Everyone’s familiar with fire escapes, but snow escapes? Two recent buildings (one proposed, another under construction) allow citizens to ski or snowboard from the rooftops. Whether it’s for emergency or leisure, escapes are good, as long as you arrive safely at your destination. But the fun doesn’t end there. Architects are exploring this downhill trend beyond snow by playfully including slopes, slides and ramps into their high-rise, condominium and park designs. Steps and elevators are passé. Here are a few intriguing slopes, slides and ramps with unique forms and functions.
Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 3.46.57 PMSlalom House, Kazakhstan
Slalom House, Kazakhstan
If constructed, Kazakhstan’s Slalom House will be the world’s first residential building with a ski slope incorporated into the exterior design (Dubai’s Meydan One is an indoor slope). The complex boasts a 1,000-foot course where residents can slalom from the penthouse level to the street. Proposed by Kazakh architect Shokhan Mataibekov, the 21-story Snowflex slope sits atop 421 apartments and could be used year-round in the frigid capital city of Astana. How do residents get back to the top sans ski lift?—via panoramic glass elevators which also offer a glimpse of Astana’s Lego Land-style architectural skyline.
Amager Bakke Ski SlopePlant, Copenhagen
Bjarke Ingels Group’s unconventional industrial incinerator converts waste to energy as patrons ski down and around the snow-covered roofline and façade. Actually, the incinerator features downhill slopes with trees, bunny hills and moguls covered with powder-like recycled synthetic granules. It also has a recreation center that will serve as a lodge. As for the waste smell? There isn’t any. Unlike most waste plants, the sustainable tourist attraction doesn’t release toxins into the atmosphere. Instead of odor, its smokestack emits a spectacle—circular rings made of water vapor and carbon dioxide. Opening in 2017, this ambitious ski waste management facility gives new meaning to the term “face plant.”
Seun City Walk, Seoul, South Korea
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Inspired by New York City’s High Line, Avoid Obvious Architects’ failed proposal to revitalize Seoul’s Seun City Walk boasted a four-block pedestrian community of interconnected public and private space—urban centers, retail, skywalks, waterfalls, and a central stream. Highlighting the project was a grand sloped façade (a hybrid of green walls and a waterfall), flanked by pedestrian ramps, a landscaped Jongmyo Park and office buildings. This is one design that got away, especially compared to the lifeless winning project.
Sky Penthouse Pool Slide, Monaco
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Once billed as the “world’s most expensive apartment,” Sky Penthouse boasts this swooping rooftop slide which flows from the five-story, 35,520 square-foot residence to an incredible infinity pool atop Tour Odéon, Monaco’s tallest skyscraper (and the first built since 1980). How many pool slides have a perfect view of the Mediterranean? No word on whether the nearly half billion-dollar apartment (or its awesome slide) has been occupied yet.
ArcelorMittal Orbit Sculpture Slide, London
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London firm Bblur Architecture is wrapping the world’s tallest (249 feet), longest (591 feet) and wildest slide around the Anish Kapoor-Cecil Balmond-designed ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (built for the 2012 summer games). Why? Best guess—either to keep the Olympic cash flame burning or kids are already climbing the air traffic control-roller coaster-looking sculpture and need a quick escape back down. Kapoor signed off on the slide, inviting German artist (and slide enthusiast) Carsten Höller to design a chute that wraps around the sculpture five times. The slide opens this spring for about $8 per ride. Time to start paying down that Olympic debt London, one kid at a time.
The “Endless City” Skyscraper, London
Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 12.18.40 AMSure Architecture’s “The Endless City in Height” won a super skyscraper competition with its ambitious stacked ramp design which showcases dizzying, undulating levels. Uneven floor levels appear pancaked connected via two intertwined ramps that weave their way up the tower’s façade like a vine. Ramps are connected by bridges and walkways while lush, green lobby areas resemble plant aquariums. This tower, supported structurally by steel tubes, resembles origami more than a superscraper.
Parramatta School & Playground
APHS_PPS_Grimshaw_BVN_Image_03_PPS_rooftopFirms Grimshaw and BVN designed two high-tech, future-focused schools in the Sydney, Australia suburb of Parramatta—a new high-rise high school and this centralized four-story curved primary school boasting an outdoor playground and learning area. Scheduled for 2019, the U-shaped primary school is ramped and topped by a landscaped recreational park along the roofline which complements the students’ customized learning experience. The school’s unique terrain-inspired layout encourages kids to connect with community, sports and nature.