Empire High-Rise: A Beacon For Cannabis Production

Editors’ Choice
2020 Skyscraper Competition

Gidich + Sepúlveda Architecture
United States

In a modern world inundated by an extensive sea of technological apparatus, often artifacts and resources available in abundance to the population are obliterated from people’s minds. Its ubiquity along with its ancient discoveries turns many other methods of usage into obsolete practice. Cannabis is most certainly one of the world’s best natural resources, yet its consumption continues to be highly and mainly focused on recreational smoking. Similar to the obsolescence of cannabis purposes are immense building marvels. Initially designed and engineered with one purpose at hand when they were constructed, however never repurposed as the time evolves. The Empire High-Rise takes a dive into all the opportunities cannabis has to offer, whilst seamlessly merging the contingencies of repurposed spaces and programs to one of New York’s most iconic hallmark pieces of architecture, The Empire State building.

As a celebration to the year 2020, the Empire High-Rise extrudes 2,020 feet above the existing Empire State building mirroring its façade’s geometrical shape. However, with new material applications, newly redesigned interior, a full-length atrium and providing a plethora of new programs. By bringing a modern cannabis urban farm to the heart of Manhattan, it allows for the plant to be explored and promoted to its full potential. The programs provided by the newest addition will range from a cannabis museum & learning center, which tracks the evolution of the usage of cannabis historically in different parts of their world. A restaurant serving dishes solely inspired by its medicinal and psychoactive properties of the plant. As well as multiple gift shops providing healthy cannabinoid options for purchase, paper goods, textile and home scents all manufactured in house.

Focusing on only two batches per year, an estimated $535 million yearly revenue will be generated by the Empire High-Rise with the assistance of its rainwater harvesting system while saving on the electrical consumption with the application of solar panels. Furthermore, all earnings grossed directly from cannabis production will be redirected into New York City’s tax collection, specifically targeting social services and social equities. The Empire High-Rise pushes the envelope by touching on a taboo subject of overextending the purposes of cannabis consumption in today’s society and re-imaging the functionality of existing buildings from grand stature such as The Empire State.

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