The Taiwan Conceptual Tower International Competition awarded “The Tower of Droplets” Sir Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham’s London-based Cook Robotham Architecture Bureau (CRAB) won second prize for their entry: “The Tower of Droplets in The Taiwan Conceptual Tower International Competition. Presented here is just one of the 237 entries from 25 countries that were submitted. Crab studio recieved a $65,000 award for their entry for Taichung, Taiwan. The team comprised Jenna Al-Ali, Nuria Blanco, Lorene Faure, and Selma Johannson. Consulting engineer was Michael Kaverne of Buro Happold.
Read on for more on the tower after the break.
The conceptual framework for the tower is inspired by the creation of energy as derived from visible living energy: a symbol for vitality, enterprise and optimism of Taiwan. The droplet-like structures that rise with the tower are the primary elements of this process. A variety of plantation and vegetation are distributed through the length of the tower. The droplets are the activating elements that water and filter the algae, which is the biomass used to feed fish, and other plants, which are in turn used for paper. The algae is also used for biofuel to power engines and provides a natural filter for the concentration of CO² in the air in Taiwan.
The tower provides a surface area of 10,888 m² of the algae which produce 3,266,400 liters of oil and thousands of tons of biomass per year. The tower can sustain natural accumulation of the algae that can potentially double this production to 6,532,800 liters of oil.
The tower thus becomes a natural manufacturing plant for reusable material. Much of the tower is open to the public, which allows visual accessibility to the processes that make this possible. Even elevators provide visibility into the vegetable husbandry as it happens. Three observation levels facilitate this openness. The top level overlooks the mountains. The middle level contains areas of hydroponic vegetation grouwth that can be viewed by the public. The lower level contains aviaries and aquaria.
The tower is mixed use: three office zones are in use by the City Development Authority while the base of the tower is devoted to a five-story museum. The museum has exhibition zones based upon techniques developed by the authors at the Kunsthaus Graz (Austria) and the War Museum of the North, while the top level has viewable algae systems.
The structure is a series of steel lattices that wind around the steel elevator cores. The droplets are steel cages with membrane skinning. The tower, if not literally, then is conceptually transparent, allowing visitors to view the natural processes of energy production by plant life and experience their natural uses in the built environment.