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Big Bang Tower. Vertical City. USA, 2017

Vertical City is a contemporary reimagining of one of architectural history’s most significant competitions -1922 Chicago Tribune Competition- that spatializes sixteen models in the form of large-scale installations.

Revisiting the Chicago Tribune Competition gives cause to speculate about the requirements of contemporary office programs and the role of the skyscraper in the city at once. In our contemporary culture, working spaces can be no longer understood as the fixed cubicles where the worker spends full time of her day immersed in her own particular task, progressively accumulating piles of paper that will require equivalent amount of physical storage. A shift of paradigm is happening, greatly enabled by information technologies, that opens new avenues to reimagine the exigences of space. An office today can be a cubicle and also an open coworking area, a cafe, a lounge, a lab, a multipurpose room, virtual substance in the cloud, a room

in your house and much more. This diversification -and enrichment- of the meaning of “office” brings the opportunity to think about architecture in renewed urban terms. Specially when the structure that supports such expanded function is a tower with a big physical presence.

Big Bang Tower embraces the scale of the city and the need for transformation of its programs. By exploding the typical central core of a conventional high-rise building and locating the fragmented parts in the envelope, access to the stacked floors is multiplied. The thick asymmetric columns adapt to the requirement of the server spaces to resolve at once vertical structure and infrastructure: everything the space needs to enable the activity. The rest is served open space: open to the requirements of an increasingly diverse program, open to the transformation of these requirements over time, open to exciting connections with the public realm of the city. The convenient shell and core concept developed for modern office buildings is here given new spatial scale and quality, exciting experience. The horizontal structures that tie the perimeter columns together contribute to this purpose varying their position, area and height, so the activity is not contained identically in every level and manifold ways of framing the city and connecting interior spaces

are provoked.

This column of columns, that learns from history and reframes the context of the Chicago Tribune Competition, is not dismissive of the competition goal to design “the world’s most beautiful office building” and looks for this beauty in the revision of the typology and its relation to the urban context.

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