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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

A Vertical Cave in Nunavut in Nunavut, Arctic by Reza Aliabadi

May 14th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Acting against gravity is a familiar Human desire, the most primitive form of body play that inspires many needs. The need to densification is not an exception. Vertical expansion is not only a solution to densify lands, but also a desire to be on top of every visible height. What if instead of the question of density the reason to create a tower was to respect a primitive joy: the joy of heights! Cities in the glory of skyscrapers such as New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong are perhaps examples of many successful vertical densities, but what difference does height make if people who only share an address still see urban structures at their eye level.

Vertical Cave in Nunavut

  • Architect: Reza Aliabadi [rzlbd]
  • Name of Project: A Vertical Cave in Nunavut
  • Location: Nunavut, Arctic
  • Project Team: Reza Aliabadi & Lailee Soleimani
  • Design: 2010-2011

Regardless of how high above ground they are, what they see is complex forms of inhabitation. Perhaps we are not fully exaggerating if we explained these cities as grounds stacking on grounds!  Skyscrapers in those cities are becoming repetitive vertical extrusions of whatever two dimensional layout there is on the ground. Individuals that occupy the tower are no longer the subjects of design.

Vertical Cave in Nunavut

What if inhabitants and their need for change were in fact the most important inspiration of creating vertical densities? What if we designed a skyscraper in which each inhabitant was precious and their need to an unlimited feeling of height and expansion was respected?


The Primitive Future, The Nunavut Tower, as a vertical cave respects humans’ primitive responses to finding shelter and climbing heights. On the most untouched lands in north of Nunavut where icebergs are the only visible moving landscapes on water, a skyscraper rises to embrace the serenity of the landscape. Inspired by a natural phenomenon, and respectful to the most primitive form of shelter, a cave expands vertically by the most basic form of vertical extrusion known to man: stacking.  This pure approach to elevating habitation results in none repetitive versions of space with no identical typology, where every single individual owns a unique space.


The tower is a remote rehab for restless souls, a vertical expansion on an extremely flat horizon, a resort that becomes a mobile structure by sitting on icebergs of Nunavut where scenery and ambience is the subject of constant change.  The form is inspired by the artworks of local Inuit artists of the arctic. Their detachment from modern living styles and complex urban structures allow them to maintain a close relationship with invisible nature’s forces, and that is how the naturally formed stones are carefully stacked, with total control over gravity. A masterful representation of equilibrium becomes a sculpture that reveals an invisible alignment between masses. Environmental concerns in arctic region are as unconventional and unique as the settings of the tower. In a land where a day can last for six months every single predictable living styles changes, a perfect environment for a nocturnal delirious restless mind to escape to!


Plan geometry

Site map

Contact Reza Aliabadi [rzlbd]

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Category: Cave

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