Lee Tree Buildings of Lishui
Given the recent discovery of extreme high tensile strength materials such as graphene and nano-tubes it doesn’t take a genius to realize that office buildings of the future will have a dramatically different look and structure. The real question is; what will they look like? For my city of the future, I designed office buildings that were both esthetically pleasing and would maximized profits for the builder. The most valuable and expensive offices in any office building are the windowed offices, so I designed my buildings like trees with dozens of branches to maximize window area. The following is a passage from the Spark Anomaly where I describe these office buildings.
Helen looked at the map and then looked up to get her bearings. She stared awestruck at the scene before her eyes. She had of course seen pictures of Lishui, the modern city built as an oasis in the Gobi desert, but she had never imagined the scale or splendor. The buildings were spectacular. Rather than vertical rectangular structures, they looked more like trees in a forest. She had read about the city’s architect, Henry Lee, who had been inspired by Walt Disney and Bugsy Siegel, both of whom had developed global attractions in the middle of desert wastelands. However, unlike Disney, who had built the Disney World amusement park in the middle of Florida, or Siegel, who had started a gambling mecca in the Nevada desert, Lee had designed a modern city that used the latest technologies to provide optimal living conditions for nearly a million residents. It had been a monumental achievement. Like Las Vegas, Lishui primarily existed along a short strip of roadway fronted by monumental skyscrapers, all designed by Lee. A desert wasteland waited less than a half a mile from the last of Lee’s buildings.
Helen examined one of the tree-shaped skyscrapers. The hundreds of tube-like branches that sprang up from the center trunk gave nearly every residence or business office a windowed view of the city. The outer tubes bent in a slow arc reaching an apex and then extended a bit farther, like the branches of a tree sagging toward the ground. Lee had designed the structures to maximize the window area toward the sun by systematically reducing the curvature of the inner branches. The tree-like buildings extended over the roadways, shading pedestrians and automobile traffic. The most desirable rooms were those at the tips of the outer tubes. Floors at the tip were transparent, providing inhabitants with an amazing view of the city, as if they were floating a thousand feet off the ground. Helen had read about several famous restaurants that now occupied those rooms.
The rooms in each tube consisted of shops, small business offices, and apartments serviced by an intelligent elevator system in the center core. A dozen or so rooms, each with picture-window views, surrounded the elevator shaft. Periodically, the tube branches were connected to each other by elevator shaft branches that allowed the residents to travel anywhere in the building. The elevators traveled about the building more like cars than elevators, taking the passengers through the complicated maze of interior passageways to their desired destination. A computer carefully controlled the elevator traffic flow so there were rarely delays in transportation. The architect had tinted the buildings’ windows so that the branches were in varying colors, giving the buildings the look of a forest in autumn. The effect was stunning.
Helen looked down the street at some of the other Lee buildings. All had the same basic tree-like design, but each was slightly different. Some looked like palm trees, with tall narrow trunks branching out to office space plumage that shaded the surrounding buildings. Others looked more like bushes, with branches appearing to spring directly from the ground. Collectively they resembled a beautiful garden designed for a species of giants.
At the foot of the skyscrapers stood an eclectic mix of small buildings occupied by people and businesses that either couldn’t afford to or chose not to live in the massive structures. Lee had strongly objected to their construction, believing that they would be a blight on the paradise that he had created. However, rather than an eyesore, these buildings provided a contrasting perspective that allowed the visitor to understand the magnitude of Lee’s undertaking. Helen thought the juxtaposition of the various building styles gave the city a spark of life. By themselves, Lee’s buildings were magnificent, but a little too perfect. Somehow, the surrounding chaos added a sense of realism.