Description from Paolo Cucchi Architects:
The Tower rises slender and elegant with charismatic character. It embodies the spirit of Taiwan: strong lines, continuity highlight the determination and strength of people who steadily pursued formidable achievements and excellence. The unconventional form unlashes same vitality and vibrant energy the island radiates for innovation and progress.
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 and a kind of emphasis on a deep sense of identity and how important are contributions coming from local hues in producing significant new works. Taiwan’s past experiences harmoniously combined with the most ingenious, recent engineering processes suggest not only respect and continuation of Oriental art and tradition but integration with a global culture, a pluralistic cultural environment, where traditional and contemporary elements, Eastern and Western concepts live together and become one unified force.
The ornament, composed of “wan zi’, which represents the number 10.000, has also an auspicious meaning, a wish of long life. The openness at the center yields a strong symbolic voice: it is a reminder of the openness of a country enthusiastically receptive to new ideas, diversity and internationalism. Openness leads to interaction, sense of community, movement and exchanges that stimulate and invigorate. Located within the Central Park of “ Taichung Gateway Park”, a portal into a vibrant, synergetic multifunctional area (production, trade-economics, research, social and cultural interact in the idyllic frame of the nature, in the name of biodiversity), the Tower plays a decisive role of spectacular, alluring landmark, sculpting the type of exciting atmosphere and lifestyle the new metropolis offers to breathe. The aperture at the center of the building, as a magnet ring leads international currents.
In the daytime the ‘circular’ ring radiates as the sun’s beams reflect off the glass body of the structure, illuminating the town. The simple oval shape, made evident by rays of light that bounce in different directions, alludes to the similar form on the Taiwanese flag, the sun, the essential symbol of life. In the night, even more, it is legible the sign: the artificial lighting explodes in the backdrop of the dark, underling a ring, an orbit, a bright star, the sun. The effect has an extremely attractive and seductive appeal. The circle’s function speaks an ancient and universal language of unity, wholeness and infinity. It is within this one circle, this core, a creation of a meeting place, a marriage-like union, between people and Taiwanese culture. And this is the Museum of Taichung City Development, that occupies five floors of the tower, a cultural icon of Taichung and Taiwan, showcase of memory and history, platform of information exchange, fulcrum of urban exhibitions and ecological practice, whose inner value is to help, through a mixture of education and entertainment, citizens learn and identify with the city they live in. The representation of a cycle, a continuous ticking clock, where time can constantly revolve, forms, as the Museum, a strong connection between the past and the future. This curved shape, equal in all directions of its diameter, and mixture of elements between the exterior and the interior, holds together, fortified, capturing light and wind.
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.
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 5kPa at the top, a maximum sway of tower height/200, similar to Taipei 101 is achievable with the structural system conceptualized.
The key elements of the structural scheme comprises:-
- 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
- e) Natural ventilation and stack effects
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 intersices filter the sunlight, increasing shelters and letting the nature draw exquisite, artistic patterns of shadows.
The elegant, charming presence reaches 400m, silhouetting against the skyline as model of eco-building, as holistic view of the sustainable development. In symbiotic growth with the amenity of the green scenery 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. Just entered, the visitor feels immersed in the middle of a story, perceives the vastness of the environment in which flutters a grid of geometrically composed spaces, sections of the journey, that host stages of the history. 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. For experiencing also the sight of the impressive structure of the two internal sides of the tower, it has been created around the central lift-structure a mezzanine, reachable with smooth ramps. When we are physically on this observatory point looking directly outside, the interaction between human and structure’s form plays an optical effect. We find a mirror image of the other side: the tower unifies different sections without separation of walls. We could be in the left part but we have the view straight into the right part of tower, we perceive two towers but “they” remain one body, provoking a feeling of being extemporaneously in two spaces. However the view doesn’t only incorporate the tower but also mainly focuses on landscape and urban planning of Taiwan, creating it into a landmark. Three panoramic lifts from both side of the sky-garden run-up to top platform, their relative slow speed allow visitors to fully taste the experience of the extensive breathtaking view of the outdoor scenery. At the arrival, doors open onto a garden. Plants and water furnish the vast space, suspended in the sky.
Seduced by the alchemy of the elements, people live the moment as stunned and excited by the force of an intoxicating dream.
At night a skilful lighting of the facade embellishes the precious embroidered open work that wraps the building as a theatrical drape and provides a scenographic visual impact: it is an irresistible attraction. The surrounding garden, animated by lights and people, lives the same intense atmosphere of the day: people who enjoy the night under the cloak of the tower or love to experience an unforgettable dinner at candlelight suspended in the clouds.