The Mandragore – the world’s tallest carbon sink tower

The Rescubika design team is proud to present Mandragore, its newest project. Sounding like something from Harry Potter, Mandragore is indeed something almost magical. Apparently a simple residential tower, the project is located in central Roosevelt Island, between the Queensboro Bridge and the southern end of the island. It is named after the mandrake, a plant, the roots of which have seen many anthropomorphic legends grow up around it (including Harry Potter) because of their human-like appearance. The plant is rich in alkaloids which have hallucinogenic properties, making it deserving of a highly revered state for botany alone, myths notwithstanding. Like the plant, this project is an evocation of a human figure and a symbol of a bodily movement that is synonymous with life. This immensely tall tower confronts us with our own destinies, reminding us that we must preserve our environment in order to live in peaceful symbiosis with nature.


Mandragore’s aim for carbon neutrality by 2050

It is designed to be a carbon sink: or reservoir that actively works to reduce the carbon circulating in the biosphere. This is especially important in a world in which carbon levels are rising sharply due to the huge amount of carbon emissions released by modern living. In the carbon sink, carbon is trapped inside living matter and more or less permanently held there in that organic material. In this way, carbon sinks help to remove CO² from the atmosphere, playing a key role in our fight against the greenhouse effect. An ambitious target – to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 so as to slow the global temperature increase to a mere two degrees – has been set by the project. The Mandragore tower implements various measures to decarbonise the atmosphere, the first of which is using passive energies.

The “Canadian” well (also known as a climate sink) is a surface geothermal solution which will, if all goes well, warm the air in winter and keep it cool in summer. Working through an air-ground thermal exchange, no external power source is needed, hence the designation as passive. The basic premise will see a network of buried pipes that work like an air-to-ground heat exchanger, which will work according to the ambient air temperature (the air captured outside the building) and that of the ground, which tends to remain constant at a sufficient depth. The air flow will be warm in winter, or cool in summer, keeping the building at an even temperature year round. Other methods include catering for long-term “energy sobriety” in which working from home is an accepted part of life in the future.


This simple change will reduce vehicle emissions from the daily commute to miniscule proportions, along with an attendant reduction in carbon emissions. Energy sobriety is a political concept designed to reduce energy consumption through lifestyle changes (such as doing away with lengthy commutes twice a day) and societal transformations (in which life is lived as carbon-neutrally as possible). It will involve limiting the production of goods and services, bringing national consumption down to sustainable levels. The Mandragore project will positively reduce the amount of free carbon in the atmosphere and be less polluting for the ecosystem than regular constructions.

Thanks to the nature of the wooden materials used, the overall shape of the Mandragore project, and the large amount of plants and shrubs throughout the structure, the carbon will be trapped. The project is a response to “the city of tomorrow”, a city that actively – and positively – interacts with humans in their most populous territory.
A city that will drive the carbon footprint towards neutrality by 2050. All this carbon sink benefit is not the only thing the Mandragore project has going for it: it is strikingly good-looking too!

You can read this and many more interesting reports in the Eat & Travel Magazine Autumn Edition 2020.

Photos © Rescubika creations – Patterlini Benoit


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