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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Introducing... the earth-scraper: Architects design 65-storey building which plunges 300 metres below ground

By Hugo Gye
From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Architects have designed an incredible 65-storey 'earth-scraper' which plunges 300 metres below ground.

The stunning upside down pyramid in the middle of Mexico City is designed to get around height limits on new buildings in the capital.


The subterranean building will have 10 storeys each for homes, shops and a museum, as well as 35 storeys for offices.

Deep: The 65-storey 'earth-scraper' is set to plunge 300m into the ground beneath Mexico City
Deep: The 65-storey 'earth-scraper' is set to plunge 300m into the ground beneath Mexico City
Epic scale: The enormous complex is intended to get round the city's planning laws, which state that buildings can be no more than eight storeys high
Epic scale: The enormous complex is intended to get round the city's planning laws, which state that buildings can be no more than eight storeys high
Landmark: The earth-scraper would be located in the city's main square, and topped with an enormous Mexican flag
Landmark: The earth-scraper would be located in the city's main square, and topped with an enormous Mexican flag

A glass floor covers the massive 240m x 240m hole in the city's main square to filter in natural light from the world above.

The design has been crowned with a Mexican flag.

Esteban Suarez, from architecture firm BNKR Arquitectura, said the building would also house a new cultural centre.

Scary: The core is all made of glass to ensure that all parts of the building receive natural sunlight from the world outside
Scary: The core is all made of glass to ensure that all parts of the building receive natural sunlight from the world outside
Relaxing: Designers expect the public areas of the building to become a popular destination for those wishing to escape the bustle of the city
Relaxing: Designers expect the public areas of the building to become a popular destination for those wishing to escape the bustle of the city
Heritage: The earth-scraper is expected to contain a museum and cultural centre which will explore the history of Mexico and its pyramids
Heritage: The earth-scraper is expected to contain a museum and cultural centre which will explore the history of Mexico and its pyramids

He said: 'New infrastructure, office, retail and living space are required in the city but no empty plots are available.


'Federal and local laws prohibit demolishing historic buildings and even if this was so, height regulations limit new structures to eight storeys.


'The city's historic centre is in desperate need of a makeover but we have nowhere to put it, this means the only way to go is down.'


He added: 'The Earthscraper preserves the iconic presence of the city square and the existing hierarchy of the buildings that surround it.


'It is an inverted pyramid with a central void to allow all habitable spaces to enjoy natural lighting and ventilation.


'It will also allow the numerous activities that take place on the city square year round such as concerts, open-air exhibitions and military parades to go ahead.'

Unobtrusive: One advantage of the unusual structure is that it would create space in the centre of Mexico City, which is full of historic buildings which cannot be demolished
Unobtrusive: One advantage of the unusual structure is that it would create space in the centre of Mexico City, which is full of historic buildings which cannot be demolished
Green: The interior of the building is supposed to look natural and welcoming
Green: The interior of the building is supposed to look natural and welcoming
Efficient: The creative use of space would allow the plaza to be used for events such as concerts and military parades
Efficient: The creative use of space would allow the plaza to be used for events such as concerts and military parades
Massive: The space covering the earth-scraper will take up 240 square metres in the heart of Mexico's capital
Massive: The space covering the earth-scraper will take up 240 square metres in the heart of Mexico's capital

Pyramids play a large part in the architectural history of Mexico, as the country's anicent civilisations have often build huge pyramid structures.


When the Aztecs first came into the Valley of Mexico they built their pyramids on the lake they found there.


As the Aztec Empire grew in size and power they conceived a new and bigger pyramid, but instead of looking for a new site they just built it on and around the existing one.

The traditional pyramids are therefore composed of different layers of historical periods.

Modern: Much of the building is expected to be devoted to office space
Modern: Much of the building is expected to be devoted to office space
Shopping: The earth-scraper would almost certainly become one of the city's top retail destinations as soon as it opened
Shopping: The earth-scraper would almost certainly become one of the city's top retail destinations as soon as it opened
Connected: This picture shows the proposed metro station which would pass through the earth-scraper just below ground level
Connected: This picture shows the proposed metro station which would pass through the earth-scraper just below ground level

When the Spanish arrived in America and ultimately conquered the Aztecs, they erected Christian churches on top of the pyramids.


Eventually their whole colonial city was built over the Aztec one. In the 20th century, many colonial buildings were demolished and modern structures raised on the existing historic foundations.


Esteban added: 'The Earthscraper digs down through the layers of cities to uncover our roots.'
Novelty: No other public building extends so far beneath the ground
Novelty: No other public building extends so far beneath the ground
Technical: The building would be an extraordinary feat of engineering
Technical: The building would be an extraordinary feat of engineering
Today: The plaza, shown as it looks currently, would be transformed by the radical plan
Today: The plaza, shown as it looks currently, would be transformed by the radical plan

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