SquareOne and ThyssenKrupp join forces to investigate new urban forms based on MULTI magnetic levitation technology.
“Hanging City” is an investigation of vertical urban growth. It follows the inevitable trend of urban densification to the only available direction- upwards. We believe that the horizontal sprawling of cities will sooner or later come to an end: we are simply becoming too many (UN: estimated population of 9.7 bil. in 2050 at 68% urbanization rate).
Currently, vertical growth is bound to well-known elevator technology. There is a vicious circle at play here. The taller we go, the more lifts we need, but the bigger the core gets , the more floor are we’d better have to make the endeavor worthwhile. But the bigger the floor , the more elevators we need, etc. A classic catch 22.
At the same time, as buildings become increasingly taller and stand increasingly closer to one another, it becomes evident that the ground level is too far away to move from building to building. There must be a way to take a shortcut. And, as it often happens, today’s shortcut might just be tomorrow’s main street.
An urban paradigm shift
We envision a three-dimensional mega-grid that combines towers and multi-story horizontal sectors, towards a 24/7 urban hub for Live, Work and Play. To achieve this, we propose the creation of a second urban level so massive, it will elevate entire social and public functions “up in the air”, in a way that a limited tower floor area would never be able to.
The catalyst: MULTI.
Sky decks have been conceived throughout the 20th century. The transformative idea here is quick and frequent transportation connecting the sky decks with the ground floor in one continuous entity. This is possible through thyssenkrupp’s MULTI magnetic levitation system capable of transporting multiple cabins in two dimensions, not only up-down but also left-right. Such a technology allows us to steer clear of the numbing, unidimensional pragmatism of tall building design, and imagine interconnected environments, informal shapes and massive social activities at higher altitudes.
The Hanging City
What runs at the core of the Hanging City is no longer an elevator, but an internal vertical metro loop, capable of bringing people directly from surface or underground transportation systems (metro, tram, hyperloop, or other) up to a massive urban platform connecting several towers , and back down again. Like a Ferris wheel, only inside buildings.
At its horizontal parts, we visually expose the system by suspending it from the ceiling of a double height space. In this way, the cabin traffic will not interfere with pedestrian movement, and MULTI succeeds in becoming a visual symbol of a new type of metropolitanism. The cabins reach speeds of 8 m/sec and the number of cabins can be easily adapted to rush hour peaks. And it doesn’t matter if you missed one, the next one is coming right up. Like the Yamanote circular line of Tokyo, but at a totally different scale.
SquareOne is looking into today’s technology to find combined answers on urban densification and mobility, real estate value, and integration of new living trends for the metropolis of tomorrow. TEAM: Kostas Poulopoulos (concept developer & design director) , Phivos Sigalas, Marion Le Coq, Maria Makri VISUALS: Vero Visuals