DSBA, upgrade.studio and mihai carciun take pole position in Taiwan Tower competition
An international concept design competition for the Taiwan Tower has been won by Dorin Stefan Birou Arhitectura (DSBA), upgrade.studio and mihai carciun. The concept entitled ‘Floating Observatories’ was selected from 237 entries from 25 countries, and is heavily focussed on symbolising a green approach to 21st century architecture.
The competition brief stated that all entries must reach at least 300m in height and feature ‘a similar programmatic function as the Eiffel or CN Tower’. In answer to this, the winning submission combines eight observation decks capable of holding 50-80 individuals and affords views across the city of Taichung to the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China.
A freestanding structure, ‘Floating Observatory’ has incorporated a museum, office and conference facilities, restaurants and an information centre around its vertically mobile observation decks. Principal at DSBA, Dorin Stefan, explains the concept thus: “Starting from the ‘geographical’ visual of Taiwan – which is an island resembling a leaf – we have developed the concept of the technological tree: we have designed 8 spatial leaves (with eight being a propitious number in the local culture) in the form of zeppelin-like elevators which glide up and down the ‘tree trunk’.”
Each observation ‘bubble’ is self-sustained by helium balloons, wrapped in polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and arranged to glide on a vertical track in a strong electro-magnetic field. A key constituent of the challenge was for the tower to incorporate the sustainability factor. With this in mind, the winning team have included a system of axial turbines along the vertical central core and adjustable photovoltaic panels across the exterior in order to generate electrical energy to help power the structure.
Rainwater is collected and transferred to tanks in the basement to be reused for washing, irrigation of the one hectare landscape and running water for the bathrooms. Additionally, the floating observatories are heated through an electromagnetic field using energy produced by the ‘new generation membrane which wraps the helium tanks’.