3x3x3 reflects Taiwan’s ambitions

The 3x3x3 Tower is a proposition by architect Broadway Malyan Shanghai for an observation and telecommunications tower in Taichung, Taiwan that represents a new kind of iconic building for a city with big global ambitions.

Intended as a landmark building, and boasting panoramic views over the city, the tower has been commissioned by the government to celebrate the centenary of the founding of Taiwan as well as the recent merger of Taichung County and City.

‘Lead by BM Shanghai director Jeremy Salmon, the studio’s ambition for this ideas competition was to test our design methodologies, seeing real opportunity to experiment not just with form but also with program,’ explains one of the architects involved on the scheme Ian Douglas-Jones.

‘We saw a chance to re-write the notion of the icon, which (for us) has to be sustainable,’ he notes, adding the team knew it was going to be a difficult task from the start. ‘We had to get the tower to work a lot harder to ensure it was fully sustainable on all fronts.’

The scheme

BM Shanghai’s proposal is for a scheme that represents the three arms of sustainability: ecologic, social and economic whereby the 3 ( san ? ) is for:

3 – Fú Lù Shòu  ? ? ?: happiness, prosperity and longevity
3 – Holistic sustainability: environmental, economic and social
3 – Civitas: icon, event and place

In environmental terms the design exploits its locality and climate to mitigate against harsh and unpredictable conditions such as typhoons, seismic activity and high wind loads. It is designed to harness energy from sunlight and prevailing wind. There is also rainwater harvesting, grey and black water treatment and on site recycling.

The tower will also symbolise progress by being economically sustainable through ticket and merchandise sales and indirectly from branding and marketing. Socially, it will be host local and international events through a complex layering of formal and informal programming including tai-chi, mar-jong, opera and base-jumping.

All this is captured architecturally in a light, graceful form splayed to give stability and provide cover, twisted to mitigate wind loading and tapered to give proportion and elegance.

‘We were fortunate to work with a great team with expertise from Buro Happold with Mike Parkinson and Rob May who offered a solution to vertical transportation through the twisting structure, thinking on their feet with solution akin to a vertical roller-coaster,’ explains Ben Somner an architect at the firm.

Visitors are initially lead through a landscaped area with a mix of facilities such as a shared bicycle scheme, basketball and baseball courts, as well as city farm providing fresh produce for the restaurant and café facilities on site.

Directly beneath the tower lies the flexible central events space and there is ramped access below ground to the Taichung museum of urban development. From here visitors ascend the tower in glass pods boasting 360 degree views over the city.

At the very top sit three stepping observation decks, a café, restaurant and a bar – all with panoramic views over the city and beyond.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

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