Conceptual Sletches for the 8 prototypes



Following the Climate Energy Plan of Paris aimed at reducing 75% of the greenhouse gas emissions within 2050, the « 2050 PARIS SMART CITY » project is a research and development work on the integration of high-rise buildings with plus-energy (BEPOS) producing by solidarity all together energy for the surrounding areas. In order to fight against the urban heat-island phenomenon by increasing in the same time the density of the city in the long-term, this study presents 8 prototypes of mixed towers. These towers repatriate the nature in the heart of the city and integrate from their design the rules of bioclimatism and the renewable and recyclable energies in short loop through innovative systems. Turned to new social innovations, they invent first new eco-responsible ways of life to implement the quality of life of the city-dwellers in the respect of the environment. 

Posted 12 January 2015

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This study has been carried out for Paris City Hall by « Vincent Callebaut Architectures » agency with the engineers of « Setec Bâtiment » in the summer of 2014. The history and the evolution perspective in 2050 of the high-rise buildings in the context of Paris Climate Energy Plan and the 8 plus-energy and/or energetically connected prototypes are presented below :
Solar, hydrodynamic and planted towers bio-air conditioning the urban heat-island phenomenon.
HISTORIC PARIS _ 14th district
An ecologic corridor of 23 km in the heart of Paris punctuated by depolluting photo-catalytic towers.
A piezo-electrical and Central Park built in vertical spiral with organic facades of green algae.
Thermodynamic garden towers planted by food gardens and orchards on balconies.
A hive of honeycomb housing energetically connected.
A vertical farm repatriating the countryside in the heart of the city.
FUTURE PARIS _ 10th district, GARE DU NORD
Photosensitive towers ingrained on the piezo-electrical station platforms.
FUTURE PARIS _ 16th district, PONT AVAL / 12th district, _ PONT AMONT
Inhabited planted amphibian bridges across the Seine river upstream and downstream of Paris. 


Rue de Rivoli -Mountain Towers

Solar, hydrodynamic and planted towers bio-air conditioning the urban heat-island phenomenon.
Paris has always been rebuilt on itself. Because of a lack of political ambition and visions for the future, is it condemned now in 2014 to remain a museum city or to gentrification? This is the question asked by the « Mountain Towers » to the historic Paris and more precisely to the rue de Rivoli.
With its severe elegance and its grandiose rigour of the neoclassicism, the rue de Rivoli, named as the « wall-street », crossed the heart of Paris and stretches from east to west on almost 3 km on the right bank of the Seine river. The urban constraints of the First Empire in the west, same as of the Haussmann period in the east about the alignment and the size of all the buildings of the street offer to Paris its monumental appearance with strict lines and surprising effect of perspective that suited Napoleon who wanted to build a prestigious street dedicated to luxury. 

This « eternal stretching street that is elegant as an I » as Victor Hugo, used to say was created in the 18th Century to resolve the traffic jams and the hygiene problems in the overcrowded old districts by controlling at the same time the popular uprising of the capital city. The model of the rue de Rivoli was extended to all the new Parisian streets leading to a standardization considered by some artists of that time such as the architect as «stifling monotony».
The « Mountain Towers » project aims at controlling smog, making denser and naturalizing thus type of hyper energy and space consuming urbanism by the construction of bioclimatic mountains integrating the renewable energies on the roofs and in the heart of the blocks. The « Mountain Towers » with positive energies will enable thus to triple vertically the housing in each Parisian housing block by distributing the structural loads through the old ducts of blocked chimneys.
Three types of renewable energies will be available in each tower : During the day, two huge photovoltaic and thermal solar shields bio inspired by the structure finely cut from dragonfly wings will produce electricity and hot sanitary water. At night, a reversible hydro-electrical pumped storage station will let an urban cascade flow out from the top of the tower between to basins of rainwater retention tanks located at different levels, preventing the need of batteries to store the electricity produced by the solar dragonfly wings.
Finally, the garden balconies will surround the inhabited storeys and filter in clean recycled waters rejected by the inhabitants by phyto-purification and bio-composting.


