Skyscraper Competition




Established in 2006, the annual Skyscraper Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious awards for high-rise architecture.

Global warming is seen as environmental and social changes caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases. Major changes to climate have already been observed, including extreme weather events. As time goes on, our deserts are getting bigger and bigger. It’s currently 10 percent larger than it was nearly a century ago. Even when it does rain deserts surface air can be so hot and dry that the precipitation evaporates mid-air. These effects can occur up to 600m above the ground.

We come to a place with such deteriorating climatic conditions stricken with extreme poverty. In a gloomy belt within the Sahara Desert with rich soil further south, known as the Sahel. The Sahel faces drought and famine as these barren desert conditions spread. As a result, hunger forces people to give up on their homeland and move to cities.

A farmer from Burkina Faso has reintroduced an ancient farming technique to reverse desertification. Sawadogo is known for turning barren land into the forest using “zai” – pits dug in hardened soil that concentrates water and nutrients, allowing crops to withstand severe drought conditions. This technique has been used to restore thousands of hectares of dry land and in turn, successfully reducing hunger in Burkina Faso and Niger. Vast landscapes of the desert have been transformed into fertile life-giving soil. Crops can be planted, forests can regrow, and the people can return to their homes.

This inspiration has led to the design and implementation of water harvesting and storing skyscraper(s). As a result, this will give the people of Sahel a fighting chance to stay in their homelands. To prosper and thrive in a dreamlike oasis.

The Skyscraper reaches a height of 1km above the ground surface. This is done to collect the rain and mist before it evaporates. The water will be redirected down the skyscraper creating a force used to generate hydroelectric energy. The water will then be stored underground in big tanks. When water is needed it will be pumped from the storage tanks, utilizing the generated energy to the tower’s roots, which releases a mist over the desert ground. The mist is released slowly to allow the water to cool down the dry desert. This mist will water crops and create water points for the people to collect for drinking and sanitation.

These skyscrapers are placed in several different areas in the Sahel region and are connected via the root systems to share the water if needed by other communities. The issue with sustainable access to water is a regular source of stress and tensions between communities and can result in morbidity and mortality. The hope would be to provide these preventative measures with the deployment of this infrastructure and water service (WASH, irrigation and energy) to reach everyone, everywhere and restore the pathway to peace and prosperity in the desert.