Japan is now in talks to make their ‘City in the Sky’ project a reality. Conceived by the Shimizu Corporation two decades ago, developments in building materials and other technologies have now made this unique concept possible.
The Biggest Man Made Structure on Earth
The Mega-City Pyramid will be 14 times higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza, and will house 3/4 million people, with an additional 1/4 million people using the upper levels as office and recreational space.
Sitting 730 meters above sea level, the pyramid is will help answer Tokyo’s ever-condensed housing situation.
A new superstructure
The unique megatruss structure — an assembly of regular octahedral units composed of shafts made from lightweight materials such as carbon fiber — makes possible to a huge, livable pyramid city measuring two kilometres high.
The structure will be a multi-purpose city extension combining business, residential, commercial, research, cultural, and leisure facilities.
The larger, lower levels (layers 1 — 4) will comprise residential and office buildings, whilst the upper layers (5 –8) will house research centers, leisure facilities, and a number of unique hotels.
How it works
The city’s basic construction units, each measuring 350 meters per side provide structural support from all directions. Each octahedral unit is formed by vertically joining two square pyramids at their bases. The scope of this project is massive, with each pyramidal structure is about the same size as the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas.
It’s important to note that there is no glass ‘walling in’ these pyramids. The wind-permeable design reduces wind load, while each octahedral unit supports a contained building on all sides. Together with vibration-control devices and clever load distribution, the construction method used allows for a massive structure of great structural integrity.
Each octahedral unit can be configured to hold sets of high-rise residential pyramids, entire 100 story office buildings or even skyparks and playgrounds.
Ingenious construction exposes the interior spaces to abundant sunlight and fresh air. The three-dimensional trusses are slender pipes, allowing sunlight to reach deep into the infrastructure and creating a highly livable environment.
New building materials = new possibilities
When the project was conceived, at the beginning of the 21st century, it was not able to be built with materials available at the time, due to their weight. However, now, with the availability of super-strong lightweight carbon nanotubes, the project can become a reality.
The shafts used to construct each unit are made of the latest lightweight materials (including carbon and glass fibers) for superb strength and durability.
Horizontal shafts, 10 meters in diameter, will contain electrical and communication networks, corridors, and distribution networks, as well as two new transportation systems and observation windows.
The diagonal shafts, each measuring 16 meters in diameter, will house plumbing and electrical networks, two elevators, and a distribution network.
The nodes at which shafts join will serve as strategic transportation hubs. Each node will be covered with a 50-meter-diameter sphere made of crystallized glass that collects and transmits sunlight throughout the city via optical fibers. Intelligent natural lighting indeed!
Use of interlocking, standardized parts and materials will facilitate automation and reduce the time required for construction.
The trusses would be coated with photo voltaic film to convert sunlight into electricity and help power the city.
Tsunami & Earthquake proof building structure
Tsunamis and earthquakes a real threat in today’s world. WIth the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire cutting right through Japan, the external structure of the pyramid will be an open network of mega trusses, with the carbon nanotubes supporting struts made to allow the pyramid to stand against, and let through high winds, as well as survive tsunamis and earthquakes.
The Mega-City will feature a clever internal transport and distribution network, much like the arteries of the human body.
A continuous circulatory transportation system, featuring elevators, moving walkways and smart vehicles will allow people and shipment containers to travel to different sectors, automatically switching routes and between modes of transport to provide the most efficient path.
The Mega-City Pyramid is just one of a number of building projects that we are beginning to see. These new smart designs are making use of the possibilities offered by new, lightweight, ultra-strong building materials to create architectural visions previously out of reach.
Spokesman for the development, Daichi Toyama said “Japan, as the world knows, always has had a futuristic outlook on things. Nothing like this has ever been attempted before. It’s going to be a world first.”
The project is now live, although construction is not due to start until 2029. “A lot of work still needs to be done before we begin, but the important thing is that this is going to be a reality.”
Photo credits: Screenshot of the Tyrell Corporation from the film Blade Runner.
All other photos © Shimizu Corporation