOW? WHERE? HOW? WHEN? WHO?WHY?

    THE BOTTOM LINE BEING, THERE IS NO MONEY IN IT. BUT LIKE BUYING IN BULK, YOU GET KILLED WHEN YOU BUY ONE ITEM AT A TIME, BECAUSE YOU CAN ONLY AFFORD TO DO SO. IN NICARAGUA IT IS LAUNDRY SOAP. THEY SELL IT IN TINY PACKAGES FOR A DIME FOR A WASH AND LARGER BOXES FOR A DOLLAR. THE LARGER BOXES BEING TEN TIMES A BETTER BUY FOR THE AMOUNT OF SOAP. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS WITH CITIES. REVAMP THE STREET FURNITURE, RATHER THAN ADDRESSING THE TRAFFIC JAM. THINK BIG IS NOT ON THE RADAR SCREEN.

    GLEN

    • Glen, i cant agree more. Few if any architects, planners, politicians have ‘big’ ideas now. Utopian ideas get conflated with ideology, and ideological thinking is today passe, and suspect. A residue of of the cold war. We live in a time of small ideas, practical solutions, concept by consensus. The end of ideology they say, but really just covered with a moth-eaten blanket.

      The issues and problems of the planet are huge and need big not small ideas to inspire and aim for. Let us continue to eat away the blanket.

      eric chavkin

      • ERIC,

        WE AGREE ABOUT THE OBVIOUS. THE LAST TIME ARCHITECTS TOOK ON THE URBAN DESIGN ISSUES WAS IN THE MID SIXTIES . METABOLISTS, SOLERI, SUPER STUDIO, ARCHIGRAM, BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE ETC. NEIMEYER, CUMBERNAUL, LONDON HOUSING , EXPO 67 . OSAKA 70, THE MOVEMENT AND INTEREST WAS IN MOTION, BUT THE DOWNSIDE WAS THAT IT WAS TOO DIFFICULT TO GET THE DREAMS BUILT. SO THERE WAS A RETREAT OR ABANDONMENT OF THINKING BIG. A BACKLASH TO SINGLE BUILDINGS.

        AT THE MOMENT CHINA IS THE ONLY PLACE TO THINK BIG.

        DUBAI HAD ITS DAY AND IS PULLING BACK.

        THE USA IS MODERATION PERSONIFIED. NO BIG IDEAS NOW. ONLY IN THE MOVIES.

        GLEN

  3. Big ideas are usually implemented incrementally, and in this country by entrepreneurs who can profit from them. Doing things because they make sense in a larger context doesn’t seem to be the American modus operandi.

    Perhaps the freeway system is an example of a publicly funded infrastructure project at large scale? I think the railways were mostly privately funded.

    The practical difficulty I see with Glen’s proposal is that you are either building brand new cities (which is an extremely rare occurrence), or you’re “interfering” with large amounts of the existing building stock, which comes with vested interests, politics and other barriers to progress.

    The idea alone is not enough: it will only happen if you can show someone who has the money how to make money from doing it.

  4. TIM,

    EXCELLENT OVERVIEW OF WHAT DRIVES CHANGE.

    THERE ARE THREE DISTINCT PARTS OF THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE :

    THE MODULAR STRUCTURAL EARTH SYSTEM

    THE UPGRADED STREET SYSTEMS

    THE CANOPY ROOF TENT

    THE ROOF SYSTEM NEEDS TO BUILT ALL AT ONCE AND DOES NOT DEPEND ON THE EARTH SYSTEM AND STREET SYSTEM.

    THE STAGING WOULD BE : ROOF FIRST AND EARTH AND STREET SYSTEM AUGMENTED AS POSSIBLE.

    I AM IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING A ROUGH ESTIMATE OF THE ROOF.
    THE SAVINGS OF HAVING A ROOF ARE HUGE AND NEED A DETAILED DOCUMENT TO MAKE IT HAPPEN, BUT YOU ARE RIGHT THE MONEY WILL BE THE MOTIVATOR.

    THE VESTED INTEREST TO NOT HAVE IT HAPPEN WILL BE HUGE. HAVING A CONSISTENT TEMPERATURE, ELIMINATES A TON OF TRADES AND MATERIALS. TAKE THE BUSINESSES OF INSULATION, WEATHER STRIPPING, AIR CONDITIONING, HEATING, SNOW REMOVAL, CLIMATE POWER SYSTEMS,

    THERE IS THE FACTOR OF BEING THE FIRST TO DRAW TOURISTS AND NEW DEVELOPMENT. THAT CAN BE SPUN TO MAKE MONEY. A FUNCTIONAL GREEN DISNEYLAND TO ESCAPE TO.

    THE DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE IS DESIGNED FOR EXISTING DEVELOPED CITY CORES. YES IT COULD BE BUILT AS A NEW TOWN, AND PROBABLY BE CHEAPER TO BUILD. THE REMODEL IDEA WAS THE MOTIVATOR TO SAVE THE HISTORICAL AND VESTED INTERESTS OF THE CITIES WORLD WIDE.

