9 Experiments in Large

Photo: Baca Architects

Glasgow: World’s First Floating Village
Twelve acres of Glas­gow waterway are slated to be transformed into the first planned floating village to include homes, office space, stores, restaurants, and a concert venue all bobbing around a U-shaped roadway. The $48 million development, designed by Glasgow-based ZM Architecture and Baca Architects of London, will be completed in 2020.

Photo: DCPP Arquitectos

Lima: World’s Most Audacious Balconies
If built, every unit of DCPP Arquitectos’ Sky Condos, a 131,570-square-foot, twenty-floor luxury condo tower in Lima will feature its very own swimming pool situated on a private cantilevered terrace overlooking the ocean or a nearby golf course. That’s a total of ten private pools jutting out toward the city, the swimmers dolphin-kicking in the air. Just don’t try diving from one to another.

Photo: Brightfarms Inc.

Sunset Park: World’s Largest Rooftop Farm
Starting in early spring, up to 1 million pounds of yearly produce will grow in the planned 100,000-square-foot hydroponic farm atop a Sunset Park warehouse, making it the world’s most expansive rooftop farm.

Photo: JDS Architects

Copenhagen: Most Playful Rooftop Terrace
An undulating 9,690-square-foot private terrace caps the Birkegade Rooftop Penthouses in Copenhagen. Designed by JDS Architects and intended as a sky-high playground, it features a steep flowing staircase leading to an outdoor kitchen, bright-orange play space, wood-floored sundeck, and rolling grassy hill, perfect for somersaults.

Photo: Iwan Baan; Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Chengdu: Interview with Steven Holl, the man behind China’s version of midtown
There’s a Rockefeller Center in the Chinese city of Chengdu—not one of those Las Vegas–style, two-thirds-scale knockoffs, but a contemporary reinterpretation of massive proportions, designed by the New York–based architect Steven Holl. A linked doughnut of elaborately sawn-off and shaped towers, 3 million square feet in all, encloses a series of pavilions, many of which contain art exhibits.

“When I go there, I can’t see it all,” Holl says. “It’s too large. I could spend all day there, walk around it, go up an elevator, over a bridge, but …” He trails off, awed by the dimensions of a complex that began the way all his designs do, as a watercolor sketch on a five-by-seven-inch card.

“I start everything the same way, so it can be a 300-square-foot hut or a 3-million-square-foot project, and it doesn’t really matter because you still have an idea that drives the design that brings the parts into coherence.” Visualizing the whole composition in his mind’s eye is easy; it’s absorbing reality that’s hard. —Justin Davidson

Photo: Jeddah Economic Company/Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Jeddah: World’s Tallest Building
After nearly two years of courting investors, financing is now complete for Kingdom Tower, the glass spike in Saudi Arabia that, when completed in 2018, will be the world’s tallest building.

Photo: Courtesy of Iñaki Echeverria

Mexico City: 43 Times the Size of Central Park
Construction began in August on the Texcoco Lake Ecological Park, 35,000 acres of dried lake bed slated to become the biggest urban park in the world. Around 43 times the size of Central Park and encompassing more than a tenth of Mexico City’s metropolitan area, the new park is designed to become a vital component of the city’s infrastructure, providing not only recreation spaces but storm-water catchment, water-cleaning wetlands, community gardens, and a variety of renewable energy installations.

Photo: Fraunhofer Ivi

Dresden: Longest City Bus
Carrying 256 passengers within its 98-foot-long cab, Dresden’s experimental AutoTram Extra Grand is twice the length of the average city bus. External cameras, independently steered axles, and high-tech GPS allow this behemoth to maneuver congested city streets.

Photo: C. F. Moller Architects

Stockholm:Largest Indoor Ski Run
If plans move forward, Stockholm’s Skipark 360° will be the longest indoor ski run, with a length of 2,300 feet and a vertical drop of 525 feet (double the height of the Brooklyn Bridge).

9 Experiments in Large