This tsunami-blocking coastal city takes inspiration from the shape of mangrove roots

This tsunami-blocking coastal city takes inspiration from the shape of mangrove roots

The Tonga volcanic eruption on January 14, 2022 created a major tsunami hazard across the Pacific Rim. The Pacific Rim is considered the most prone to tsunamis because it is connected to all four major tectonic plates. It’s only natural that the area’s architecture would evolve to address this unique threat, and that’s the goal of the Tsunami Park Skyscraper. This eVolo Skyscraper Award-winning architectural design takes inspiration from the shape and arrangement of mangrove roots, which help break up waves and currents by slowing water currents almost instantly to disperse their effects.

“Mangroves are intertidal woody plant communities of tropical and subtropical coasts with developed root systems and prodigious growth that have the best tsunami mitigation effects,” note the designers. “Therefore, the skyscraper is inspired by the principle and mechanism of mangrove resistance to tsunamis and consists of a single unit that has been merged into a huge complex along the coast. Each cell consists of a lower column and an upper multi-level platform. The lower pillar consists of thick concrete pillars that create a porous structure to dissipate the tremendous force of the tsunami, while the upper platforms have different sizes, heights and connections to support people’s lives.”

Designers: Wang Jue, Zhang Qian, Zhang Changsheng, Li Muchun, Xu Jing

The skyscrapers have two functional states – a normal state and a disaster state. The great towers hover many feet above the shore, and while they have created a kind of elevated city to live in, the bases of their massive vertical columns form the perfect area for tide fishing and water-based bazaars (like those in Thailand). People gather here for recreational activities such as fishing, swimming and boating.

However, in the face of a tsunami alert, the lower areas are immediately evacuated. When the tidal wave hits the skyscraper, it is instantly broken up into much smaller waves, which immediately dissipate as the water is slowed down by the skyscraper park’s mangrove root pillars. Water is also received by these columns and sent to an underground desalination area for treatment (this also happens daily at high tide). “Our solution strategy is therefore to make something out of a disaster, which means adapting to the tsunami instead of fighting it. Transforming the catastrophic nature of the tsunami into a gift from nature to mankind,” the designers mention.

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