The term “skyscraper” originated in the late 19th century and was applied to buildings at least 10 storeys tall.

While buildings over 10 storeys amazed people living in or visiting cities like Chicago and New York at the time, we can bet they’d be absolutely floored to see the designs and the sheer height of buildings that we’re constructing now.

But what does the future hold for the skyscraper? As we can see from the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the race to build the tallest building in the world is still raging. However, height isn’t the only consideration these days.

The annual Skyscraper Competition held by the architecture magazine, eVolo, consistently receives submissions that push the envelope in terms of how we define high rises. It recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design through implementation of novel technologies, materials, aesthetics and programs.

Below are some amazing submissions eVolo has received. You’ll feel exactly like someone from the 1890s marveling at the Burj Khalifa today. These skyscrapers are truly mind bending!

A high-rise designed to clean New Delhi’s air. It is meant to act as a giant lung and contains a series of massive greenhouses that would act as filters. This was the winning design in 2011’s eVolo contest
Are horizontal skyscrapers the way of the future. The authors of this submission think so! This building would have a horizontal span that compares to the height of the Burj Khalifa.
The “Living Mountain” is meant to shelter humanity from possible harsh environmental conditions in the future.
Designed for Jakarta, this eccentric building is meant to purify the water from the Ciluwung River with a huge series of filters.
The flower petal-esque structure of this tower is meant to take advantage of prevailing winds in order to heat and cool the building.

Doesn’t the Empire State Building seem a bit dull now? Heck, even the Burj Khalifa is looking like child’s play. It may be a little while until anything resembling these structures is built, but until then we can dream!

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