These days, ambitious new skyscrapers are blanketed in a cloud of "green" buzzwords. Wind turbines! Hydrogen fuel cells! Insect farms! (Yes, insect farms.) Then there's Phoenix Towers, which has all of the above and more and looks like this. Let's call it what it is: a greenwashed dick-measuring contest.
The monstrosity, recently unveiled by the British studio Chetwoods, will rise one kilometer out of a lake in Wuhan, China — taller than the Burj Khalifa and as tall as the yet-to-be-finished Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. But Phoenix Towers' vertical height isn't about packing in office buildings, because it's green. The entire upper half will be a "thermal chimney" that draws up cool air from the filtration system.
But wait, there's more! The towers will have solar panels and wind turbines and rainwater harvesting systems and animal habitats and trees. It will filter water from the lake. Never mind it's being built in a lake, sure to unleash tons of mud and destroy the lake habitat during construction.
"In China if you come up with a slightly mad idea, its almost not mad enough," studio found Laurie Chetwood said to Dezeen, "We've applied as many environmental ideas as we possibly could to justify the shape and the size of them." China envisions the towers as a statement, an icon, a tourist attraction. (Is that why it looks like offbrand Disneyland?)
To be fair, it sounds Chetwoods simply delivered the ridiculous plan the Chinese were asking for. China has certainly been good at dreaming up — and even building — gargantuan structures that boggle the mind. But as the New South China Mall and empty "eco-cities" cities throughout the country can attest to, even if you build it, they may not come.
Add as many environmental bells and whistles as you want: Huge empty towers are still bad for cities and bad for the environment. [Dezeen]
Pictures: World Architecture News