Los Angeles studios design five radical building concepts for P.O.D.System Architecture

From a spherical live-work complex to a high-rise cat tower, we look back at the five conceptual buildings created for adidas and Dezeen's P.O.D.System Architecture project.

P.O.D.System Architecture is a collaboration between Dezeen and adidas Originals, which called on architects to create a series of unique conceptual buildings based on the story behind the P.O.D.System shoe.

Launched in 2018, P.O.D.System is a new lifestyle sneaker by adidas Originals. The shoe's distinctive feature is a "podular" outsole made up of three components, each featuring a different shock-absorbing technology taken from the sports brand's recent history.

Dezeen identified five Los Angeles-based architecture studios – Neil M Denari ArchitectsDesign, BitchesBrooks + ScarpaStandard Architecture and Bureau Spectacular – and commissioned each of them to design an architecture concept that responds to the P.O.D.System maxim: "Great alone, better together".

We produced a short video about each design, which you can watch below:

adidasphere by Neil M Denari Architects

Neil Denari designed a 15-storey spherical structure, which incorporates 80 pods that function as spaces for both living and working. Interwoven amongst the pods are running ramps and paths for pedestrians, as well as silos for vertical farming.

Denari claims in that video that the project incorporates "a whole world of sustainable ideas that represent the collective nature of living in cities".

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Stomping Grounds by Design, Bitches

Design, Bitches created a series of pavilions that come together to form a conceptual park. Each of the pavilions is intended to host a different activity, which the studio combined in unusual ways to encourage different kinds of social interactions.

"We combined a skateboarding ramp, a pool and a performance stage together," Design, Bitches co-founder Rebecca Rudolph explains in the movie. "They allow for the spontaneous creation of new kinds of activities to happen."

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P.O.D.Plexus by Standard Architecture

Standard Architecture's contribution is a modular system of pathways and vaulted pods, which could be used to build elevated megastructures over any landscape.

"It could be a house in the desert, it could be an island resort, or it could be a colony on Mars," Standard Architecture co-founder Jeffrey Allsbrook explains in the film. "It would give you a new perspective on the landscape, just by putting this structure there."

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Vortex Generator by Brooks + Scarpa

Brooks + Scarpa proposed an inflatable structure that merges a public pavilion with a renewable energy power plant. It features both solar panels and lightning rods on top, and rises up during a storm to capture electrical energy.

"When the sun is out, it is essentially a deflated structure," Brooks + Scarpa principal Angela Brooks explains in the movie. "When a storm comes across, it rises three-hundred feet to harness the energy of lightning."

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Architectural Voltron: Cats and Socks by Bureau Spectacular

Bureau Spectacular built a 1:100 scale model of a mixed-use development, which comprises a group of five high-rise buildings. As well as representing an architectural concept, the model is designed to be used as a toy for cats to climb on, and can also be taken apart to create five individual pieces of furniture.

"It works on multiple scales as a conceptual exercise," Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular explains in the film.

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