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Natural Awakenings

Bunker Hunker: Down is the New Up

Designer Matthew Fromboluti, of Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri, has turned conventional wisdom about modern construction upside-down with his architectural design, Above/Below, submitted for the eVolo Skyscraper Competition. His underground skyscraper would theoretically fill a 900-foot-deep, 300-acrewide crater left by the Lavender Pit copper mine, in Bisbee, Arizona.

A cone-shaped, inverted tower would allow people to live, work and even grow food in a huge cavern, covered by a dome. The building is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature via a passive climate-control system suited to the hot desert environment. A solar chimney provides natural ventilation as the sun heats the air at the surface, causing it to rise and draw cooler air up through vents at the bottom. The moving air passes through wind turbines at the top of the chimney, generating electricity.

Fromboluti’s aim is to atone for the mine’s destruction of the landscape by finding new ways to harvest the energy that went into excavating it, suggesting that no design should be considered “off the table” when planning for the future.


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