When Shanghai Tower opens in 2014 it will be a building that you’ll likely want to put on your “architecture to see before you die” list. Nebuchadnezzar’s famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon (circa the 7th century BCE) are going to be as nothing compared to this, for the skyscraper will contain, not one, but nine atrium park areas, and they will all be open to the public. These park areas, elevated heavenward, will function, not just as panoramic green spaces overlooking the city, but as hubs for restaurants, cafes, and shopping. Here’s Dan Winey, of the Gensler architecture firm, describing the building’s extraordinary design and environmental features:
And below is a 16th century Dutch artist imagining the Hanging Gardens of Babylon with the Tower of Babel as its background. In the ancient world, it was considered quite an extraordinary feat of engineering to deliver river water high up onto the roof of a building, and for that roof to then bear, without leakage or collapse, the amount of water and soil necessary to support lavish foliage and large trees.
A garden lifted above the earth. That’s a trope for heaven, isn’t it?
Image source: Wikipedia Commons.