Sunflower Tower is a residential building inspired by the rhythmic formations of the sunflower seeds and petals. Arches– an important classical shape in architecture compose the façade, and function not only as the main structure of the tower, but adjoin and widen, creating pockets of plant life at each junction. This arcade assembly is repeated throughout the facade, generating a biophilic skin that positions the project towards an equilibrium between the built and the natural world.
The design is a direct response to the increasing urbanization of the Latin American city without consideration for the natural landscape. As cities continue to grow, the natural landscape along with its endemic species is increasingly under threat. In the case of Quito, Ecuador– a city located on the equator where the sun is positioned an almost perfect 90 degrees, and where seasons do not exist, architecture and particularly of high-rise buildings have the immense potential of becoming vertical ecosystems that can take advantage of the equatorial luminance. In this sense, Sunflower Tower, utilizes its equatorial context to become a depository of plant and animal life in the city– attracting pollinators, birds, and bees. With the ability to thrive all year round, incorporating a self-sustaining ecosystem into the built environment not only reduces the tower’s carbon footprint, but also allows the occupant to have a constant and direct connection with nature. Every apartment is surrounded by its own mini forest in the midst of a dense urban setting. This creates a unique user experience, and changes the typical urban backdrop by adding a layer of nature. This not only generates new and unexpected views, but more importantly reconsiders how we perceive and interact with our environments– challenging how we operate within our built world, and aiming to connect human beings with other living systems. As our cities continue to urbanize, this relationship becomes more relevant than ever before. According to the U.N. biodiversity report, 1 million species are now facing extinction because of our negligent human actions. Natural ecosystems are crumbling at an accelerated rate because of us, therefore it is our duty to design a healthier future.