The Greenest Skyscraper Ever Conceived?

The visionary of large-scale sustainable architecture has done it again.

Think of the Bionic Arch as a distant cousin to the alien-designed machine in the 1997 film Contact. (Photo: Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecte)

Sep 13, 2011· 0 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

Vincent Callebaut, the Belgian draftsman known for his chimerical green creations, has reached into his madcap hat and pulled out a design for what could possibly be the greenest skyscraper of all time.

Resembling an oval-shaped Ferris wheel draped in vegetation, his “Bionic Arch” would be 100 percent sufficient and release zero carbon emissions.

It was conceived for and submitted to a green design competition in Taichung, a city located in west-central Taiwan.

Other eco-perks include:

—an exoskeleton that is both earthquake and typhoon resistant

—a “crystalline glass skin” made of heat insulation solar glass and photovoltaic cells

—three vertical wind turbines that would power a nearby park

Here's looking at you, future. (Photo: Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecte)

Like most of Callebaut’s whimsical designs, the Bionic Arch will most likely never see the light of day. It did not make it out of the first round of the Taiwainese competition.

But that shouldn’t stop you from toggling through the long list of Callebaut brainchildren.

Say what you will about the wildly creative designer—are his designs too far-fetched or too impractical?—but he’s nothing if not highly prolific.

Since 1999 Callebaut has conjured up more than 40 green concepts, my two personal favorites being the Haitian eco-village inspired by coral reefs and the whale-shaped floating garden that purifies toxic rivers.