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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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I think this is fairly obvious but:
I doubt they are cheaper, in fact I suspect it would be much more expensive. Also they are less space efficient than a skyscraper because you would need to use a huge area of site at ground floor level whereas skyscrapers can be slender and they can increase in floorplate size as they go up to minimize ground level footprint, like the gherkin does for instance. Finally how do you ventilate it? You'd have to waste a huge quantity of energy sucking air down from above somewhere...unless you had HUGE HUGE vents, which is a further waste of space.
 

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Walking around New York in the 1920s and looking up at 50 stories probably took some getting used to, too.

The earth that is removed to create the hole could be used for flood defences, civil engineering projects.

Ventilation could be provided by the void in the centre of the 'earthscraper'. This would need to be mechanically assisted, like in any large building.

The main expense would be that none have been built before, so there would be so many unforeseen problems, for instance - the weight of the earth pushing against the sides of the structure is immense even in buildings a few stories below ground level. The sheer piling and bracing required to keep the structure from collapsing in on itself from the weight of the earth would be extremely expensive and would be prototypical.

Then there's the heat down there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So we're still left wondering. Based on the 3 responses is it safe for me to have the last laugh over my friend?

I want to be serious until I'm sure the fat lady has sung.

Also, just to avoid a shallow bump, the article got me thinking about a city that is entierly flat to the ground. Like imagine you're walking on flat desert land and you find out that you're walking over a 50 million strong city.

Inhabitants of such a city would have no reason to go above ground except for expeditions and excursions.
 

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I think there is absolutely no reason to build into the ground. Buildings are always made for people to look at, take pictures and most of all to create a unique image of the city. Like PadArch said, ventilation would be a big problem, but for me there's something even more important - light. People don't take lack of sunlight very well. No matter how good lighting you have, it will always feel different than the natural one and you would need to illuminate each and every floor, almost all of the time.
 

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So we're still left wondering. Based on the 3 responses is it safe for me to have the last laugh over my friend?

I want to be serious until I'm sure the fat lady has sung.

Also, just to avoid a shallow bump, the article got me thinking about a city that is entierly flat to the ground. Like imagine you're walking on flat desert land and you find out that you're walking over a 50 million strong city.

Inhabitants of such a city would have no reason to go above ground except for expeditions and excursions.
there's one thing I love about that idea: a CAR FREE city of 50 million! AWESOME!
 

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Here are few images of BNKR Arquitectura's Earthscraper concept aims to address Mexico City's residential problems with a 300m underground pyramid. But with an $800m price tag and a host of unanswered questions,


"If the earth decided to scrape back, would the building's pyramid structure be strong enough?"
Interesting article Discussing this concept...


The Earthscraper would delve 300 metres below Mexico City's main square



Regular 'earth lobbies' would be installed to improve interior air quality
.




BNKR's design calls for a huge glass ceiling to cover the building's massive central void





 

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Wonder how it would fare in the event of a fire. The only escape route would be up, coincidentally the same way all the smoke would go and the fire would spread.

Water leakages would also be a fun little problem. Or heck, even just regular water and sewage systems. In normal skyscrapers, water is liquid when pumped up, and sewage is sent the other way via gravity. Now reverse the order. Supplying the thing with water wouldn't be a problem - you'd actually have to reduce the pressure several times on the way down - but sewage? All that sludge and bits of things floating in the water, and some waste flushed down toilets because people are morons... try to build a pump accomodating for all that, with the same uptime requirements as a regular pump pumping only clean and entirely liquid water. In regular buildings, getting waste out and away is thankfully no problem in case of power failure. Here, everything would seep to the bottom whenever something goes wrong or breaks down. You'd need a small sewage treatment plant to make the sewage sufficiently slushy to be pumped away. The smell would not be very pleasant.

You could also mention insulation. Above ground in Mexico, keeping a building warm shouldn't be much of a problem. The air tends to be hot (probably colder in winter, especially seeing the elevation of the city), and it doesn't conduct much heat anyway.
Solid ground, however, is a different matter altogether. The immediate surroundings of most of the building would keep a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius at any time, year round. Rock also conducts heat quite a bit better than air, so any heated object (say, a building) would quickly be cooled down. There is also sunlight up above, not so much down there except for a couple of hours around noon. Add to this the tendency of cold air to sink down, and the earthscraper would require a lot of heating to stay comfortably temperate.

All in all, the earthscraper sounds like a terribly impractical idea. I also wonder how it would fare, given Mexico City's problem with sinking ground water levels.
 
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