- Aikaterini Paitazoglou
Today Manhattan is on a high point of an unprecedented tall building boom that is radically changing the skyline. The tower can be considered a form, symbol or an archetype that is fundamental to human culture. It has an ancient genealogy and primary psychic reality rooted in both the physical context of the organic world. It is of extreme importance to understand basic nature when it comes to creating human living conditions. Biomimicry helps architects strengthen design features.
This Stem Tower is a proposal for a residential skyscraper in the Upper West side housing 624 units. The 156 storey tower appears among the rest of the evolved skyline. The central concept evolves around the value of efficiency. Efficiency is critical to the design process of tall buildings because of their large scale, repetitive components and extreme verticality. The design is influenced by biomimicry focusing on the idea of “phylotaxis”.
Phyllotaxis or phyllotaxy is the arrangement of leaves on a plant stem ( from Ancient Greek phýllon “leaf” and táxis “arrangement”) where R (1/2, 1/3, 2/5, 3/8, 5/13, 8/21…) equals the angular spiral divergence of one leaf from another. The leaf always turns its upper side towards the light coming from the sun in the sky, so it can receive maximum exposure for its photosynthesis. Light feeds the plant and initiates their growth. The Stem Tower in a similar way is arranged and grows from bottom to top like a plant, focusing on the basic needs of humans which is access to natural light.
The Stem Tower units act as plant leaves and allow each apartment a unique view of a typical horizontal access point but also a vertical one, providing skylights in the ceiling that spiral up to the top with minimum overlap like in a plant.