The classic model of skyscrapers provides its inhabitants with a space sandwiched between a core and a façade. The core, mostly in concrete, takes care of most vertical efforts while the façade, mostly in steel, takes care of most lateral efforts. Yet we employ enormous effort to mediate between the outside and the inside climates. Glass façades gain enormous temperature in the warm months while they lose it the rest of the year. On the other hand, the steel used to create those façades is becoming a commodity only booming economies can afford.
It has been said that the most exhilarating features of big buildings depend on their capacity to offer a variety of experiences in an apparent exterior stability. Yet, lately as buildings grow higher (bigger) this equation seems to work the other way around. Façades become more and more unstable and interiors more homogeneous.
If the services invading the plan of our tall buildings, hinder the possibilities for programmatic diversity; if the façade is demanding mass to become sustainable if we should disregard steel as the only possibility of making the “skin” of a building; should we not radically rethink the current modes of building high?
These skyscrapers use concrete as their main structure. Their façades accumulate the mass of the structure on its perimeter, to mediate atmospheric conditions, and reinforcing lateral and seismic efforts. The structure keeps the percentage of the opening provided by most steel façades but grows to engulf services that can finally be naturally lit and ventilated.
With the interior now liberated from the tyranny of structure, each tower is free to indulge into the peculiarities of their site conditions and create the most diverse spaces. Water will be naturally used along the building to regulate the temperature differences in Xochimilco, as plants will do in Atzcapotzalco generating a vertical garden.