Torqued Towers

Wednesday, 20th May 2009 by

This is the Turning Torso tower in Malmö, which at 190 metres is Sweden's tallest skyscraper. The most striking thing about this tower is that it appears to be twisted around its axis. It has nine segments of five-story pentagons that are offset from one another, meaning that the topmost segment is set at ninety degrees to the ground floor.

The Turning Torso was designed by world famous Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava (some of whose work we've featured in the past), and represents part of a growing trend for elaborately warped and twisted "torqued towers".

In San Francisco's Golden Gate Park the new M.H. De Young Museum was completed in October 2005 - replacing the original building that had been damaged in an earthquake. To prevent damage to the new building, it can move almost a metre thanks to a system of sliding plates and fluid dampers. It's also entirely clad in copper, which will eventually oxidize, taking on a green colour reflective of the surrounding vegetation.

From many places around the park, the most striking feature of the building is the 44 metre Hamon Tower, the impressive twist of which can be clearly seen from both an aerial and ground-level point of view.

Tower designers aren't just rotating their towers either - although still under construction in Google's images, the China Central Television Headquarters building was completed in December 2008, and its design almost defies belief. Especially when you consider that this area is also prone to earthquakes!

Technically the CCTV building isn't a traditional tower, but rather a "continuous loop of six horizontal and vertical sections covering 381,000 square metres of floor space". This is probably best summed up by the building's local nickname - "Big Shorts".

There are several other torqued towers around the world that are either in planning, or already under construction. However I wonder how many of them will be delayed or cancelled due to the current economic climate?

  • 1 World Trade Center, New York City, (formerly known as the Freedom Tower), will have a roof set at 45° from the bottom.
  • The Infinity Tower, Dubai, will feature a 90° twist like the Turning Torso, but will be nearly twice the height.
  • The Chicago Spire, Chicago, also designed by Santiago Calatrava, will be 160 metres taller than the Sears Tower.
  • The Burj al-Taqa, Dubai, will feature a twisted hyperboloid design, and will generate all its own energy.

Finally, check out the totally insane Signature Towers and equally ludicrous Dubai Towers Dubai which are both planned for construction in Dubai.

See the amazing for more jaw dropping future skyscrapers.

Thanks to stephan and Vectoor.