The tower, a project done on commission with a yet-undisclosed client, was designed with help from German engineer Schlaich Bergermann Partner and British design studio Atmos. It would be populated with hundreds of different plant species, with the goal of creating a complete mini-ecosystem.
Though it would be planted from top to bottom, the building would also have a park at its apex, creating a fitting climax for a visitor. Visitors would travel upward in elevators designed like translucent capsules. The structure's imposing height meant a special engineering study that found it would have to be a lightweight structure supported by a network of pre-stressed cables.
Somewhat unusual for a building, the Mile was not designed with any particular city in mind. Director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab and architect Carlo Ratti's works focus more on innovative ideas than adaptations to the culture of particular locations. As it dwarfs the Burj Khalifa, The Mile's height, however majestically planted, would most likely be accepted in a city known for the height of its buildings, like New York, Hong Kong or Shenzhen.
How would a building populated completely with plants be profitable? Ratti says he will explain this next month at the Cannes real estate fair MIPIM. The model for such a striking and tourist-attracting building would be similar to that of the Eiffel Tower and the London Eye; Ratti told dezeen that the profit for The Mile's 'host city would be substantial.