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Canton Tower, Guangzhou, China

Wednesday 13 Oct 2010

China finds a new supermodel

Information Based Architecture 
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20/12/10 Chris Lea, Toronto
It looks a whole lot like a much older tower in Kobe, Japan
19/10/10 paulina, london
Absolutely astounding engineering feat, but wherein lies the beauty ?
Had but the fiery vibrant dragons had been integral to the building... otherwise its as grey and lifeless as the smog-laden skies it aspires to reach out to.
19/10/10 P eter Hancock, Lesotho
The Canton Tower is reminiscent of an elongated cooling tower, with its hyperbolic-paraboloidal form; in which the engirdling exposed columns adopt a spiral form, although being virtually straight. The feminine imagery of the structure is also suggested by the manner in which the upper portion of the structure is reduced in volume, but retaining the same form as the lower portion of the tower. The sinuous lines of the structure also tend to accentuate the vitality and dynamism of the design. Altogether a most original, dynamic and aesthetically-satisfying achievement - and a world-first.
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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'."

Sian Disson
News Editor


Key Facts

Status Nearing completion
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Information Based Architecture

More projects by this architect

Guangzhou TV and Sightseeing Tower

TV Tower


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