School projects should be always fun, intriguing and challenging. This is why last semester, the curricula for the fifth year students at Facluty of Architecture of Timisoara, offered under the guidance of conf. dr.arh Vlad Gaivoronschi, the option of participating at the eVolo’s skyscraper competition. The students had the liberty to imagine a response for the year 2035 at the city’s thermo electrical facility, taking into account the polluting mayhem unleashed by the complex, since the communist era till recent years. Starting with an argumentation and a scenario, the project developed step by step leading the teams to bold, diverse and dearing solutions. Many of the projects involved a sustainable approach and with the high detail level imposed by the project brief the students embarked on quests which led to cloud factoriesalgae farmsmonuments of the cradle 2 cradle processsports arena in the sky or even entire underground cities.

One of the most remarkable and well documented project is the City in the Clouds, created by architecture students Chis Stefan, Darko Bogdanov and their colleague Daniel Forte. In the following interview they explain their approach:

Greenspotter: The Scenario you have chosen is equally interesting as it is gloomy. Is there a bright future, a happy in Timisoara for the year 2035?

C.S: Our goal was to make a project beyond architecture and we tried to focus the attention of the viewers/audience towards the most important part, that forms the designing progress: HUMANS.

It is “gloomy” because it has a greater impact, people tend to give more attention  to an image of a disaster/tragedy instead the presentation of a ,,happy living image”. I think that we went a little bit to far from the actual reality, and I am more optimistic than our scenario concerning the city, Timisoara.

Greenspotter: Your project is one of the few that is chronologically ordered intro gradient steps. How do you imagine the individual phases of the development? 

C.S: We thought that is highly important to define each step (stage) of our project, because it was a pretty complicated scenario with a lot of cause-effect relations, and it had to be explained chrono -LOGICALLY so that the viewer understands the ,,plot”.

We started presenting the actual political context, and based on our intuition, we chosed a direction for the political map of the next few years. After establishing the plot it kind of emerged the whole idea of building a tower with its profile accurate the graphic display of the wealth distributed in the world: and by that we show that our hypothesis is correct and the tower grew naturally designed by the society itself.

So the big steps were creating a conflict –> people’s reaction –> building this huge vertical city –> separation –> craziness at a huge social level. Just like it is today, but it’s harder to notice, that’s  why we did it.

Greenspotter: Which are the key elements of your project? Which are the conflicts, the focus points in your city?

C.S: Interesting question, because it leads to an answer we were searching the entire time, during the planning process. I think that the most interesting parts are exactly these conflict zones in the limits of each society level. I think it’s pretty clear in the image of each level; these points are the big question marks of the project. How do people fix their boundaries, the limits, where does it get violent, do they accept interaction, acceptance for everybody? That’s why it was so hard to design them and I think we didn’t succeed as we hoped we would, because it was clearly a thing that has a big variable hardwired into it: mankind’s well known reaction-action.

Greenspotter: Overpopulation and pollution are, sadly, common subjects nowadays. What was the trigger for designing such a city? 

D.B: We started with a scenario that brought different challenges to the project, overpopulation and the contrast between the rich people and the poor people, then we realized that we have some examples in real life, where poor people live next to the rich and there is ”only” a wall that separates the two sides. The city is a reflection of the world we live in, but with a bit of post apocalyptic drama added to it.

In the proposed scenario countries unite to create a city capable of accommodating population that survived the war. Overpopulation is created on the lower level of the tower where the working class develops a city in contrast with the top part.

They are dependent on the energy produced by the central tower but at the same time the top part is dependent on the working class to create the living modules and the maintenance of the underground part of the tower.

Greenspotter: What were your ideas about the energy production for and in your city ?

D.B : In the proposed scenario the war begins after the oil reserves of the world are dried out, and the countries are fighting for the last drop instead of  looking for alternative energy. Being a post apocalyptic world, where the vegetation has disappeared and with it the animals in the area. Human life will depend on the towers that provide power using solar, wind and geothermal. Water is brought from underground or is collected and filtered from the rain.

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