Influx Studio, a Paris-based design firm, recently proposed to the city of Buenos Aires what’s got to be a one-of-a-kind construction project: a skyscraper + ferris wheel that doubles (or triples?) as a zoo. Influx is calling this a “vertical safari,” as Inhabitat reports:
As the wheel turns in the sky, visitors are taken to various levels where animals reside, up to 240 meters in the sky. Proposed for a site on the edge of Puerto Madero’s Reserve waterfront park, the park would allow visitors to [glimpse] lions while taking in an aerial view of beautiful Buenos Aires.
We’re not sure exactly where lions fit into the picture, but — as you can see the photo above — ferris wheel riders would be treated to some kind of animal company as they turned ’round the sky. Again, from Inhabitat:
Unlike a ferris wheel, the zoo’s observation wheel will turn at an incredibly slow speed -– taking 30 minutes to cover a half circuit. The top of the skyscraper is home to a resting point, where visitors can [shop].
A skyscraper would helm this wheel. It would presumably house businesses. We’re not sure how much work we would get done if we sat all day with a view of tourists observing animals suspended in the sky! But maybe that’s besides the point.
Influx Studio hopes that the combination skyscraper/zoo/ferris wheel will inspire visitors to take action benefitting wildlife and ecosystems.
We wonder how controversial Influx’s proposal might be, even though it purports to showcase, and ultimately benefit, wildlife. Not everyone will view it the same way. Wangari Maathai comes to mind; the great environmental activist and founder of the Green Belt movement gained fame when she organized protest against construction of a skyscraper in Nairobi, Kenya in 1989. Kenya’s then-president had proposed the construction of a skyscraper inside Uhuru Park, Nairobi’s largest green space.
Bottom line: A skyscraper + ferris wheel + zoo is a new type of architectural hybrid that Influx Studio is proposing for Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Beth Lebwohl researches, writes and helps produce science content in audio and video formats for EarthSky. She is one of the authors on EarthSky.org, a script-writer for our podcasts, and helps host our English science podcasts in 90-second, 8-minute and 22-minute formats. Beth came to EarthSky in 2006 from the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Astrophysics, where she was surrounded by some of the greatest telescope-building, equation-wielding, code-writing physicists of our time. And they made her think . . . this science thing . . . it's pretty cool.