/ Events/ Research di: Davide Mariani

B.I.O.S. Tower

bios codingcity

Ok…we know we are not in time, but we discovered only last week this important result (from last April…) about our submission in the Living Cities Competition held by Metropolis Magazine.
Nevertheless, we would like to talk a bit about it, even if in late.

For the competition, Metropolis magazine asked participants for solutions to the housing crisis facing New York, that is expected to gain a million more residents by 2040, placing a strain on housing and transport. For this challenge dealing both technical and futuristic aspects, in addition to the two winners, five projects have been mentioned as runners-up .

Our B.I.O.S. Tower is between the runners-up and it has been published in a lot of websites such as Bustler, archready and Global Possibilities.

Also considering the importance of the jury:
Kai-Uwe Bergmann – Partner at BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group
Craig Schwitter – Principal at Buro Happold
Sylvia Smith – Senior Partner at FXFOWLE
Gary Higbee – Director of Industry Development at the Steel and Ornamental Metal Institutes of New York
Susan S. Szenasy – Director of Metropolis Magazine

we are really proud of our guy!

Here you can see some original images from our lab:




B.I.O.S. is the achronym for “Boundary Interaction of Open Systems”.
For physicists the boundary is not a thing, but an action and the environments are understood as energy fields.
The boundary operates as a transitional zone between different states of an energy fields.

Boundaries are therefore, by definition, active zones of mediation rather than delineation: in the context of thermodynamics a boundary determines the relation between a thermodynamic systems and its surroundings.
An “active” surface is the principal plane of climatic activity in a system. This is the level where the majority of the radiant energy is absorbed, reflected and emitted; where the main transformation of energy and mass occur; where wind is intercepted.



The skyscraper envelope is based on an environmental modulation of sunlight and insolation for a performance-oriented screen-wall (an idea very similar to mashrabiyas: wooden latticework able to regulate the passage of light, used in vernacular architecture in hot arid climates).

The envelope consists of a generative steel facade managed by an algorithm (developed in Grasshopper for Rhinoceros), able to combine about 20 metal panels having same sizes but different fretwork (based on irradiance data calculated by DIVA-Environmental analysis for buildings in the summer weeks period), able to manage and modulate environmental data and to permit the external visual at the same time.
This is a skyscraper envelope prototype, so the algorithm generates different fretworks depending on location, orientation, neighboring buildings shading, always keeping the same panel size.

Considering the coastal wind and weather conditions, has been developed an inner curtain skin that consists of high performance insulating glass. The outer skin reduces horizontal wind loads and the climate impact on the inner envelope. The Steel screen wall can provide visual protection, shading an ventilation.


Humans can officially be called an urban species.
More than half of the global population now live in cities and the United Nations says that by 2030, 60 percent of us will live in them. Cities are a dynamic and vital part of global culture and are the main engines of social, economic and technological development but to provide their population and development with the myriad of services demanded, cities need large amounts of energy.

The population increases and cities continue to grow. Becomes increasingly difficult to produce enough food and energy (power) to ‘feed’ both. The cities enlarge their size, increasing the need of power. Also population enlarges its size, requiring more houses and maintenance. Two kind of growing that collide together.

A city not as suited for solar power, as New York, can takes advantage of another renewable cleaned resource: wind.
The tower includes 12 wind turbine with vertical axis placed in the roof top. Six aerodynamic steel blades canalyze the wind streams improving the efficiency of the wind turbines. At full capacity, will generate 5% of the building’s energy needs. This may not seem like very much, but it amounts to several dozen mega (million) watt hours annually–saving the owners and residents a great deal of money.



The vertical axis wind turbine is based on a rotating drum mounted on a vertical axis with the top and bottom discs providing stabilisation. Rather than traditional rotors, the turbine uses blades in a cylindrical array. This has a number of advantages that contribute to the generators’ silent operation, reliability, lower maintenance needs and the ability to regulate spin in the event of high winds.

As the wind speed increases centrifugal forces act on inside of the blades and force them to swing to the outside. The weight on the central axis is holding the blades through a cable in position. With increasing wind speed the weight will be lifted and eventually close the turbine to a complete cylinder, avoiding destruction in storm force winds. The rotation of the axis drives the generator to produce the power.


The main structure of the tower is its steel skeleton.
Wide flange beams (HEM) are riveted end to end to form vertical columns. At each floor level, these vertical columns are connected to horizontal girder beams (HEA). The structure of each floor is made by wide flange beams (IPE). A metal deck with reinforced concrete ensures transverse stifness and a correct distribution of loads. Aluminium vertical sections, fixed to floor structure (IPE) with steel angles, support the curtain wall system and the metal panels of the performative skin.