World's tallest TV tower opens in Guangzhou
Stealing the title from the CN Tower in Toronto, the swirling Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower by Information Based Architecture (IBA) has just opened to the public at a staggering 610m in height. During three days of celebratory events, the Mayor of Guangzhou declared the structure open and revealed its official title of the Canton Tower. Time is of the essence however, as the new structure is set to play a pivotal role during the 2010 Asian Games in November, and the restaurants and top deck are as yet unfinished.
Certain contrasts can be drawn between the newly opened Canton Tower and Anish Kapoor's much debated concept designs for The ArcelorMittal Orbit - a £19.1m, 115m high visitor centre planned for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2012. Both bare the bones of structural engineering mastery, curling in elongated ribbons to upper viewing platforms hundreds of metres above the ground affording panoramic views across vibrant cityscapes. However, in contrast to the animated scepticism received by Kapoor's original concept, the Canton Tower attracted over 30,000 visitors over the festive three day opening celebrations.
Numerous viewing platforms are scattered across the Tower, some taking the form of sheltered outdoor gardens, others protruded glazed viewing boxes complete with transparent flooring. The top deck - still under construction - has been designed as a sloping elliptical square, angled north-west towards the old city centre in an attempt to create a bond between the old and new elements of Guangzhou.
Two circular rotating restaurants can be found at levels +428 and +417.6, however both have retracted soup from the menu as the entire Tower can sway up to 1.5m in either direction during high winds. On the lean, curling design, who worked with fellow IBA architect Barbara Kuit on the project explains: "Where most skyscrapers bear ‘male' features; being introvert, strong, straight, rectangular, and based on repetition, we wanted to create a ‘female' tower, being complex, transparent, curvy, gracious and sexy. Our aim was to design a free-form tower with a rich and human-like identity that would represent Guangzhou as a dynamic and exciting city. The result is a tower, very slender and tall, that bears similarities with the figure of a female, the very reason that earned the nickname: ‘super-model'."