Sustainability and energy efficiency have gained increasing importance in recent years in Europe and worldwide. Driven by the economic crisis, the need to reduce costs on the one hand, and to increase energy autonomy on the one hand, as well as the increasing awareness of climate change, have made improving the energy efficiency of buildings a central strategy in future of the European Union.
Energy consumption by EU buildings has been increasing in recent years and now accounts for about 40% of their total consumption, leading to high economic and environmental costs with Very high CO2 emissions, which, as is widely known, significantly contribute to the increase in weather problems that occur.
In order to reduce the energy consumed in European buildings and thus the resulting economic and environmental problems, in 2010, the EU published Energy Performance Directives requiring all buildings constructed from 1 January 2021 onwards. Have an energy balance close to zero, through buildings erected with materials that allow for greater efficiency in this field, and by greater use of renewable energy.
For years, biblical scholars have been debating whether the Tower of Babel really existed.
A new study of a stone found in ancient Babylon (present-day Iraq) about a century ago may prove the existence of the Tower of Babel. According to the University of London professor Andrew George, on the object is a drawing of a tower with steps and a person holding a spear and wearing a cone hat. “Below is a text that says ‘ziggurat’ (pyramid-shaped monument)), or ‘Temple of Babylon,’” he says in an interview with Smithsonian.
The 6th century BC stone, for the expert, shows the first real image of the Tower of Babel, highlighting the seven layers of the structure, and identifies a man behind its construction, Emperor Nebuchadnezzar II.
The object also reveals details of the structure’s construction, and more importantly, how Nebuchadnezzar built it. The story written in the rock is like the one in the Bible, which increases the researcher’s suspicions.
Nebuchadnezzar II is considered by many to be the greatest emperor of Babylon. He ruled between 604 BC and 562 BC and was responsible for the construction of canals, aqueducts, and reservoirs throughout the empire.
The Babel Tower is one of the most intriguing tales in human history, supposedly built by men who wanted to make the tower so high to reach the Gods. However, the Gods did not like the pride of men and overthrew it. Beyond this mythical explanation, the tale would clarify why so many languages exist in the world.
The signs of Babel Tower begin in the bible, especially in the Old Testament book of Genesis. According to him, the tower would have been built by Noah’s descendants at a time when the whole world spoke only one language. Supposedly, the location of the Tower of Babel would be between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia.
The pride of men in engaging in the endeavor to reach the world of gods would have caused the wrath of God, which, in the form of punishment, would have created a high wind to topple the tower and scattered people upon the earth with different languages, to confuse them. For this reason, myth is understood today as an attempt by ancestors to explain the existence of so many languages in the world.
Theme: the new Babel Tower
The purpose of this exercise is to recreate what would be the Babel Tower today. A tower that symbolizes the unity of peoples, regardless of their color, race or religion. A tower that values the human race as one. Above all a tower that breaks with the current building model. An environmentally friendly tower.
There is no specific program for this tower.
More than its function, we want to deepen new, environmentally friendly building systems for a new model of sustainable cities.
It is essential that the new Babel Tower represents a break with the past and present with regard to building systems. We are looking for a building, Carbon 0, a building that marks a change of mind and that serves humanity and not the economic interests of capitalist societies.
Build on existing information.
Team: Karolina Grzesista, Oliwia Kwaśniewska, Zuzanna Szmatłoch, Marek Grąbczewski, Małgorzata Karolak
City: Katowice, Ruda Śląska
24H competition 31st edition – babel
“The exercise of designing within a complex theme in such a short time places the architects in a position in which desicions need to be taken so fast, that the outcome is probably a surprise to everyone working at it. It must be specially challenging if made in a group, where designing decisions should be agreed upon before moving forward. 24 hours to come up with a solid concept/design and also make an appealing presentation is not enought time, even so, some proposals are very interesting, and in general I think it is a good exercise.“ Gil Barbieri, arch.
“Important to note: The Instagram stories reveal a worldwide movement of architecture students to be part of this competition. This is a great initiative to unite and integrate students from different nationalities and realities. From the simplest project to the most sophisticated one, this discussion platform deserves attention for its initiative and for its clarity and good judgment.” Daniel Mangabeira, arch.
