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Be Honest Now: What Does This Skycraper Remind You Of?

After a weekend in which so many people were getting hot and bothered with roses, champagne and numerous shades of gray, perhaps it isn’t such a surprise to find that certain projects conceived at this time of year might invite a little architectural innuendo.

With that in mind, we present to you Eduardo Camarena’s master thesis project entitled 'Vertical City in São Paolo,' a design that explores tropes of futurism with an open invitation to the old-fashioned bane of skyscrapers throughout history: unavoidable comparisons with phallic objects.

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Indeed, the vertical city — part public space, part capsule hotel — looks like some kind of gargantuan sex toy (app-controlled of course) crossed with those pomegranate-seed life-support pods from The Matrix.

The programmatic strategy for the hotel also invites some steamy if slightly juvenile quips: The capsules, which form a ribbed surface down the length of the external façade, are designed for rental a pay-per-hour basis. So, rather than forming a saucy slant on Sir Norman Foster’s Gherkin in London, Camarena’s conceptual high-rise might be more comparable to a rather racy version of Tokyo’s iconic capsule hotels.

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Joking aside, the project has some merit in an age where the skyscraper typology is undergoing continued examination and experimentation. Some of the public spaces located high up in the tower invite comparisons with Gensler’s multi-layered Shanghai Tower, set for completion in China later this year, while the public park proposed at the building’s summit could also constitute an improvement on Rafael Viñoly’s disappointing rooftop garden for the Walkie-Talkie in London.

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So, perhaps we should toss away the bawdy insinuations for a moment and consider this as a serious proposal in 21st-century urban planning: I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you can ignore the more obvious innuendos, and analyze this one with a straight face.

Come on: you can do this.

Yours steamily,

The Angry Architect

Images via Architizer