    GLEN

  5. Hi Glen,
    I feel that it is important to have identified a city, for the downtown tropisphere.
    I would love to see it in Dubai, but hate to see it in Sydney.
    Dubai probably needs it and would end up being a great tourist attraction. I would surely visit just to experience it.
    Sydney does not need another bubble, we humans are already enclosed in too many bubbles – home, car, train, work, etc. It feels nice to be human…experience rain, feel the cold/heat, not feel enclosed – even if the enclosure is 2000 feet above.
    I’m sure Tom Cruise would love the Trop… as I hear he confines himself to temperatures between 22 and 23 degrees c. Who knows he might be your answer to make Mission Impossible, possible.

    • MITM,

      NICE OF YOU TO RETURN TO THE PLAYING FIELD.

      YOUR OBJECTION IS VERY CONSERVATIVE. BECAUSE THE WEATHER IS JUST A FEW MINUTES AWAY TO EXPERIENCE IN THE TROPISPHERE. WHAT YOU CONSIDER AS DELIGHTFUL TO OTHERS IS MISERY. I KNOW A WOMAN HERE IN OREGON THAT WILL NOT TAKE A WALK IN THE RAIN. MY WIIFE FOUND OREGON TO BE COLD ALL THE TIME. I MUST SAY I WOULD RATHER OBSERVE A MINII SKIRT TO A DOWN PARKA.

      BUT DIFFERENCES ARE TO BE EXPECTED. DO YOU HAVE A WAY OF CONTACTING TOM?

      KEEP CLOSE,

      GLEN

  6. Hi Glen,

    What I mean is the cost of this kind of proposal would only make sense to me in extreme climates and tourist destinations like Dubai, not in a place like Sydney where I do not mind it being a little hot or little cold. Of course once I become older my views on rain and the weather will definately change like the woman you know in Oregon.

    Also is it not possible to have certain areas of the roof at lower levels, and the top of the lower level roofs be utilised for parks, etc which can also act as a break away point for experiencing the heat/cold/natural weather and getting out of the bubble?

    Tom seems to have changed his phone no. as he no longer takes my calls :)
    You should probably google him and see if he is on facebook/twitter and try your luck there.

    Cheers

    • MITM

      OH THE YOUTH, ALL THAT EFFORT TO STAY COMFORTABLE IS FUN, BUT A WASTE OF ENERGY, TIME, AND MONEY.

      THE TROPISPHERE IS THE COST EFFECTIVE AND NATURAL WAY TO GO.

      TOOK YOUR ADVISE AND SENT TOM AN INVITATION TO COME ON MY WORLD CRUISE.

      GLEN

  7. Hi Glen, Thinking about this more. And as connected to your other works.

    Tropisphere and, well, alot of the other works, use a strategy of MICRO-CLIMATE change. It is not so much about architecture as Environmental Re-design(s). Architects are about objects, attracted to objects, and see works as objects. Easier to grasp, I suspect.
    eric

    • ERIC,

      YOU ARE CORRECT ABOUT ARCHITECTS BEING INTO OBJECTS, BUT AS CORBU AND OTHER ARCHITECTS GOT INTO THE CONCERNS OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AROUND THEM THE NATURAL EXTENSION WAS TO THE URBAN SCALE.

      WHAT DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE DOES IS SET UP A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF DEALING WITH ARCHITECTURE AWAY FROM THE VAST MAJORITY OF WEATHER CONCERNS, THE RULES ARE CHANGED, THE PALLET IS DIFFERENT, BUT THE ARCHITECTURE LIVES ON. PROTECTING THE EXISTING AND BUILDING THE NEW.

      THE SITE IS NOW IN THE IDEAL MODERATE TROPICS THAT ALLOW FOR EATING OFF THE TREES. BUT ALL THE PLANNING ISSUES STILL PREVAIL. A NEW SHEET OF PAPER OR COMPUTER SCREEN TO CREATE NEW BUILDINGS. THE SITE OOZES WITH PLANTS AND WATER, HEALTHY FOR THE HUMAN SPECIES TO ROAM ABOUT.

      GLEN

  8. The theme and strategy of Micro-climate design separates your work from others. I think that differs you from the ‘green’ cartoon renderings that are fantastic on the surface but make little sense architecturally. Nevertheless the object/process is still needs to be rendered — probably as a didactic. I still like the storyboard approach: It presents a process as single object. And answers the obvious Q. Why?

    I also like the tactic of demonstration prototypes. These can be put together as showplaces. Greg Davis did one downtown LA for cooling.

    Some quaestion? How large in area does a prototype need to be in size to demonstrate significant temperature change? And is there any data, or math model that graphs temp rise vrs area. The math is pretty straightforward here. I think that those Q’s need to be addressed, quantified. That is ” if you go this , you get that” sort of equation / conversation.
    /

    • ERIC,

      THESE ARE ALL GOOD SUGGESTIONS AND QUESTIONS, BUT THE TROPISPHERE IS AN IDEA THAT NEEDS COMPETENT CREATIVE MINDS TO MAKE IT WORK CORRECTLY. I AM THE VISIONARY URGING INVESTIGATION AND SOLUTIONS.

      DOES ANYONE OUT THERE RELATE?

      GLEN

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