MIPIM 2016. Carlo Ratti Associati officially presented The Mile, the world’s highest vertical park and observation deck overlooking the cityscape from over 1.600 metres. From base to apex, the structure will offer a natural ecosystem, covered by plants and greenery, inhabited by hundreds of animal species and criss-crossed with a delicate latticework of transportation lines.
ArchiPanic: It could seem that there is a vertigo spree in architecture. How was this project born? How does it differ from previous super-tall buildings?
“Once, an important client asked us to imagine on the highest super-tall architecture. Our first reaction wasn’t really enthusiastic as we weren’t quite keen on working on the next flamboyant project – pointless show off a “size-matter” contest”, says Carlo Ratti.
“Then we changed our mind and decided to engage in a challenging project that wouldn’t give life to the next super tall tower but that offered a chance to experiment. The Mile is not a skyscraper, but a cutting-edge park focused on the experience of the ascension and with a sustainable approach” say at Carlo Ratti Associati to ArchiPanic.
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THE PROJECT – Visitor’s experience of the Vertical Park will be varied and engaging. The ascent to the observation decks will utilise orbiting sculptural capsules, which can host meetings, dinners, concerts, or even pools. The project has been developed with German engineering firm schlaich bergermann and British digital design studio Atmos.
People will have the chance to inhabit the sky in unprecedented ways. The capsules will be equipped with open-air Virtual Reality screens, permitting an interaction with the 360-degree view. Aloft in the sky, visitors can see the city as is – or could be, unencumbered by headsets that typically accompany virtual reality.
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Now let’s get a bit more technical. To achieve The Mile’s exceptional height, an engineering study led by schlaich bergermann, one of the world’s leading engineering firms, was developed to implement a groundbreaking lightweight structure, based on a structural, 20-meter-wide shaft, kept in compression and secured through a net of pre-stressed cables.
“The Mile is technically feasible because of its consequent and un-compromised light-weight approach”, says Boris Reyher, Associate and team leader at schlaich bergermann.
Great 20th-century American author and thinker Richard Buckminster Fuller once suggested that “in order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete”. Inspired by his visions, “the Mile not only addresses mankind’s timeless quest for vertical elevation; it also tackles our need to look at the world from different perspectives” comment at Carlo Ratti Associates.
The Mile concept was originally developed for an undisclosed client and has just been officially presented in Cannes at MIPIM, the world’s leading real estate fair.
All photos by Carlo Ratti Associati.