Rhizome towers a refuge on overheated planet

What would happen if climate change or a natural disaster made Earth uninhabitable for humans? Architects from Italy think they have a solution: head underground.

Their design, Rhizome Tower, won an honorable mention in eVolo’s 2011 Skyscraper Competition.

Like a rhizome in nature, this one pops its head above the surface, where the first of four layers of the project is found. This is the core of the project, providing an entry for light than can make its way to the lower levels. 

This sprawling “groundscaper,” reminiscent of the old Biosphere project in Arizona, includes production facilities, farms and glasshouses. Photovoltaic cells cover the first layer to harvest solar energy, while wind turbines are another source of energy.

Living quarters make up the second layer—about 60 levels of different living quarters. The commute to work would just be a short trip down one or two levels to the offices and service areas. The deepest part of the project is reserved for the study and harvest of geothermal energy.

Based on rhizome theory, a philosophical concept developed in the late 1970s, the project is not a single element but the combination of programs, structure and substructure working together, according to eVolo.

Designers envisioned the community to be interconnected and even for it to function as an entire city or nation.

The Skyscraper Competition is put on each year by eVolo magazine. It is a forum for the discussion, development, and promotion of innovative concepts for vertical density. 

The competition brings together students, architects, engineers and designers to explore the skyscraper and the natural world, the skyscraper and the community, and the skyscraper and the city.

Kristy Hessman, EarthTechling