Sand Babel designed by Qiu Song, Kang Pengfei, Bai Ying, Ren Nuoya, Guo Shen won an honorable mention in the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition for its innovative use of sand in its design and construction.
About the project:
Sand Babel is a group of ecological structures designed as scientific research facilities and tourist attractions for the desert. The structures are divided into two parts. The first part, above ground, consists of several independent structures for a desert community while the second part is partially underground and partially above ground connecting several buildings and creating a multi-functional tube network system.
The main portion of each building is constructed with sand, sintered through a solar-powered 3D printer. The top structures are based on the natural phenomena called Tornadoes and Mushroom Rocks, which is very common in deserts. It utilizes a spiral skeleton structure, which is tall, straight and with strong tension, to meet the requirements of residential, sightseeing and scientific research facilities. The dual funnel model not only improves cross-ventilation, but also generates water condensation atop the structures based on temperature differences. The net structure for the portion of underground and surface is similar to tree roots. This design not only helps to keep flowing sand dunes in place but also facilitates communication among the buildings.