1st Place – ID000810:
“Babel is the force of globalization in the tremending scenario of the trouble waters of a disruptive world; however an apoctalyptic lighthouse in a time without value and context. They are capable constructions of an epiphania about the shadows of civilizational ruin. The paradigm was done.” Mário Chaves, arch.
“Babel Triptych is right on point as it understands the issue at hand as a networked one, on the global scale rather than looking for singular solutions. On the other hand, it fails at developing an architectural language that is versatile enough to satisfy the contextual and programmatic diversity of the self-imposed program.” Şevki Topçu, arch.
“The important thing about this proposal, and what makes it stand out, is that it is imagined for a circumstance in which a new kind of babel tower makes a lot of sense. A dystopian future, in which a network of high buildings rise from the sea as ports, productive facilities and shelters, all in single structures.” Gil Barbieri, arch.
“Just like the fictional idea of creating a new babel, the simulation of a dystopian planet, where there will be not only one new babel but several as guides for a new civilization, was well developed with just a few graphic information. A map, a picture, and a section of the building were enough to tell the whole story.
The project reference, besides being credible, supports the justification of the project. In addition to being well based, the formal return to simple geometric shapes that identify human thought, probably unintentionally alludes to Valerio Olgiati's Perm Museum, where its “idiosyncratic appearance represents the expression of a cultic place”. Significantly, the high-quality graphic presentation, coherent with the project, expressed very well the desired cataclysmic atmosphere.” Daniel Mangabeira, arch.
2nd Place – ID0002470:
“The vortice cone, carved in eden, heir of thousand cultures that feed wisdom, as the proof of knowledge was the end of paradise. Construction affirmed monolitically in a time that needs a new paradigm. The industrial time that created the new babel was a paradox, the required progress, was not.” Mário Chaves, arch.
“This proposal promises to turn the hierarchical symbolism of the conventional skyscraper upside down, quite literally. Resulting architectural form is one that deserves commending in terms of the level of articulation that it achieves with a simple fluting pattern. However, one should be aware of other forms of hierarchy being created by inverted pyramid. I would argue more access to daylight, views and public amenities at the top would increase the disparity rather than equalize the access to those things.” Şevki Topçu, arch.
“An appealing design that fits well its surrounding. The small openings on the facade suggests an introspective tower, which is confirmed by the section. It reveals balconies piled up around a giant cone shaped atrium, which allows sunlight to reach deep into the building. I cannot tell if the suggested building material would be appropriate, because not much was explained about it, but the attitude of looking at alternative technologies that make use of abundant natural local resources must be appreciated.” Gil Barbieri, arch.
“Probably the most architectural of the competitors, this project stands out for the conciseness of ideas and the architectural representation of its ideas. Very well written text, alluding to the origins of human diversity. This approach is particularly important nowadays, in a society of extremes. This new Babel represents the safe haven, but at the same time critically exposes where we came from and what we are. Materiality is well explained in the text, which mixes chemistry, architecture and sustainability. This is a contemporary project with a strong visual impact.” Daniel Mangabeira, arch.
3rd Place – ID0001990:
“A new babel tower on civilizational ruins; the aquarium time of this new and newly millennium calls for complex systems and a virtuosism able to support the tremending forces that will be required of you by new and challenging inhabitants of a new global time.” Mário Chaves, arch.
“This proposal attacks the problem headfirst with all its messiness. It avoids the highly controlled and sterilized language of many of the other proposals and embraces the ad-hoc nature of the human condition.” Şevki Topçu, arch.
“Exploring how a building could evolve over the decades is key to making more sustainable built environments. Explaining a complex design idea in a very limited space is challenging, especially if done so in such a short period. However, the images are rich in details, and make the viewer wonder what the purpose of each element is.” Gil Barbieri, arch.
“The visual complexity presented on the board may at first, hide weaknesses of the project, but when one understands the idea and understands that a more rational, ecological, self-constructive and up-to-date approach will be the basis for building the new babel, it takes a long time to let the eye wander over the board and gradually reveal precious details of the project. The formal blurring contrasts with the other winners, but it indicates that architecture is more important for ideas than for the formal outcome of the building. This is a beautiful and complex project that deserves prominence in this competition.” Daniel Mangabeira, arch.