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Earth

Earthscraper Takes Sustainable Design Underground 269

Hugh Pickens writes"The 'Earthscraper,' a 65-story, 82,000-square-foot inverted pyramid beneath Mexico City takes a new approach to escalating megacity problems like population growth, urban sprawl, preserving open space, and conserving energy and water, promising to turn the modern high-rise, quite literally, on its head. The proposed building will be located at the Zocalo, Mexico City's major public plaza one of the few sizable open spaces left in the city of 9 million. 'It's a massive empty plot, which makes it the ideal site for our program,' says architect Esteban Suarez. The Earthscraper concept begins with a glass roof replacing the opaque stone surface of the Zocalo preserving the open space and civic uses of the Zocalo, while allowing natural lighting to flow downward into all floors of the tapering structure through clear or translucent core walls. The first 10 stories would hold a museum dedicated to the city's history and its artifacts. 'We'd almost certainly find plenty of interesting relics during the dig — dating right back to the Aztecs who built their own pyramids here,' says Suarez adding that the design incorporates a system of gardens occurring roughly every 10 stories, to help generate fresh air. One thing working in Earthscraper's favor is there are strict laws that prevent building upwards in this part of Mexico City, but no laws for building down. 'They will have to develop new laws to stop this from happening,' says Chief Design Officer Emilio Barja. 'I hope they don't [find the] time to do that.'"

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