new horizon Image: eVolo

What do a sunken Central Park, a control terminal for drones and a sustainable database server have in common? They’ve been named the winners of eVolo Magazine’s 10th annual Skyscraper Competition. While the designs are not conventional in any sense — really, that’s the point of the competition — they address many of the challenges of 21st-century urbanization.

Yitan Sun and Jinashi Wu of the United States took home the top honor for their New York Horizon project. The team conceptualized a continuous, horizontal mega structure that runs along the perimeter of New York’s Central Park. Rather than building up, they suggest digging down 100 feet to reveal the area’s hilly bedrock. This would give New Yorkers the chance to hike, climb and explore the reimagined topography. Highly reflective glass would surround Central Park, creating “an illusion of infinity” in the heart of the city.

The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration has been slow to react to developing drone technology, despite repeated requests from retailers like Amazon who wish to integrate the devices into delivery fleets. The Hive by Hadeel Ayed Mohammad, Yifeng Zhao and Chengda Zhu of the US attempts to solve these matters with a central control terminal that hosts docking and charging stations for drones that will service residents of New York City. With a live, constantly-changing facade, the skyscraper would benefit from the “commercial power of Manhattan” and yet “stands away from the no-fly-zones set by the FAA.”

the hive-compressed Image: eVolo

Data Tower by Valeria Mercuri and Marco Merletti of Italy utilizes Iceland’s climate, geolocation and renewable energy sources. Data centers typically occupy thousands of square feet and leave large carbon footprints, as they must be “constantly cooled down to avoid overheating problems.” The team’s skyscraper would have a cylindrical shape, made up of data-storing pods that can be moved and stacked according to the facility’s needs. The climate would be controlled by a central air duct and a huge cooling fan that takes in natural fresh air from outside — all managed sustainably, of course.

data tower-compressed Image: eVolo

Want to see more? Check out the full list of winners here.

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