You Could Travel the World in a Skyscraper Strapped to an Asteroid ... If These Architects Are Successful

The world’s tallest building may one day not even be attached to Earth’s surface. A New York City-based architecture firm has released plans for a skyscraper that redefines the very word. Clouds Architecture Firm proposed an idea for a building that would dangle from an asteroid in Earth’s orbit and take residents on a tour of the world over a 24-hour period. The “Analemma Tower” would use a principle called the “Universal Orbital Support System,” to suspend the skyscraper from an asteroid via a high-strength cable. Every day (or 24-hour period) the tower would make a figure-eight tour around the world. The tower’s path would take it from New York City on a loop that would hit Cartagena, Medellin, Atlanta, Havana, and Panama City. The tower would hit its most southern point off the coast of Peru before looping back up. (It would probably not be the best residence for sufferers of motion sickness.)

“The tower would move at its slowest speed at the top and bottom of the figure eight allowing the possibility for the tower’s occupants to interface with the planet’s surface at these points,” the firm said in their proposal. So residents will be able to get on and off the tower and take care of any business on the ground at the southernmost and northernmost peaks of the loop. It’s the bottom part of the tower wherein guests would take care of most of their business. Not only would there be a transfer station where guests can “interact” with the earth below (get off the tower, get back on, or receive packages), but the firm has proposed dining, shopping, and entertainment centers at the very bottom of the tower. Above the entertainment complex would be offices, where guests would commute during business hours. Above that are green spaces for agriculture and gardening, and then above that are the actual living spaces.

The parts of the tower furthest away from Earth are reserved for more spiritual practices. There are a few floors that act as a monument, then a place for worship, then a reliquary, and finally at the very top is the designated “funerary,” where, presumably, residents would go to deal with death. The upper levels would also be covered in solar panels to generate power for the rest of the building, so it’s not all bad. In fact, the project has a fairly sustainable plan all around. “Water would be filtered and recycled in a semi-closed loop system, replenished with condensate captured from clouds and rainwater,” according to the firm. Guests would use “cable-less electromagnetic elevators” to move from floor to floor in the tower. The highest part of the tower would be about 20 miles above Earth while the asteroid to which the tower is attached would sit about 31,000 miles in the sky. 

According to the firm, the tower’s ideal resident is someone who appreciates “extreme height, seclusion and constant mobility.” Because the tower is not grounded to a specific place on Earth, it can be built anywhere. The firm proposed building the tower in Dubai (where production costs are lower) and then transporting it to a resting place in New York City. Just bear in mind that the plan for the tower is merely speculative and there aren’t (as of yet) any plans to move forward with construction. However the firm insists that the tower could be reality and not just something from science fiction. Although no one has yet harnessed and relocated an asteroid, in 2021, NASA has scheduled an “Asteroid Redirect Mission.” If successful, it could lay the groundwork for the Analemma Tower.