HISTORIC PARIS  14th district  Petite Ceinture
An ecologic corridor of 23 kms in the heart of Paris punctuated by depolluting photocatalytic towers.
The Petite Ceinture of Paris is an old double railway line of 32 kilometers that went around Paris inside the Maréchaux boulevards and that had a double interest : linking together the radial lines that leave from the main Parisian railway stations enabling the freight exchanges between the networks and to serve the fortifications of Paris from inside for strategic reasons.
Deserted by the Parisians because of the competition of the subway, the line is for most of the route, closed to the traffic of travelers from the 23rd July 2014. Nowadays, 60% of the line is outside (open trench, in backfill, or viaduct). The remaining 40% are underground, in covered trench or in tunnel.
In 2014, there are 61 bridges : 36 are of « rail » type (where the railway line goes on top of the road) and 25 are of « street » type (where the road goes on top of the railway line). On this emblematic and historical place with a controversial destiny, the urban policy is to transform this space into a green ecological corridor by preserving the railway heritage and the triple multi use of the site between the railways, cycle paths, and walkways. Wildlife, meadows, forests, vegetation is back on the urban land

In this context, the « Antismog Towers » plan to renaturalize the railway lines into green areas by the integration of community food gardens cultivated by the residents. The cycle paths and the urban vegetable gardens will be implemented vertically around the cyclonic towers depolluting the grounds by hydroponic phyto-purification and filtering the atmospheric smog thanks to their photocatalytic structure in titanium dioxide. 

Petite Ceinture -Antismog Towers

These depolluting towers will offer a strong urban density of cultivated housings thanks to their minimal impact in the ground and their architecture in splay. They will be integrated at the geographical crossings between the radial Parisian boulevards and the PC and along the existing ecosystems such as the Buttes Chaumont, the Monsouris Park, the André Citroên Park, etc.
Energetically, these towers will produce electricity by the integration of axial wind turbines of Darrieus type in the strengthened facade on the one hand and on the other hanf in photovoltaic flexible textile that enable the rainwater and dew on the roof. Regarding the thermal part, the temperature differential with the tunnels of the Petite Ceinture will be used to create geothermal cooling/heating tubes enabling to bio-air condition passively the surrounding air inside the tower. These tunnels will be lighted by piezoelectrical promenades.


Monteparnasse -Photosynthesis Towers D

A piezo-electrical Central Park built in landscaped spiral shape covered by algae powered Bio-facades.
In 1970, the foundations of Montparnasse tower were laid on the site of the former Montparnasse railway station. This project was supported by André Malraux, Minister of Culture, and Georges Pompidou, President of the Republic. Inserted in the extension of the axis created by the Palais de Chaillot, the Trocadéro, Eiffel Tower, Champ-de-Mars and the Ecole Militaire parallel to the historical axis, the often denigrated Montparnasse tower was the highest tower of Europe during more than twenty years until 1990.
In 1975, three years after the end of its construction, the construction of skyscrapers was over because the municipality decided to forbid the construction of building of more than seven floors. The « Photosynthesis Towers » aims at improving the aesthetic and energy consuming impacts of the Montparnasse tower by transforming it on the one hand in a true vertical Central Park opened to the public and by additioning on the other hand new suspended gardens of green algae bioreactors with positive energy. 

In 2050, Montparnasse tower will thus be a carbon neutral BEPOS ecosystem without fossil fuels built under the shape of a vertical public park on several floors overhung by sky gardens. Banisters will meander around the reinforced structure and will offer helical piezoelectrical promenades in the sky of Paris around the 58 floors in the shape of almond.
In the triangular openings located at both extremities of the tower, the public elevators with renewable energy will be integrated in order to separate the visitor ways from the staff working in the offices of the tower. The slab-roof of the shopping mall will be transform into a phyto-purification lagoon recycling the used waters of the building.
This planted green space in the heart of Paris will cover Montparnasse tower as well as other smaller towers (building C ad Express tower) with an insulating bio-facade that produces biofuel. Green micro algae will be cultivated on curtain-walls in planar and triangular photobioreactors built in laminated glass. They will capture the thermal solar energy by serving in the same time the generation of biomass used to produce methane. The CO2 will be used as nutrients to the algae that proliferate under the solar radiation. These bioreactors will enable to improve the thermal inertia up to 50% of heating and air condition saving whereas the biofuel refinery will be directly integrated in the base of the building. 


Thermodynamic garden towers wrapped by a bamboo bio-mesh of vertical food gardens and orchards.
In the spirit of Le Corbusier’s Athens Charter, Italy 13 is the name of the huge urbanism operation carried out in Paris in the sixties. From this operation partially implemented, there are many towers of the south of the 13th district and especially the Olympiades district and the Massena area.
This innovative urbanism model of towers advocates more than even the saving of the territory and the urban density through the verticality, the multifunctionality and the multiculturalism. It’s the exemplary diversity of the residential offer and the services that led to this diversity, which is rare in buildings of comparable sizes.
The « Bamboo Nest Towers » project aims at renaturalize the thirteen towers of Massena area built on the grounds of the former Panhard & Levassor plant along the way of the “Petite Ceinture”. In 2050, this district (also called Villa d’Este) presenting the highest concentration of towers in Paris, will be the emblem of the repatriation of the urban vertical agriculture on several floors in the heart of the capital city.
Thus Puccini, Palerme, Rimini, Verdi, towers etc. will be enveloped by an ecoskeleton in plaited bamboo. On the one hand, this ecological 3D canvas will enable to support structurally the overload of individual vegetable garden balconies and community orchards surrounding the existing housing. On the other hand, the funnels shaped by the braiding geometry will accentuate the Venturi effect accelerating thus the strength of the prevailing winds to increase the output of the three-blade wind turbines. 

