taiwan tower proposal by paolo cucchi architects all images courtesy paolo cucchi architects

designboom continues coverage on the taiwan tower competition with the proposal of italian firm paolo cucchi architects.

the slender tower rises 400m. the original design integrates a delicately carved endless network of fret patterns: it is a familiar decoration, a tribute to the quality and creative ability of artisans and craftsmen. taiwan’s past experiences, harmoniously combined with recent engineering processes, suggest not only respect and continuation of oriental art and tradition, but integration with a global culture. the main ornament, composed of ‘wan zi’, represents the number 10.000, and has an auspicious meaning – a wish of a long life.

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal

located within the central park of ‘taichung gateway park’, a portal into a vibrant, multifunctional area (production, trade-economics, research, social and cultural interact in the idyllic frame of the nature),  the tower plays a decisive role as an alluring landmark, sculpting the type of atmosphere and lifestyle the new metropolis offers. in the daytime the ‘circular’ ring radiates as the sun’s beams reflect off its glass body, illuminating the town.

the simple oval shape, made evident by rays of light that bounce in different directions, alludes to the form found on the taiwanese flag, the sun, the essential symbol of life.

the taiwan tower is a ring, rich with its symbolism of eternal ‘long life’ and above all, of the unity and the fidelity of the taiwanese people towards the land that their spirit has transformed into an economic miracle of the new millennium. beyond this symbolism, the shape of the ring carries with it, two equally meaningful practical functions. one structure and two eco-energy. the form of the ring allows the 400m tall verticals to arch over and fuse together at the top. this coupling creates a structural unity that offers an increased lateral resistance to better withstand the typhoon and seismic forces for which the taiwan tower will be designed for.

the toroidal form presents a vertical aperture through which the strong winds of the site will be channeled alike a windsock. taking its cue from the re-invention of the humble floor/table fan, the wind can be captured and converted to produce green energy and power.

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal

structurally, the choice of a ring like toroidal form has made possible the achievement of a slenderness ratio of 20 for the tower verticals. this is far more slender than that of other tall buildings and all the more remarkable, considering the typhoon and seismic loads prevailing at the site.

based on a wind pressure of 5k p/a at the top, a maximum sway of tower height/200, similar to taipei 101 is achievable with the structural system conceptualized.

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal

the key elements of the structural scheme are comprised of: – a 3-dimensional outrigger arranged in an elliptical colonnade around the 1m thick reinforced concrete lift core walls – the colonnade consists of circular hollow steel sections, braced together every 100m. these circular hollow steel sections act in pairs flanking the lift core, creating tension-compression couples that stabilize the tower when subjected to lateral loads. – the colonnade tapers inwards at the podium levels to suit the profile of the ring; a macro horizontal transfer tie is introduced at the change in profile to structurally unite both sides of the ring. – the observatory floors span 40m from one bank of lift cores to the other, crossing over the aperture of the ring. these floors are supported by hangers, which are hung from a macro 3-d space frame steel truss that spans from one bank of lift to the other. the ‘wan zi’ façade, generated by repetitive applications of an abstracted ‘wan zi’ chinese character, is conceptualized as an aluminum mesh. the skin will take on degrees of opaqueness, transparency, perforation and permeability based on optimizing: – wind pressure – pedestrian wind comfort levels – day lighting and shading – solar gain – natural ventilation and stack effects

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal interior

the perforation and permeability will be informed by structural analysis showing where wing loads need to be reduced. these perforations allow the building to breathe; the glass surfaces offer protection where it is necessary. the intricately metallic frame, as a semi-permeable membrane, continues the osmotic process between exterior and interior, insuring a visual continuity: the interstices filter the sunlight, increasing shelters and letting the nature draw exquisite, artistic patterns of shadows. 

surrounding, the tower displays a lovely landscape, a green roof platform and a sky garden. in order to reduce traffic congestion the vehicular access has been divided into two paths and for an efficient circulation have been provided separate entry points for employees and visitors:  offices occupy about 50% of five floors of the lower levels, plus two upper floors. the remaining portion is given over to the museum. maximum flexibility has been planned for the interior: museum’s itinerary and activities are located on different split-levels.

a core of central lifts without interfering with the museum’s access, brings the people to the transfer level that is organized as pleasant waiting area, where is possible to drink a coffee, eat something or enjoy the view.

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal ground floor plan

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal 1st floor plan

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal 2nd floor plan

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal 3rd and 4th floor plan

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal 5th – 8th floor plan

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal tower core

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal top floor and restaurants

the two internal sides of the tower has been created around the central lift-structure on the mezzanine. visitors find a mirror image of the other side: the tower unifies different sections without separation of walls. the view does not only incorporate the tower but also mainly focuses on landscape and urban planning of taiwan, creating a landmark. three panoramic lifts from both side of the sky-garden run-up to top platform, their relatively slow speed allow visitors the experience of the extensive view of the outdoor scenery. 

paolo cucchi architects: taiwan tower proposal elevation and section view