Taiwan Tower

Designed together with DSBA, UpgradeStudio and Mihai Craciun between 2010-2011
For Taichung City, Taiwan

The Story

We all are fascinated by technology and knowledge. These days they evolve at faster and faster rates. Today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s reality. We cannot build static objects anymore. What we produce must evolve together with the world around. In 100 years, if one will look at it, at the tower, one must still see the future! How can we achieve this? How can we design something that will never become a thing of the past?

By linking the tower directly to the word’s evolution by transforming it into a platform of research, into a hub of knowledge, it will become a never-ending icon of progress. This way, new knowledge & information will upgrade the tower itself bringing new features in it. The future will happen in it’s proximity. As a supercluster of technology and information, tree of knowledge, it’s seeds will produce awareness, they will signal the release of our new thoughts into the world.

So this is a story about the future! Starting in Taiwan. Imagine that in a short while the first Floating Observatories will appear. The tower will serve them as launching and testing pad. The Tower’s museum will work as a laboratory for collective research. Imponderability studies will emerge. Data will be gathered and technology will evolve. Connections between the floating observatories and our common gadgets must be made possible in order for them to become an open-source project. 

Through these connections anyone can analyze data, compile and test programs for the Tech Spores. We will somehow lend them our wisdom, and in turn they will simulate for us the imponderability. Thus a valuable database will emerge. In addition the simulators will gather our reactions in imponderability. In a short time a collection of reactions of floating humans will be available.

An artificial intelligence for the floating observatories will be forged based on this data. Humans and Tech Spores, they will master flight together. Our reactions up in the air will become theirs. They will follow paths, interact, and cluster to cope with the storms and then again, new upgrades will follow.

In this new version AI will change the behavior of the Tech Spores, so the image of the tower will change as well, according to the new technology. By 2050 we can imagine that they will learn to overfly the city, taking shelter in case of a typhoon. They will form floating patterns - like pigeon flocks. First sign of collective intelligence.

These artificial scouts will take part in the life of the future cities, will suggest directions for urban development. They will improve the quality of urban space. They will interpret changes in infrastructure, climate and economy.

Their presence will be associated with different states of the city And like super-heroes they will save people from danger. Meanwhile, back at the central headquarters, the tower will produce more Tech Spores. They will be tested and upgraded until, like a living creature, they will reach maturity. Version 1.

At this point they will be able to migrate. At first to neighbor countries, later to other continents. They will fill the servers back home with new thoughts about the world. New data about emerging cities. Now criteria of analysis.

Curious by nature and attentive to the surrounding life they will spread in the world information filtered through their own artificial mind. Like floating workshops they will deliver know-how. New projects will emerge. Their presence will stimulate creativity and signal an opportunity to share experience.

At the end of the 21st century, Earth will become small and the R&D area will shrink. By then the Tech Spores will learn to dive into the depths of the oceans searching for new forms of shelter for humans.

Others will overcome completely Earth’s gravity. Powered by subatomic fuels they will reach other celestial bodies. Their cilia, like snail eyes, took a glimpse into other dimensions. Like vessels of communications they will make contact with new forms of intelligent life, serving as translators for the human kind.

Something that will be forever oriented towards the future must include a scenario of evolution. This is the scenario of the Tech Spores. The tower as beacon, it’s seeds always upgrading.

The Project

- Building and observation decks characteristics:
- Target: 5 million visitors per year
- 365 days full operation
- 13,670 visitors a day
- 1,140 visitors an hour - 12 hours a day visiting hours
- Length of a typical tour: 1/2 hour
- 570 visitors per 1/2 hour tour
- 8 zeppelin/elevator platforms
(approx. 72 persons per platform at any time)
- 8 stops - app. 4 minutes airship/elevator arrival interval
- Estimated cost of construction: 40,000sqm x 12,500 USD equals app 500.000.000 USD

Energy Systems

The rainwater is collected from all platforms into a tank situated in the basement. There is a purification station near the rainwater tank so that water can be reused for: washing; irrigation of the green areas; running water for sanitaries; waste of water will be minimized by utilizing water conserving fixtures.  

The use of hierarchically determined sensor networks will help reduce the energy use. Depending on the function of a room, the time of day and the average density of people, the sensors will help the BMS (Building Management Systems) choose the most appropriate set of values for lighting and HVAC.  

There is a geothermal power station in the basement for the warming of the areas in cold season and for hot water. The office and services areas in the tower have a 360° orientation, which offers the possibility to minimize the greenhouse effect through the use of cross-ventilation.  

The electrical energy is produced by:

- a system of axial turbines located along the vertical central core
- adjustable photo voltaic panels on the whole height of the tower
- the lighting of the basement areas and of the museum spaces under the sandwich slab (structure-plants earth-pedestrian traffic) is done through a fiber optics dome system.

Sustainability aspect

- The disposition of all functions requested within a single tower (museum, office, observation decks);
- Minimum footprint at street level;
- Maximum green area surface;
- All utilities are vertically integrated;
- All circulations are vertically integrated (main and secondary functions for both services and tourists);
- The „chimney” effect is used for the natural ventilation of various functional areas.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ):

According to LEED and BREEAM standards, the equipments, finishes and facade design will increase the indoor air, thermal and lighting quality. 

The air quality will reduce the volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other air impurities such as microbial contaminants. The materials used for finishes will be zero or very low emission products (avoiding VOC and formaldehyde). Personal temperature and airflow control over the HVAC system coupled with a properly designed building envelope will also aid in increasing the building's thermal quality, creating a high performance luminous environment through the careful integration of natural and artificial light sources. 


Foundation is done using drilled piles down to 30m. The main supporting frame is made of rigid reinforcement concrete cast in sliding formwork. Eight main pylons are interconnected with fixed steel bracings and shock dampers.  

The sliding formwork panels are supported from the metallic platforms above and they are lifted along with the cast of the concrete inside the eight main pylons (they are also used to lift and install the steel bracings). 

H.V.A.C principles: 

Heating is done through: geothermal water and controlled greenhouse effect. Cooling is done through: cross ventilation, chimney effect and chillers installed on platforms, using the electrical output of the axial turbines and the adjustable photovoltaic panels.

Program distribution diagram:
Museum (red)
Observation Decks (magenta)
Sky Lounge (yellow)

The central node hosts 8 elevators: 2 for the Observation Decks and Sky Lounge, 2 service elevators for Office Space, 4 elevators for Office Space. Each elevator has a capacity of 10 people. There are 2 emergency staircases.

Electrical energy is produced by a system of axial turbines located along the vertical central core. The diameter of the turbines is determined by wind speeds at different heights.

Office Floor Plan 1200 sqm 

Office Floor Plan 1420 sqm