carlo ratti unveils plans for mile-high vertical park and observation deck

carlo ratti associati (CRA)
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carlo ratti associati (CRA) has revealed a conceptual design for the world’s highest vertical park and observation deck.

developed in collaboration with german engineering firm schlaich bergermann und partner, and british digital design studio atmos, the structure will climb to a proposed height of one-mile (1,609 meters), forming the tallest man-made construction on earth. topped with a publicly-accessible observation deck, ‘the mile’ will offer a natural ecosystem, covered with plants and greenery and inhabited by hundreds of animal species. ‘imagine you take new york’s central park, turn it vertical, roll it and twirl it,’ says carlo ratti, founder of CRA, and director of the MIT senseable city lab.

in order to achieve the unprecedented height — twice that of the burj khalifa — engineers developed an exceptionally lightweight structure based on a 20 meter-wide shaft, kept in compression, and secured through a net of pre-stressed cables. around the shaft, a series of orbiting capsules allow visitors to gradually ascend to its summit, enjoying views at a variety of speeds and vantage points. the sculptural capsules are able to host meetings, dinners, concerts, or even pools — allowing people 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 over the landscape,’ explains the design team. ‘aloft in the sky, visitors can see the city as is – or could be, unencumbered by headsets that typically accompany VR.’

‘following the example of the 1972 munich olympic complex, engineered by joerg schlaich and rudolf bergermann, which pushed the boundaries of the possible and became a milestone in architectural history, the structural concept for the mile is technically feasible because of its consequent and uncompromised light-weight approach,’ explains boris reyher, associate and team leader at schlaich bergermann und partner. ‘the architectural form and the spatial equilibrium of forces become one and the same thing. on the one hand, this leads to an optimized usage of high-grade materials. on the other hand, the structural form and load paths become intuitively comprehensible by every spectator.’

the project’s financial model is based on the examples of paris’ eiffel tower, or the london eye, both of which generate tens of millions of dollars in profits each year. the general concept of a one-mile vertical park, featuring a constellation of sky decks, has been developed for cities that draw large numbers of tourists. designed for an undisclosed client, ‘the mile’ is presented at cannes’ MIPIM on march 16th, 2016.

carlo ratti unveils plans for mile-high vertical park and observation deck

the view from the mile-high observation deck


capsules will be equipped with open-air virtual reality screens


the tower will offer a natural ecosystem, eventually covered with plants and greenery


the project has been conceived as a plaza in the sky


‘the mile’ is almost twice the height of the world’s tallest building