Bizarre ‘Living’ Skyscrapers Made From Genetically Engineered Trees Win Architectural Competition

by : Daniel Richardson on : 11 May 2021 11:28
eVolo Tree SkyscrapereVolo US

A Ukrainian team of architects has created a living skyscraper at the 2021 eVolo Skyscraper Competition.

The science behind a grove of genetically modified trees has been used to develop an eco-friendly high rise concept. The idea is still in a theoretical stage, but it managed to top the eVolo Skyscraper Competition which had over 500 competitors.


The competition began in 2006 intending to ‘challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments.’ With this purpose in mind, it seems that the group of architects who won this year had a perfect idea.

Evolo ConecptEvolo

As a genetically engineered tree grows, it would be shaped to form a skyscraper. The levels in the building would be created from the branches, and there are even proposals for the furniture to be made from the trees.

The team explained the result intended from the tree concept in their submission to the competition:


We believe that by integrating genetically modified trees during the stage of their growth and development into architecture, we can restore the balance between the digitalized megacities and the Earth’s resources, which are gradually depleted.

The team went on to note that ‘a skyscraper tree is a separate living organism with its own root system, irrigation, care mechanisms, and features of development focused on its adaptation to use in architecture.’ This system could change the way cityscapes look and lower emissions if buildings can successfully be created. Furthermore, the buildings would simply need water and fertilizer to survive.

eVolo / SkyscrapereVolo

A member of the team behind this proposal, Andrii Lesyuk, explained that the genetically engineered trees would allow buildings to be created in 15 years. This is because the trees are programmed to grow at a much quicker rate than they do normally.


Lesyuk told Zaxid.Net of his inspiration for the project and how it developed:

I began thinking that if we could accelerate the growth of these trees, they could reach an even greater height and we could mould them into any shape. With the help of special guideway systems, we can even grow a skyscraper.

The team has been awarded $5,000 for their effort, and many will be interested to see if this technology can be developed.

eVolo skyscraper raineVolo

Other entries included high rises that collect water to solve issues of unpredictable rain patterns in Mexico City. This innovative idea placed in second while third place was given to a plan to mix agricultural history in Chinese high rises.

The top ideas are inspired, and it will be thrilling to see if they enter commercial development. If they do, our cities could look radically different in the coming years.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: Technology, Now, Tech


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