Futuristic Taiwan tower to have floating observatories

Nov 19, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Image credit: DSBA

(PhysOrg.com) -- A futuristic tower called "Floating Observatories," which resembles a tree trunk with eight floating elevator observatories shaped like leaves, will soon become a major landmark in Taichung, Taiwan's third largest city.

The conceptual design of the tower was made by a team from the companies Dorin Stefan Birou Arhitectura (DSBA), Upgrade.Studio, and Mihai Cracium, and led by DSBA principal architect Stefan Dorin from Romania. The tower design won first prize in the recent Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition. Dorin explained the design represented a "technological tree," with elevator observatories shaped like the island of Taiwan, which is leaf-shaped.

The tower, standing over 300 meters high, will include an information center, museum, office tower, conference venue, fixed and floating observation decks, restaurants, and an urban park.

Image credit: DSBA

The floating observatories can take up to 80 people and are built from lightweight materials developed by the space industries, and covered by a new generation membrane of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Their design was influenced by science fiction computer games. They move up and down on a vertical track positioned within a strong electromagnetic field and are “self-sustained” by helium balloons. The observatories provide the key exhibit of the museum for the visitors — the city itself — and when nested they are themselves exhibits.

The design’s “green” features include a small footprint, natural ventilation through the “chimney” effect, turbines and solar cells to generate power for the building, a fiber optics dome to light basement areas and museum spaces, and rainwater collection and purification. There is also a geothermal power plant in the basement for heating in winter and for heating water.

Image credit: DSBA

The Taiwan Tower will be the tallest building in Taichung, but is much shorter than the tallest building in Taiwan, the Taipei 101 skyscraper. The design was chosen from 237 entrants from 25 countries and gives Dorin a prize of around $130,000 as well as the chance to have the tower built to his . Building of the on the one hectare site within sight of the Taiwan Strait is expected to begin in 2012 and take two years to complete.

The competition was held to celebrate the centenary of the founding of Taiwan and to commemorate the merger of Taichung County and Taichung City. The government of will fund the building.

Image credit: DSBA

Image credit: DSBA

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More information: www.dsba.ro/mainEN.php?lang=EN&news=1

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4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 19, 2010
Pretty cool idea. But what about the wind? wont it blow those blimps around? If not, there would have to be massive twisting forces on this building when the wind blows on one of those huge protruding blimps. But hey, Asia is a land of DOERS, so they will get it done either way.
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 19, 2010
Taiwan does get frequent typhoons. And what about the helium shortage?
4.5 / 5 (4) Nov 19, 2010
You are forgetting the worlds going to "end" in 2012 so they will have plenty of helium after that :") And its a good base concept I'm doubtful that it going to work though. Especially for having it done in only 2 years? Well that would be something to see.
1.5 / 5 (16) Nov 19, 2010
not rated yet Nov 19, 2010
Right about the frequent and fierce typhoons.
Would not like to be flapping around in it or anywhere near.
It would look awful too.
not rated yet Nov 19, 2010
sstritt : From I gather from this article, the helium is self contained, so except for leaks there is no consumption besides the initial filling. As to typhoons, I assume the architects take that into consideration in the design. As to how it is taken into consideration is an interesting question and you made a good point. I would suppose that during typhoons, the teflon coated observatories would be kept at ground level.

Hev: yeah pictures don't look all that attractive. But perhaps it's just not "photogenic"or its just the concept illustrations suck and in person it will look better. Since it seems they are going ahead with the plan, a visit to Taiwan in the future when it's done will tell...
3 / 5 (2) Nov 20, 2010
Very nice information.