Combating Climate Change With Polar Umbrella Skyscrapers

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:

As the polar ice caps reduce in size due to anthropogenic climate change, new and innovative ways to combat environmental degradation are developing, embracing a future of positive change. Winning last year’s eVolo Skyscraper Competition, the Polar Umbrella Buoyant Skyscraper is a design that’ll not only change the way we see architectural infrastructure, but will also change the way we combat against climate change.

Designed by Derek Pirozzi, the Umbrella Skyscraper isn’t simply a futuristic environmental experiment, but will also provide research labs, energy harvesting power stations, housing units, and habitation for wildlife surrounding the vicinity. Its umbrella structure is specifically designed to reduce heat gain within the northern and southern arctic regions by absorbing the ultraviolet rays from the sun, while subsequently using it to produce thermal energy via solar panels attached to the outside. Not only that, it will also accumulate the abundant supply of saline water beneath the caps using an osmotic power station within the structure’s core, resulting in the regeneration of thick, protective ice shelves.

Each structure will be meticulously placed in regions most affected by the increase in ice cap temperatures. Eco-friendly tourist destinations will also materialize as a result, in the hopes that a spark of inspiration will arise for people to be equally creative in protecting the (currently) one planet we have.

The piping system in which surrounds the umbrella-like structure is made up of polyethylene and will be used to help pump the harvested sea water to and from the osmotic power station. The composition of the structure is made up of carbon based zinc coated steel, allowing the structure to not only provide durable coating while submerged in salt water, but to also provide necessary protection from extreme atmospheric conditions known throughout the arctic.

The top of the canopy will attain an emergency helicopter pad, alongside a catwalk for those visiting, living, or working inside. There will also be several weather balloons placed at the apex of the structure, which will be used to help collect temperature readings, wind speeds, humidity, etc. Boasting several stories above the arctic shelf, each section will acquire its own necessary function. The length of the entire structure, alone, will come close to a similar height as that of the Empire State Building – 433 meters (or +1420 feet).


The design of such marvelous infrastructure is merely the tip of the iceberg (pun intended). With the growing scientific and technological fields dedicated in combating against climate change, and as innovative ideas continue spurring throughout open space of the international mindset, we’re quickly becoming enveloped in a futurist crusade for progressive change. Do we have what it takes to successfully defeat such a great foe, all while changing the world as we know it for the good? I believe so.

For more information on Derek Pirozzi’s Polar Umbrella Buoyant Skyscraper, click here.


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