Tangram 3DS brings Floating City to Life
Tangram 3DS, a firm specializing in visualization and computer animation, announced its collaboration with E. Kevin Schopfer AIA, RIBA. Together, the companies have designed and presented a bold new urban platform. New Orleans Arcology Habitat (NOAH) is a proposed urban Arcology (architecture and ecology), whose philosophic underpinnings rest in combining large scale sustainability with concentrated urban structures, and in this case a floating city.
Tangram 3DS worked with Schopfer to visualize this unique concept and structure. Starting from basic sketches, Tangram 3DS transformed Schopfers ideas into visuals and an animation. Our work helps Kevin convey his concept to the City of New Orleans, investors, the media, and public, said Stefan Vittori, president and founder of Tangram 3DS, LLC. To be able to visualize a design project in 3D and through animation is absolutely vital when attempting to sell a design concept that may at first glance be hard to grasp, adds Vittori.
Why a floating city? There are three major challenges to building in New Orleans. The first challenge is to overcome both the physical and psychological damages of recurring severe weather patterns. Though repopulation has begun, the need to provide a stabilized and safe environment is paramount to a long-term recovery and economic well being of New Orleans. The second challenge is that New Orleans has been built at and below sea levels, which creates a consistently high water table and makes it prone to flooding and storm surges. The third challenge is that New Orleans is built on soil condition that consists of thousands of feet of soft soil, silt and clay. These conditions make building large-scale concentrated structures difficult. Believing that NOAH is a viable plan, our solution to overcome these challenges is to take advantage of these seemingly conflicting issues with the introduction of a floating urban platform. This solution is deceptively simple, using water as a controlled, naturally occurring, bearing foundation, is perfectly feasible and practical, states Schopfer.
As depicted in the 3D renderings by Tangram, given the design's massive scale -- nearly 1,200' tall with a footprint nearly 1/3 of a mile in diameter -- it was clear that Tangram's imagery would need to depict a significant amount of downtown New Orleans to contextualize the project. A 3D model of the downtown buildings was combined with satellite and aerial survey imagery to build a highly-detailed context model in which NOAH could be placed. This allowed Tangram to create a wide range of imagery, including aerials that covered dozens of city blocks, which effectively communicated the ambitious scale of the NOAH project.
When it came time to produce the animation, the massive scene scale combined with the river and dense activity of the area were extremely challenging to reproduce faithfully in motion. Tangram teamed up with the team at VFX Direct, located north of Boston, to further polish the animation frames. The two teams worked closely to build passes of animated elements that VFX Direct would include in their final composite of the animation, along with additional water, smoke, and lighting effects that made the imagery pop.
A triangulate shape has been chosen as the basis for NOAH, given the fact that a triangle is inherently the most rigid of all structural framing systems. The triangle also allows for an open frame configuration, dividing NOAH into three separate towers converging at the top. The intent of this open system is to allow all severe weather to in effect blow through the structure in any direction with the minimum of massing interference. To further dissipate wind loads, the outer edges are curved and tilted.
This is a project of tremendous potential which pushes beyond current expectations for New Orleans and places it in the forefront of the new age of urban growth possibilities, adds Schopfer. We hope to one day see it become reality, and with Tangram's unique experience and expertise, that reality comes alive today.
NOAH will house:
•Residential Units / Rental and Condominium: 20,000 units @ average 1100 Sq ft
•Three Hotels: Average 200 rooms plus associated services
•Time Share Units: 1500 units @ average 1100 sq ft
•Three Casino Facilities: (to be determined)
•Commercial Space / Rental and Condominiums: 500,000 sq ft
•Commercial Space / Retail: 500,000 sq ft
•Parking Garage / within foundation: 8,000 cars
•Cultural Facilities: 100,000 sq ft
•Public Works: 50,000 sq ft / includes storage
•District School System: 100,000 sq ft
•District Administrative Office: 50,000 sq ft
•District Health Care Facility: 20,000 sq ft
Estimated Total Square Footage: 30 million