The Mile

The world’s highest vertical park and observation deck 2016

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The Mile, a concept design for a one-mile high vertical park and observation deck, will be presented by CRA at Cannes’ MIPIM, starting on March 16th, 2016. The Mile has been developed by international design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati together with German engineering firm schlaich bergermann partner, and British digital design studio Atmos.


At a proposed height of one mile (1609 meters) topped by a publicly-accessible observation deck, The Mile will be the world’s highest man-made construction - around twice the height of today’s tallest building. From base to apex, the structure will offer a natural ecosystem, covered by plants and greenery, inhabited by hundreds of animal species, and criss-crossed with a delicate latticework of transportation lines.


“Imagine you take New York’s Central Park, turn it vertical, roll it and twirl it: that’s The Mile”, says Professor Carlo Ratti, founder of the design office CRA and Director of the MIT Senseable City Lab: “Parks are a vital commodity of the land-market, and of quality urban life, and with The Mile we can put this essential resource within the established fabric of almost any metropolis”.


To achieve The Mile’s exceptional height, an engineering study led by schlaich bergermann partner, one of the world’s leading engineering firm, was developed to implement a groundbreaking lightweight structure, based on a structural, 20-meter-wide shaft, kept in compression and secured through a net of pre-stressed cables. All around the shaft, a series of orbiting capsules will allow visitors to gradually ascend to the top, enjoying the spectacular panorama at different speeds and approaches.


“Following the example of the 1972 Munich Olympic complex, engineered by Joerg Schlaich and Rudolf Bergermann, which pushed the boundaries of the possible and became a milestone in architectural history, the structural concept for The Mile is technically feasible only due to its consequent and uncompromised light-weight approach”, says Boris Reyher, Associate and team leader at schlaich bergermann partner: “The architectural form and the spatial equilibrium of forces become one and the same thing. On the one hand, this leads to an optimized usage of high-grade materials. On the other hand, the structural form and load paths become intuitively comprehensible by every spectator”.


The Mile concept has been originally developed by CRA, schlaich bergermann partner and Atmos for a client who whished to remain anonymous. Today, the project is set to be officially presented for the first time to the public at MIPIM 2016, the world’s principal commercial fair for real estate professionals.


The Mile’s financial model is based on the examples of successful structures such as Paris’ Tour Eiffel, or The London Eye, both earning tens of millions of dollars in profits each year. The general concept of a one-mile vertical park, featuring an extraordinary constellation of Sky decks, forecasts substantial profits, especially for those cities frequented by intense fluxes of tourists.


The visitors’ experiences in the Vertical Park will be varied and engaging. The ascent to the observation decks will utilise orbiting sculptural capsules, which can host meetings, dinners, concerts, or even pools - allowing people to inhabit the sky in unprecedented ways. The capsules will be equipped with open-air Virtual Reality screens, permitting an interaction with the 360-degree view over the landscape. Aloft in the sky, visitors can see the city as is - or could be, unencumbered by headsets that typically accompany VR.


“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete”, the great 20th-century American author and thinker Richard Buckminster Fuller once said. Inspired by his visions, the Mile not only addresses mankind’s timeless quest for vertical elevation; it also tackles our need to look at the world from different perspectives.


The Mile: a concept design by Carlo Ratti Associati (Carlo Ratti, Giovanni de Niederhäusern, Emma Greer, Saverio Panata, Alberto Bottero, Gary di Silvio, Andrea Galli, Pietro Leoni, Monica Löve), schlaich bergermann partner (Joerg Schlaich, founding partner; Mike Schlaich, managing partner; Boris Reyher, associate and Berlin office manager), Atmos (Alex Haw)

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    The Mile, a concept design for a one-mile high vertical park and observation deck, will be presented by CRA at Cannes’ MIPIM, starting on March 16th, 2016. The Mile has been developed by international design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati together with German engineering firm schlaich bergermann partner, and British digital design studio Atmos. At a proposed height of one mile (1609 meters) topped by a publicly-accessible observation deck, The Mile will be the world’s...

    Project details
    • Year 2016
    • Status Unrealised proposals
    • Type Parks, Public Gardens / Leisure Centres
    Lovers 20 users