Massena -Bamboo Towers

Besides the bio-air condition of the atmosphere provided mainly by the evapo-perspiration of the plants, and in addition to the electricity generated by the axial wind turbines implanted on the roofs-blade in the funnels, the main energy source will come from the concentrating thermodynamic plant. This will be composed of a collector implanted on the “Abeille Tower” and parabolic helio-static mirrors planted on the Parisian zinc roofs and concentrating towards the collector the sunrays to increase the temperature of a heat transfer fluid. This liquid will be sent in a water heater transforming the water into steam. The steam will make the turbines turn which will pull the alternators producing thus electricity even outside the solar irradiation time, i.e. 24/7.
The towers of Villa d’Este will be BEPOS (Building with positive energy) whereas the inhabitants will cultivate their own organic food in this nourishing ecosystem, new social innovation ground !


HBM Porte des Lilas -Honeycomb Towers

A hive of honeycomb housing developing an energy solidarity cooperation.
The cheap housings (HBM) corresponded until 1949 to the actual HLM (Housing at moderate rent). They appeared during the industrial revolution and were inspired by the hygienistic and paternalistic reflections of the modernistic middle class of the Second Empire to accommodate the labourers. They are mostly implanted in non aedificandi area of the old fortifications (Thiers wall) between the Maréchaux Boulevard and the ring road. In orange bricks, of 6 floors generally high, they are available for the modest and popular households of the capital city.
This HBM ring is in the heart of the energy renovation issue of the old buildings in Paris. The thermal bridges and the phenomena of cold partitions coming from the heterogeneity of the materials (concrete – bricks) are true challenges of interior, thermal and hydrometric insulation. 

In order to increase the offer of housings in Paris, the « Honeycomb Towers » propose to double the height of theses HBM by an architecture leading to the construction of individual mini-houses interlocked the ones to the others. Such as a honeycomb with hexagonal alcoves, this urban implant will offer to the new inhabitants vegetable gardens and suspended orchards repatriating thus in the city the advantages of a rural individual house. Structurally, this hive is supported by a steel structure that descends the loads vertically through the existing chimney ducts crossing the buildings.
Actually, from the 1st January 2015 the wood combustion will be totally forbidden in Paris and these ducts already drilled will find a second use. The structure in honeycomb will enable to reinforce the resistance of the tower by assuring maximum lighting. The single-family module will be standardized and prefabricated. The concepts of double-wall and double deck will be directly integrated for a maximal spatial flexibility, an efficient innervation of the fluids and an optimal thermal and sound insulation. This great meccano toy with an organic silhouette will be transformed into a true suspended nourishing garden in the sky inviting the Parisian fauna and the flora to thrive
The roofs will be covered by thermal and photovoltaic solar panels whereas the Sérurier and Mortier boulevards, the Phylolights (hybridization of a lamp and an axial wind turbine) will assure the public lighting self-sufficiently. 


Porte d'Aubervilliers -Farmscrapers

A vertical urban farm repatriating the countryside in the heart of the city.
The porte d’Aubervilliers is an important gate of the Parisian north-east, located at the junction of two districts of Paris. Whereas the north area located in Aubervilliers has been encountering important transformations from 2005 with the construction of Icade Headquarters, the Millénaire shopping Mall (2011), then Veolia Headquarters (2016), the roundabout located on top of the ring road of Paris with a view on Aubervilliers city remains a true urban no man’s land devoured by the pollution caused by the proliferation of vehicles.
The « Farmscrapers Towers » concept aims at articulating the Claude Bernard urban development zone and its linear forest with the new master plan of Aubervilliers. As urban articulation of ecological corridors, the three vegetable towers implanted on a urban forest in the shape of a huge manta ray. This manta ray filtering the air of the tunnel pile up a mixed programming under the shape of vertical farms with floors of agriculture fields cultivated by their own inhabitants. 

The objective is to repatriate the countryside in the heart of the city and to reintegrate the food production locally. True city district piling up mixed blocks, these Farmscrapers make denser the urban space by optimizing the quality of life of the inhabitants by the reduction of the transport means, the implantation of a domotic network, the renaturalization of the public and private spaces and the integration of clean renewable energies as the biomass, the methanisation, the photovoltaic and thermal solar energy and the wind turbines.
This pioneer project aims for the 8 following objectives :
1/ The reduction of the ecological footprint enhancing the local consumption by its food autonomy and by the reduction of the transport means.
2/ The reintegration of the local employment in the primary and secondary sectors coproducing fresh and organic products.
3/ The recycling in short and closed loop of the organic waste by anaerobic compost, hydrogen fuel cells and phyto-purification lagoon.
4/ The saving of the rural territory, reducing the deforestation, the desertification and the pollution of the phreatic tables.
5/ The oxygenation of the polluted city centres whose air quality is heavily polluted.
6/ The limitation of the systematic recourse to pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.
7/ The water saving water by the recycling of the urban waters.
8/ The protection of the ecosystemic cycles in the heart of the city. It’s a project of BEPOS living stones reintegrating the biodiversity ! 


