Taiwan Tower First Prize Winning Proposal / Sou Fujimoto Architects

Courtesy of Architects

Tokyo-based architect Sou Fujimoto has been selected as the first prize winner for the Taiwan Tower International Competition. The winning proposal’s design reflects Sou Fujimoto’s philosophy of Primitive Future, as the “21st Century Oasis” aspires to be a model of green architecture for the future generations.

Continue reading for more project information and images.

Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

The Oasis strives to embody the 21st Century spirit of Taiwan, similar to the Eiffel Tower and 20th Century Paris. The tower gracefully rises above the city at the southern tip of Taichung Gateway Park, part of the former Taichung (Shuinan) Airport site.

Banyan + Formosa - Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

The project is comprised of two main elements – the grand structural frame and the roof-top garden. Inspired by the Taiwanese Banyan tree, the structural frame creates a shaded, semi-outdoor space as it encases the site. Simultaneously, the roof-top garden floats 300 meters above, representing the richness of beauty and nature of Formosa (Divine Island).

Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

Renewable energy systems and passive design techniques include a green roof, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water panels, wind turbine, photovoltaic cells, ground source heat pump, desiccant air-handling unit and natural ventilations by Solar Stack Effect. The Oasis will achieve LEED Gold.

Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

The superstructure of the tower will be steel construction comprised of Perimeter Columns, Inner Columns, Intermediate Columns, Spiral Beams and Roof Beams. All columns will be circular hollow sections of about 800mm in diameter. The “Taiwan Cone” is made of the Inner Columns, arranged longitudinally for aesthetics. The Perimeter Columns and Intermediate Columns are placed both vertical and leaning so they may resist lateral wind and earthquake loads.

Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

Spiral Beams form two spiral-shaped braced planes, which extend from the ground to the roof between Perimeter Columns and Inner Columns. They are expected to prevent buckling. Each spiral plane rises about 30 meters near the ground, the point in which the axial forces of the columns are relatively high. The rise continues to gradually increase up to about 60 meters as it goes higher.

Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

The light of the tower has “no obvious form”, as it represents an all natural phenomenon. The transparent, nonobjective feel is perceived as an “air-like light.” The roof-top garden is the three-dimensional continuation of the green-belt. The tower is meant to be graceful in nature and ever-changing, similar to the people of Taiwan.

Reference: Sou Fujimoto Architects, akichiatlas.com, Death by Architecture

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Taiwan Tower First Prize Winning Proposal / Sou Fujimoto Architects" 05 Dec 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=187873>
  • Sam

    Wasting steel much?

    • Kyle

      Nothing says green architecture quite like lifting an existing park hundreds of meters into the air atop thousand of tons of structural steel

  • wow

    unreal. surreal.


    Clear evidence that our green building rating systems are a joke. A ginormous waste of steel that serves no purpose. At least the Eiffel tower was designed as efficiently as possible in regards to material use.

    • cb

      Absolutely right that our green building rating systems are a joke. However, you’re absolutely wrong that using a lot of material serves “no purpose”. Clearly this structure would create an incredibly powerful and moving symbol. It’s actually quite similar to the Eiffel tower in showcasing the technological achievement of the day and creating an icon.
      Architecture with the power to move people and amaze them is hardly a waste. I would argue that “green” projects that do not carefully consider people’s happiness are also wasteful of resources.
      100 years before the Eiffel Tower was erected in Paris the first manned hot air balloon flew in that very same city. The Eiffel Tower was not the most efficient way to observe the city from that vantage point, and they could have built a radio tower that didn’t require 10,000 tons of material. It was not built for efficiency, it was built for awe.

      • wow

        absolutely agree… u remind me of my lecturer :D

  • ed

    Believe it or not, this is the best of the 5 “finalists”… what a joke of a competition.


      Of the top 5 I’d have to go with #5 the HMC proposal. With this one all I see is a green roof that lost its building.

  • http://ecoarhitectura.eu arhimania87

    Interesting concept

  • http://www.arhimania.ro ecoarhit

    I like this solution

  • ali golparvar

    just wooow

  • JayM

    Looks like a cool sculpture, “an oasis in the sky”. But let’s face it: there’s absolutely nothing green in wasting material and creating megalomanic symbols like this. If they really wanted to go green, they could’ve just built the coolest and most biologically diverse public park in the world instead, without the tower.

  • cb

    I love where this project is heading. I hope it gets built, and I hope to experience it. Since when is it a waste of resources to build something inspiring? Thinking only of efficiency denies people their well-being.

    • cb

      Also, yes I realize that denying the need to create sustainable projects can also deny people well-being. If we continue on our current path then we are all going to have a horrible future. Let’s try not to throw everything else that architecture can be out the window though.

  • archi

    The most sustainable building is one that doesn’t have to be built. Sure, build a 300m high folly if you want, but don’t patronise with this ‘sustainability’ greenwash.

  • Sudar Khadka

    this is uncharacteristically inconsiderate of sou fujimoto. I did not expect this from him

    • org

      what are you talking about? He’s always been into architectural wankery.

      • Sudar Khadka

        yes he is into wankery, but sensitive wankery if you know what I mean. This was just way over the top.

  • Alejandro Blanco

    I’m sure the architect thought this: Hey lets build a ecological place over a lot of useless steel.

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  • CL

    As a Taiwanese, I sincerely hope this proposal is not gonna get built.

    My biggest concern is the impact of its huge massing to its surroundings, while it may be interesting to look at night, the day-time experience no doubt would be a disaster to its immediate neighbors – blocking views of sky/skyline and the city.

    To distant viewers, it at best serves as a huge rectangular white wall, which neither shows structural delicacy as Eiffel Tower, nor does it present a graceful gesture making a contribution to improve the city’s skyline like ” a tower” in a traditional sense.

    The oasis in the air, judging from the presentation material, seems to benefit mostly passengers on airplanes and readers of architectural magazines.

    As for sustainability issues, like many have pointed out, the quantity of steel used, the maintenance of landscaping in the air, and the quantity of lights required to use to achieve the effect the drawing shows (while light pollution is a more subjective issue) really worry me.

    For the sake of benefit of residents in Taichung and the skyline of Taichung City, I hope my perception about this proposal is wrong if the city council unfortunately approves the budget of this project.

  • david monhait

    The building and the idea are both beautiful. The icon it creates is strong and the message is direct.

    However, the fact of the matter is this: Architects today have a social responsibility to design buildings sustainably without waste. Using the Eiffel Tower as a comparison is irrelevant, it was a different era with different constraints.

    …ipso facto don’t be dumb, save materials, energy, and time, dummies

    • Me

      Why does the architect have a “social responsibility to design buildings sustainably without waste” ?

    • :D

      must be boring to design and build “your kind” of building

  • jon

    How are we supposed to take Asian architecture/competitions if they keep on doing this crap!

    • jon

      * take Asian archiecture seriously…

  • jon

    Unfortunately, more effort is being placed these days on the ‘branding’ of an idea than on the actual architecture itself…

  • wow

    to be honest, i’d rather put steel into building this project rather than all the other architectural crap in U.A.E

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