soma: multiple natures   fibrous tower for taiwan tower competition soma: multiple natures   fibrous tower for taiwan tower competition
jan 21, 2012

soma: multiple natures fibrous tower for taiwan tower competition

‘multiple natures – fibrous tower’ for the taiwan tower competition by soma, taichung, taiwan  all image © soma

austrian architecture firm soma was runner-up in the open international taiwan tower complex competition.
‘multiple natures – fibrous tower’ was their submission for the observation tower and taichung city museum, taiwan. 
the proposal was strongly based on architectural forms that learn from nature and are based on the underlying principles
of the structures of plant and animal life. 
the layout of the buildings and park follow the pattern of cells for the built and circulation areas. to protect the visitors
as they near the structure biomimetic lamellas overhead adapt to weather conditions by opening and closing,
much like the mechanisms of flowers.   

view of the taichung city museum from the surrounding park 

the observation tower uses genetic algorithms found in natural growth processes and applies them to digital models to organize the bundles of tubes and sub-tubes that create façade of the undulating building. the final result was derived by calculating and comparing more than 2.5 million alternative solutions. for stability, the eight tower legs are connected by diagonal members. the tubes have varying diameters ranging from 2 – 5.5 meters and are the main building elements. to make them easier to build, the hollow forms dissolve into bundles and regroup, resulting in an aerodynamic waved silhouette that maximizes the wind load resistance. much like the fibers of trees or the growth of muscles, the funnels adapt to each segment’s individual stress. in addition, the bundled ducts are made of locally available materials and easy to construct on the ground.   

the tower as seen from below  

an example of a self-sufficient system, the zero carbon tower generates energy on site with photovoltaic cells integrated into the roof areas of the museum. semi-transparent modules are used in locations where daylight is needed for the spaces below, while simultaneously controlling solar heat gain. the skin of the tower is also a vertical solar absorber with 25, 000 square meters of exterior surface covered with the flexible PV modules. this allows all electricity needed to be produced on-site.     outside of the technologically advanced systems, low-tech strategies are also used to produce comfortable climate zones. shading trees, cooling pods and pavilions with water curtains produce a microclimate for the visitors.  visitors under the adapting biomimetic lamellas

main lobby 

lobby of museum 


night view of building 

floor plan / level 0 

floor plan / level 1

floor plan / tower levels  



development diagrams  

structural diagram of bundled tubes

structural diagrams

project info:

project name: multiple natures – fibrous tower client: taichung city government location: taichung, taiwan use: observation tower, taichung city museum, park site area: 44.000 square meters building area: 10.000 square meters gross floor area: 27.000 square meters building coverage ratio: 23% structure: steel max. height: 330 meters landscape area: 34.000 square meters parking lot: 254cars local partner: RLA architects, taipei structural engineer: bollingergrohmannschneider zt gmbh, vienna climate: transsolar, stuttgart lighting: aglicht, bonn/germany landscape: realgrün, munich facades: emmer pfenninger, münchenstein/switzerland kinetic elements: knippershelbig, stuttgart

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