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 23 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=187873>


    • Thumb up Thumb down +8

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

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    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.

    • Thumb up Thumb down +9

      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.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      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.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

    • Thumb up Thumb down -1

      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.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    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.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +2

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

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

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

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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

  7. Thumb up Thumb down +4

    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.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    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

  9. Thumb up Thumb down +1

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

  10. Thumb up Thumb down +1

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

  11. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    No wonder architects have a bad name afterwards.

    By the way, did Fujimoto had a chance to glance at what his interns did before this was submitted?

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. Making it 19c. Agree with the comments regarding material waste. Not much “sustainability” in the project. All that manufacturing and transport of materials. That’s a nice carbon footprint. I don’t agree with the “future primitive” hogwash either. Nothing about this has the sensibilities of a so-called primitive architecture. Look at the Persian wind catchers, the heat stratification in an igloo, the thermal mass building techniques of the Anasazi. All of which, use site/environmental criteria and natural resources to drive novel building methods and embrace culture specificity. Sorry Fujimoto, better luck next time.

  13. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    certainly, awe and wonder are just as important as lbs of steel used, one might argue more important (the less “green” of us perhaps). but arent we all a bit tired of architecture’s descent into spectacle-usually at a distance, and sometimes with fireworks? in a snapshot, it is striking, but its sad that is what architecture is being reduced to more and more, while doing what hasnt been done before overshadows any contextual relationship-instead just casts shadows of the entire context…
    makes architects appear to be attention seekers more than thoughtful shapers of city life.

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The more one looks and this and thinks about it, the more one likes it. I serves a number of purposes which the other entries did not. In the case of the other entries, you are just waiting in line to go up. Here an experience can be had at grade, in this giant atrium.

Share your thoughts