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Nottingham students shortlisted for skyscraper prize

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A pair of students from the University of Nottingham have been named among the finalists in a skyscraper design contest run by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)

Alex Balchin and Matthew Humphreys were chosen from more than 280 entries for the final round of the contest which is being chaired by WOHA founder Mun Summ Wong.

The two students will present their schemes before the judging panel at the CTBUH annual conference in Shanghai from 16 to 19 September where an overall winner will be chosen.

Balchin’s design – dubbed the ‘Clean Air Tower’ – features self-powered technology which will clean 8,500,000m³ of air each year for the residents and workers of Tianjin.

The project description explained: ‘Air is accelerated through the south facing solar chimney reaching a simulated 8-10ms-1. The air current drives wind turbines at the peak of the tower generating electricity.

‘This electricity is used to power electro-static precipitators to ionise soot and PM2.5 particles in the air current and collect them at oppositely charged plates inside the chimney. This way the toxic particles are sucked out of the air current which is expelled from the peak of the tower, providing clean, healthy air for approximately one square mile of Tianjin.’

Humphreys has meanwhile proposed a ‘Vertical Aquaponic Farm’ which explores the potential for vertical food production in Singapore.

According to the project description: ‘The central part of the tower consists of an ETFE-clad atria, housing an aquaponic growing system for the production of fish and food.

‘The technology of this production is a closed loop cycle whereby the waste from the fish provides nutrients for the plants by bacteria breaking down the ammonia into nitrates. The plants filter the water providing oxygen for the fish as well as off-cuts of the plants being fed to the fish.’

Both finalists are students of the university’s Part 2 tall building design studio.

Course co-director Philip Oldfield said: ‘[Their] projects demonstrate how the tall building typology is evolving from the air-conditioned glass to challenging new ideas for innovative forms and functions, such as vertical farming, or even taking advantage of the stack effect to clean polluted air.

He continued: ‘Their designs show imagination, flair, but also a pragmatic understanding of how high-rise works in terms of structure and engineering.’

The two students are up against rival finalists Hong Seob Ahn; Mikela Marques, Michael Dawson, and Clara Senatore; and Ran Song, Mengyu Li, Chengxing Hou, and Qian Zhang.

 

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