Ambitious concept design by OFL proposes dramatic adaptation to legendary Silk Road
OFL architecture presents their winning entry for the Silk Road Map International Competition, portraying a concept that integrates infrastructure with architecture by means of a new railway system functioning on gravitational platforms.
Branching across East, South and Western Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe and Northern Africa, the Silk Road is a vast interconnected mesh of trade routes well travelled by the seasoned explorer Marco Polo. OFL's Silk Road Map Evolution (SRME) stretches from Venice to Xian, Shanghai and Tokyo, generating new infrastructures, commercial services and residential accommodation.
Used for thousands of years for trade caravans, diplomatic missions, merchants, representatives of religious circles, dervishes and warriors, the Silk Road was christened such by the Chinese silk trade which began during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). This winning competition proposal suggests a complex rebranding process, whereby 15,000km of the Silk Road is broken up by bionic towers ‘which will represent the centres of new urban sprawls'. It is also hinted that additional paths will break off this central line to establish a larger economic armature.
Included in the concept design is an extensive network of tunnels and highly sustainable, habitable towers of varying form and function. Organised in vertical and circular skyscrapers whose forms are dictated by their internal functions and relationship with the railway system, this global city is stretched thinly over an immense distance. Three different styles of skyscraper are suggested with a median height of 400m, anchored by a railway system that forms the main path of the Silk Road and new line of commercial and public transport.
The trains are designed to travel on polarised gravitational fields whilst an unprecedented energy system is placed on the inside of the train tracks. OFL explains: "This is composed of various piezoelectric panels integrated into the tracks which capture energy created by waves of pressure resulting from train traffic and transform it into electricity."