Polar ice cap-building umbrella wins
eVolo Skyscraper Competition 2013

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News: a conceptual proposal for huge buoyant umbrellas that rebuild polar ice caps has been awarded first prize in this year's eVolo Skyscraper Competition.

Designed by American architect Derek Pirozzi, the Polar Umbrella concept would see giant umbrella-shaped structures freeze sea water to replenish arctic ice shelves in areas worst affected by global warming.

eVolo Skyscraper Competition 2013 winners

The vast canopies would harvest solar energy and reduce heat gain underneath, and be integrated with a system of polyethylene pipes to pump up brackish water. The structures would contain a desalinisation plant, research facilities and accommodation, plus use salt water to produce renewable energy by osmosis.

eVolo Skyscraper Competition 2013 winners

An idea to use stacks of modular, prefabricated housing units to regenerate industrial neighbourhoods in Paris (above) came second in the competition and third place was awarded to a floating city extension suspended beneath a giant balloon (below).

eVolo Skyscraper Competition 2013 winners

Organised by architecture magazine eVolo, the annual competition recognises inventive and futuristic skyscraper proposals. A tower constructed from rubbish in São Paulo was one of last year's entries.

More fantastical skyscrapers on Dezeen include a tower that uses algae to produce energy and a building with observation decks floated on helium balloons.

See all our stories about skyscraper design »

  • Colonel Pancake

    David Chipperfield and Wang Shu finished in a tie for last place, for their buildings that work.

    • recon::decon

      Let’s be fair, I don’t think eVolo ever made a claim to be interested in rational, functional design: “Organised by architecture magazine eVolo, the annual competition recognises inventive and futuristic skyscraper proposals.”

      • Colonel Pancake

        What’s futuristic about architecture that isn’t practical?

  • cubert

    Uhuh. Drawing competition.

    • mik

      Paying to do competitions just to show off. I don’t know what to think of it. What I know is that this is not architecture or utopian architecture. It’s like cubert says: a drawing competition. Please do continue what you are doing. There’s not enough work for architects.

    • recon::decon

      Did eVolo ever claim to be anything else? Let’s be fair with our criticism here, this wasn’t and has never been a competition about creating conventionally buildable work.

  • michal

    My freezer makes some ice. Am I sustainable?

  • Hugh Jazz

    It’s over? Dammit! I forgot to submit my conceptual perpetuum mobile free energy 3D printing iWatch concept. I was told they really like “experimental” stuff.

    • Christine

      Yep, but you didn’t. Instead you just wasted few seconds of your life with sardonic thoughts.

  • recon::decon

    Can we just take a moment and appreciate these awesome renderings?

    • Colonel Pancake

      No. We can’t.

  • Christine

    What’s wrong with people? Architecture does not need to be one thing or one unique obsession for a unique way of thinking. No wonder architects are losing their grasp on reality. They are out of synch with the world.

  • William Christie

    Just think what wonders could be built if anti-gravity technology truly existed. Perhaps megalithic sized structures could casually glide over our houses, another one of those 1% elite versus the land-bound 99% situations?

  • A sane person

    No. Please, just no.