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Phyllotactic Towers © VERK Studio

Saleh Masoumi Verki has developed a novel concept for urban residential architecture. Nearly all of the residential towers that have been built as of December 2012 have had a big common weak point: Residents of these towers do not have access to the open sky above, because their apartments do not have yards.

This common characteristic of the tall residential buildings has caused many negative psychological consequences on people and especially on children. From an architectural point of view, this usual weak point is due to the fact that in almost the entire built residential towers, the floor of the upstairs is the ceiling of the downstairs. So there is no possibility for having yards in the units.

Yards have been an ancient and fundamental component of human housing during human history, but the contemporary high-rise residential architecture has neglected this vital part of human housing. A house without a yard is not a house; it is an apartment unit (flat) and an apartment unit is not a natural place for human being to live, because it ignores the result of thousands years of human life, namely yard.

Units of a phyllotctic tower do not have common floor slabs which is the essential difference between the Phyllotaxy system and le Corbusier’s Domino system. In phyllotactic towers, each apartment unit has its own open-to-the-sky-yard, so it is possible to name each unit of these towers a house.

The requirement of having a yard for each unit of phyllotactic towers has a secondary result: The surface are-to-volume ratio of the tower reaches the maximum level which means the maximum ability to harvest natural energy. Because of this characteristic, the contact surface of the towers to outdoors is high, so it causes high temperature fluctuations during year (or day and night). It might also cause a high level of energy losses in some climates, but because the phyllotactic towers can harvest maximum level of solar energy and natural ventilation it is possible to establish a balance between the extra lost and gained energy.

Studies show that the arrangement of leaves on some plant stems is in specific patterns to enable the plants to harvest maximum of natural sources. These patterns are called phyllotaxis and in a phyllotactic tower some of these patterns are applied about the houses around the central core. The vertical and horizontal distances between the houses in phyllotactic towers can be varied through different phyllotactic patterns, based on the geographical area and climatic condition. Dimer, Trimer and Tetramer arrangements are some of the architectural phyllotactic patterns.

Almost all parts of the phyllotactic tower have direct access to fresh air and sun light. The houses cast the least possible amount of shadow on each other due to the phyllotactic pattern, similar to the way that leaves on plants behave. It should be mentioned that the science of urbanism is trying to solve a complicated problem at present in the field of sustainability. The problem is: how could a city be compact and human-friendly? How could a city be dense and apartments of that city have yards and gardens coincidently? The phyllotactic towers solve this dilemma of sustainability easily.

Outcomes:
• No one can estimate the amount of negative effects of living in yard-less apartments on human beings. Presenting a prototype for residential towers that can be adopted with some different climates in which all units have their own open-to-the-sky yard is completely new.
• If simulations and calculations show that phyllotactic towers have no weak points from a financial point of view during a 50-year period, they can make a drastic revolution in the residential high-rise building and new generation in urban plannin, because phyllotactic towers can make dense cities in which people have yards and gardens in their apartments.
• As Phyllotactic towers can adapt to different climates, they are not limited to a restricted time or area. They can be applied broadly.