Gare du Nord -Mangrove Towers

FUTURE PARIS _ 10th district _ GARE DU NORD
Photosensitive towers rooted on the piezo-electrical station platforms.
In Paris, the railway network of the seven SNCF train (Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, Gare Saint-Lazare, Gare Montparnasse, Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare de Bercy et Gare de Lyon) represent a total surface area of several tens of hectares that will get vertically denser within 2050. For its capacity of travelers, the Gare du Nord is the first station of Europe in traffic and the third in the world after those of Tokyo and Chicago!
In the heart of this European multimodal crossroads, more than 700,000 travelers will travel every day in the 2,000 trains on the 32 rails. The Mangrove towers will be built on this territory of iron and steel drawn by the forks of this intertwined rails. They will join the modernist neoclassical architecture of the Gare du Nord whose construction of the Great Hall dates from the universal exhibition of 1855. 

As their name indicates it, the « Mangrove Towers » will be inspired by the mangrove trees of the maritime marshes with their pneumatophores and their stilt roots. They will be implanted directly of the platforms of the Gare du Nord and they will ramify each other as ecosystem resilient to the climate imbalance. These towers will accommodate a mixed programme of offices, hotels and housing dedicated to international and traveling customers. True forest of planted towers, this urban mangrove will be energy positive, that means i twill produce more energy than it will consume (electrical, calorific or food energy).
The project will be eco-designed from state-of-the-art renewable energies to present a zero carbon footprint. Indeed, the station platforms will be full of piezoelectrical captors polarizing under the action of the mechanical constraint generated by the travelers. The tubular facades will be composed of Grätzel cells forming a photo-electrochemical skin inspired by the light (photons), will also produce the electricity by electrolysis. Finally, the towers will not only be self-sufficient in energy but they will be also depolluting thanks to their structure in titanium dioxide.
Their structure in branches (imitating the bark of mangrove trees) will cause under the action of the x-rays in the presence of oxygen and humidity, the degradation of the organic, solid, liquid and gaseous matters in the urban smog (through self-cleaning, destruction of COV, destruction of NOX, anti-mist, UV absorber, etc.).


FUTURE PARIS   16th district   PONT AVAL / 12th district _ PONT AMONT
Green inhabited amphibian bridges across the Seine river upstream and downstream of Paris.
Will the capital count one day 39 bridges across its river instead of the 37 contemporary crossings in 2014 ? As illustrated in the beautiful painting of Nicolas Jean-Baptiste Raguenet, all the bridges of the Middle-Ages were inhabited and created a functional, cultural and merchant urban continuum between the right bank and the left bank.
With the objective of making the city denser by inhabited vertical ecosystems, the “Bridge Towers” project proposed the construction of two green bridges at the river gates of Paris. These two bridges with jellyfish silhouettes emerging from the water will link the 15th and the 16th arrondissements in the west to the 12th and 13th district in the east. 

The Panoramic view

They will be twin towers molding and re-customizing extraordinarily both existing bridges of the ring road in order to enhance both entrances to the city by the river along which its history flew from Lutece. Perforated by wide funnels, the towers will be supplied by electrical energy thanks to multi blades wind turbines replaced by hydrokinetic turbines (hydroelectrical turbines) which will use the kinetic energy (river motivity). The conveyors of these water wheels will enable to reestablish the rotary movement of the axis from the linear movement of the river. The heat pump will enable to capture the water calories of the Seine to heat the towers. By this use of renewable energies, the towers will be BEPOS building, i.e. with positive energy.
True urban link, this bridge, until here passage between two banks, will be a new territory created by a new urban form linking two towers of more than 200 meters. By its junction, it will reinforce the urban continuum by affirming in the same time its particularity, which is to be linked to the river that it crosses and to the grounds it reconnects.

This inhabited bridge, these two amphibian towers across the Seine, will meet the housing crisis of the city of Paris by including a dense and mixed programme facilities , but also hotel-apartments to meet the needs of the « world city ». The inhabited bridge will reinforce the symbolism of the city and will refer to a new form of urban and social innovation in terms of clean collective housing with zero carbon emission and zero waste!
Copyright : Vincent Callebaut, Lead Archibiotect

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