7 wild concepts from the 2024 Skyscraper Competition

From underwater towers to suspended cities.
Suspended skyscraper at Three Gorges
The Cloud Net Above The Three Gorges won an Honorable Mention this year. Credit: eVolo

Since 2006, the architectural design magazine, eVolo, has hosted an annual competition dedicated to highlighting some of the year’s most creative, ambitious, and downright fantastical skyscraper concepts. The publication’s editors announced 2024’s top three winning entries along with 15 honorable mentions picked from a pool of 206 submissions.

[Related: Colossal skyscrapers could harness height for gravity batteries.]

From complex, moving structures featuring integrated farm plots to underwater, ocean-cleaning towers to entire neighborhoods suspended above gigantic dams—this year’s picks may never make it much further than conceptual renderings, but they provide some fascinating, inspirational ideas about what the future of sustainable, intentional city planning could look like across the world.

Urban Intercropping skyscraper concept art
Urban Intercropping – First Place, 2024 Skyscraper Competition. Credit: eVolo

The 2024 Skyscraper Competition’s first place winner is a team whose “Urban Intercropping” submission explores the difficulties facing the metropolitan hub of Xinjiang in northwest China. Inspired by the agricultural method of intercropping, the team’s design features mechanical and non-mechanical facilities to allow for movable housing units and modular farming spaces. For air quality and dust storm control, the team suggests specific plants for each ecological corridor and greenhouse “membrane,” that “provides space for animal migration and healthy green spaces for pedestrians and transportation.”

Ocean Lung concept art
Ocean Lung – Third Place, 2024 Skyscraper Competition. – eVolo

One runner-up, the Ocean Lungs Skyscraper, was envisioned by a 10-person team from Egypt, and would be built over 3000 feet below the ocean’s surface where “state-of-the-art carbon capture technology” would help filter out harmful CO2. The core structure is partially composed of aragonite, a major component in coral skeletons, to help serve as a foundation for new artificial reefs. Meanwhile, the tower’s platforms allow researchers to conduct continuous marine ecosystem monitoring, and present opportunities for scalability to build multiple similar underwater towers.

“Sustainability is paramount,” the team explains in their project description. “This is where innovation meets conservation, breathing life back into the oceans.”

Memory Drop skyscraper concept
Memory Drop – Honorable Mention, 2024 Skyscraper Competition. Credit: eVolo

One of the most surreal ideas came from Germany’s Pablo Allen Vizan and Inma Herves González—the Memory Drop Skyscraper. Located at Point Nemo, a region in the Pacific Ocean that is the farthest from any landmass, the installation appears to be a meditative retreat complex that everyone is entitled to visit once a year. While there, inhabitants will have access to personalized family data archives containing generations of memories, artifacts, and other digital memorabilia. Memory Drop is explicitly described as a “pilgrimage” for anyone who wishes to experience the installation.

Attempting to articulate the whole idea is pretty difficult, especially when Vizan’s and González’s submission includes a description for a teardrop-shaped spherical tower which “contains a symbolic void that gives meaning to its form.” If nothing else the artwork is very pretty—and who wouldn’t want a free annual trip to the Pacific Ocean?

Check out a few more of eVolo’s 2024 honorees below.

Vertical Mega concept art
Vertical Mega Region – Honorable Mention, 2024 Skyscraper Competition. Credit: eVolo
Weave Skyscraper concept art
The Weave Skyscraper – Honorable Mention, 2024 Skyscraper Competition. Credit: eVolo
Air Catcher Skyscraper concept art
Air Catcher Skyscraper – Honorable Mention, 2024 Skyscraper Competition. Credit: eVolo