Dezeen Magazine

Telosa city

Bjarke Ingels designing "new city in America" for five million people

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is master planning a city called Telosa for entrepreneur Marc Lore, which is set to be built "from scratch" in the US desert.

Announced on Twitter by Ingels' architecture studio BIG, Telosa would be built on an unoccupied 150,000-acre site in the western United States.

"Our vision is to create a new city in America that sets a global standard for urban living, expands human potential and becomes a blueprint for future generations," said a statement from Telosa.

bjarke ingels portrait against wood panelled wall
Telosa (top) is being designed by architect Bjarke Ingels (above)

The city is the idea of Lore, an entrepreneur and former CEO of e-commerce at retailer Walmart, who sold his start-up website to the supermarket giant for $3.3 billion in 2016.

Lore's idea is to acquire a large plot of land that would be donated to a community endowment so that its increasing value could fund the city's development and improve the resident's welfare.

Telosa to be built on community-owned land

"There's a finite amount of land and that land was claimed generations ago – communities were created, tax dollars were used to invest in the land, and therefore the land increased in value over time with landowners not having to produce anything or take any risk," explains Lore on the Telosa website.

Marc Lore
Telosa is the idea of entrepreneur Marc Lore. Photo is by Phurleyusa

"Land could essentially go from a barren piece of desert to a modern-day city worth billions, or even trillions," he continued.

"It got me asking even more questions and thinking about a potential solution. What if that land had been owned by a community endowment?"

Envisioned to grow to a population of five million over the next 40 years, the organisers are aiming to create a city for 50,000 people by 2030.

Aim is to be "the most sustainable city in the world"

Broadly based on the principles of urbanist Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities in the UK, the city would have a density of around 33 people per acre – broadly equivalent to that of San Francisco.

According to Lore, building Telosa from scratch would allow it to become "the most sustainable city in the world".

City in US desert designed by Bjarke Ingels
The city would be built from scratch

"My focus turned to making Telosa the most sustainable city in the world," he explained. "From global warming to water and energy – how can we do better for future generations? And what technology and other innovations in policy and design can we embed in the city that is only possible because of the fact that we’re building it from scratch?"

"Just imagine what's possible with sustainable building materials, autonomous vehicles, electric aircraft, and underground movement of materials."

Viewing tower to stand at centre of city

The city would contain "diverse housing options" that "are accessible to all". An image of BIG's Dortheavej Residence in Copenhagen was used to illustrate the section on Telosa's website.

A large viewing tower dubbed Equitism would be built at the centre, which would be surrounded by a series of blocky high-rises.

Equitism tower in Telosa city
The Equitism tower would be built at the centre of the city

"Rising from the lush central park of Telosa, Equitism tower is a beacon for the City," explained the Telosa website.

"The inviting civic and lookout areas bring visitors and residents together. A photovoltaic roof, elevated water storage, and aeroponic farms enable the structure to share and distribute all it produces."

Ingels is the founder of BIG, one of the world's most successful architecture studios. He recently launched a home design company that aims to "reimagine the way we build our homes".

He is also drawing up a master plan for the whole planet to "prove that a sustainable human presence on planet Earth is attainable with existing technologies".

Renders courtesy of BIG.