Imagine a compact, vertical Central Park and you're getting close to what Italian architect Carlo Ratti and his team have planned for a new observation tower that, if built, would become the tallest manmade structure in the world.
Ratti's firm just released design plans for the dizzying skyscraper, aptly named The Mile.
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Nearly twice the height of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, The Mile will house a "Sky Park" that contains a natural ecosystem with birds and plants, a "Sky Way" with panoramic dining and meeting space, and a "Sky Deck" that boasts 360-degree views, DesignBoom reported.
"The ascent to the observation decks will utilize orbiting sculptural capsules, which can host meetings, dinners, concerts, or even pools - allowing people to inhabit the sky in unprecedented ways," the firm's press release said. At the tippy top, visitors could look out at the view and interact with the landscape through virtual reality touchscreens.
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This "plaza in the sky" will house hundreds of animal species, be full of plants and natural greenery, and boast a "latticework of transportation lines."
The height will be achieved through a lightweight 65-foot-wide structure compressed and secured by pre-stressed cables, according to the firm. They cite the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, and architect Buckminster Fuller as sources of inspiration for different aspects of the tower.
Currently it's unclear where on earth the tower would be built, but we should have more details when Ratti - who also directs the MIT Senseable City Lab - and his team present the designs next month in Cannes for the international property event MIPIM.
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As unbelievable as the plans look - to me, at least - Ratti's team announced that they're working on the design with the structural engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann & Partner and British design firm Atmos Studio for an "undisclosed client." So someone is taking this seriously.
Living so close to Denver, I had a different thought when first hearing "mile-high park." The city comes in at 5,280 feet above sea level, after all. Building a tower that equals our altitude strikes me as both breath-taking and unnecessary. Just step off the plane out here, and you'll be just as high.