Stackable Factories Proposal Wins Second Place in eVolo Competition

rendering of multi level building set in a city
A competition entry board for Vertical Factories.
multisession competition entry with renderings, plans, sections
Detailed competition entry for Vertical Factories.
A competition entry board for Vertical Factories. Detailed competition entry for Vertical Factories.
April 24, 2017

Architecture graduate students Tianshu Liu (M.Arch.II '17) and Linshen Xie (M.Arch.II '17) were recently awarded second place in the prestigious eVolo 2017 Skyscraper Competition.

The competition, established in 2006, recognizes "visionary ideas for building high-rise projects that, through the novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations, challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments," according to the competition website.

Liu and Xie's entry, titled Vertical Factories in Megacities, investigates the benefits of moving factories back to urban areas. Using metropolitan Manila as an example, the proposal details how redesigning and relocating high-rise factories into the capital region would address issues including waste management, drainage and flooding, and reuse of organic waste to create fertilizer, heat, and electricity.

"Factories used to be noisy and polluting, and so they were moved outside of cities," says Xie. "But now, factories are cleaner and could have a new place in the urban environment." Vertical Factories calls for a series of alternating architectural layers — factories and recreational areas stacked together to create a vertical structure. Each recreational layer would feed off of the waste and resources of these factories.

"This is the vision we have for the cities of tomorrow," says Liu. "Factories can be dissolved into small pieces and then be stacked together into high-rise structures. By bringing factories back to the city, we can achieve zero CO2 emissions, be energy efficient, and provide a higher quality of life to the inhabitants." The proposal also argues that moving industry back into the city would allow easier commutes for employees, and bring factories closer to populations of skilled workers, suppliers, and technical and research centers.

This year's eVolo competition drew 444 entries from around the world. The jury included Eric Bunge, principal, nArchitects; Manuelle Gautrand, principal, Manuelle Gautrand Architecture; Ferda Kolatan, founding director, su11; Andrea Morgante, principal, Shiro Studio; Marcos Novak, professor and director, transLAB; Yitan Sun, winner, 2016 Skyscraper Competition; Boštjan Vuga, principal, Sadar+Vuga; and Jianshi Wu, winner, 2016 Skyscraper Competition.

The second-place prize includes $2,000 and a showcase in eVolo magazine.

By Rebecca Bowes