A skyscraper + ferris wheel + zoo. Wait…what?

Influx Studio hopes this rare architectural combination will inspire Buenos Aires residents and visitors to take action that helps wildlife.

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.

Image Credit: Influx Design via Inhabitat

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.

Image Credit: Influx Studio via Inhabitat

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.

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Beth Lebwohl