UPT | Urban Purifier Towers

LaN associate CarloMaria Ciampoli toughts on urban ecosystems, vertical structures and the equilibrium between built and unbuilt environments.

By 2030, 80% of the world’s population is going to inhabit mega cities. Our need to understand the meaning and the dynamics of urban ecosystems has become paramount to our survival. Envisioning new paradigms to control and possibly reverse the environmental damage that cities cause to our planet is an imperative calling.

An array of small-scale, scattered and often ineffective measures (green roofs, urban wind generators, alternative heating and cooling systems, etc.) are being implemented in urban areas with little result. This is largely due to a fundamental lack a comprehensive holistic strategy that addresses the urban environment as an entire eco-system. In order to generate big changes we need to adopt drastic solutions at an urban scale. Cities have been a platform for every kind of architecture experiment, mostly revenue based, without considering that in order to create a balanced urban ecosystem it is highly undesirable to populate it with redundant objects. Diversification is necessary for a thriving ecosystem.

Urban Purifier Towers (UPT) are conceptually rooted in the reef’s ecosystem of purification. In order to shift the contemporary unhealthy urban ecodynamics we need to shift our thinking about the program of vertical structures in dense urban environments from revenue/area to clean enviroment/area. UPTs will be xenobiotic elements in our current urban ecologies. They will restabilize the equilibrium between built and unbuilt environments.

Investigating shapes and dynamics of marine sponges, the UPT is configured as a building without the classical separation between structure and skin: UPTs are live skins composed of a series of urban scale devices designed to purify air and water, humidify and dehumidify, harvest solar and wind power, allow for urban farming, and reduce the energy and water load of the city public infrastructure. Each UPT skin is populated with the array of components that best adapt to specific situations, climate, or estimated problems. UPTs are a strong solution to revitalize the compromised environment of dense urban metropolis.

UPTs do not generate direct revenue, yet the revitalization and purification of an urban environment translates into quality of life incentives for more businesses to base themselves in the city, brining more jobs and more revenue to city centers.

The UPT immediate relation with the ground-scape is mediated by a few windowed floors that act as urban ecosystem learning centers: research centers and classrooms where citizens can learn about urban environments, available technologies and future possibilities and scenarios of the mega cities of tomorrow.