Daily Planet

Flying car and 50,000-plant tower design offers a glimpse of a ‘future city’

Richard’s Architecture + Design (RA+D), led by architect Richard Moreta Castillo, has designed a net-zero drone car tower—the first of its kind. The Smart Power Long tower also features a vertical forest of 50,000 trees and shrubs.

The tower is a condominium building planned for the city of Shanghai, and its silhouette is inspired by Chinese dragon art. The exterior is clad in docking stations for flying drone vehicles. The plants—which are scattered throughout the design—purify the air.

Flying vehicles are already a reality: One example is Climate-KIC-supported Volocopter—the first ever fully electric (and emissions-free) multicopter with a permit to fly. Another example—also supported by Climate-KIC—is Lilium Jet, the pioneering electric vertical take-⁠off and landing jet.

The Smart Power Long building will also have integrated cleantech, like a recycling water plant with an ultraviolet disinfection treatment. A vertical electrical power plant will capture solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy. The multi-use building could also have a convention centre, water river biology laboratories, and residences.

Sustainable design is at the heart of RA+D’s work. According to its website, “It is a natural part of the approach that focuses on the user and the spirit of place to ensure that the client receives the best, most sustainable creation for each individual location. Ecodesign is architecture’s response to sustainable development.”

Smart Power Long is designed for Shanghai’s Pudong District, with a budget of over €500 million, and could be built between 2018 and 2020.

The tower design, with its flying car docks, lush vertical forests, and cleantech accoutrements, provides us with a striking image of possible ‘smart city’ infrastructure: A fascinating meld of new, awe-inspiring technologies and the familiar greenery of the natural world.