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Revealed: plans for growing East End tower made from waste

Paris-based Chartier-Corbasson has designed an organic tower for Shoreditch which would build itself from recycled waste

The concept for the office skyscraper is based on the use of bamboo in Asia, which is still used as scaffolding even for some high-rise buildings.

Instead of bamboo, the tower would be held together using a criss-cross of metal pipes which would act like a permanent scaffolding for the structure.

According to the practice, the skyscraper is ‘in keeping with London’s history of architectural endeavour’ and a realistic approach to constructing tall buildings: ‘To conceive a skyscraper growing vertically is a very pertinent idea, particularly natural and adapted to London.

‘The scaffolding structure allows a continuous growth, inspired by the vegetal world, while developing an aesthetic of this evolution. By using exclusively one single size of tube, profile or structure, not unlike bamboo scaffoldings, work on site is limited to assembling (no cutting, whether the structure be made of wood or steel). All elements are prefabricated, limiting nuisances on the site and allowing cohabitation of offices.’

Though organic buildings are not new - a temporary tower titled ‘Hy-Fi’ designed by New York studio The Living opened in MoMA’s PS1 space earlier this year as part of the Museums Young Architects Program - they are rarely conceived on such a scale.

Wall panels within the tower would be made of recycled paper or compressed plastic bottles and the practice has calculated that occupants of the tower would provide enough material to supply a surface façade for a floor like one they occupy each year.

Organic bamboo tower in Shoreditch

Organic bamboo tower in Shoreditch

The tubes within the structure would also house mini-wind turbines which would generate electricity. Chartier-Corbasson said that by adding levels only when needed it would cut down the up-front construction costs.

The practice added: ‘On this structure, floors, a skin are grafted: the idea is to use the office’s production - mainly paper, plastics (bottles) to make up the different elements of the building. Other productions, like glass will be collected at a larger scale to make other elements.

A tower-crane is avoided; enough lifts or goods lifts are reserved for the building site, thereby creating an aesthetic of growth inspired by the organic world: like coral, the building is self-generated by these occupants that produce its structure.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • "Wall panels within the tower would be made of recycled paper or compressed plastic bottles" I wonder what the passive fire protection industry will make of that! If the fire compartments do hold out then the chlorine based acids released in a fire from the hydrocarbon plastics will corrode everything including stainless steel as the smoke will still get through to many floors.

    I also wonder what the vibrations from all the mini turbines will do to the structure when they are all wizzing away. Probably less than the useless turbines on the Strata.

    I know that Hackney seems to get the green tower blocks with Waugh Thistleton's Stadthaus CLT structure in Murray Grove - But how does this CLT building withstand the pressure of a gas explosion (they appear to have a gas supply for the hobs)? How do you repair it when a slow leak over years has caused the CLT to rot?

    There are lots of new concepts out in the architectural world and I am now finding it harder and harder to work out how to repair and maintain them.

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