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Romanian Architect designes Sci-Fi building for Taiwan

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You thought Dubai and Shanghai had the craziest, most futuristic architecture in the planet. Sorry Taiwan, you and your Taiwan Tower—a 984-foot (300 meter) high structure with mechanized observation platforms that float using helium and propellers—win.

Originally conceptualized by Romanian architect Stefan Dorin, the tower will be the tallest building in Taichung, Taiwan. At its base, the tower will include a museum, restaurant, offices and a conference center, while the pods—filled with helium and powered by propellers—will glide up and down the tower, tethered to tracks, carrying 50 to 80 people that will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the island and the sea. Like a Ferris wheel from space, in vertical format.

According to the designers, the floating observatories are inspired by video games. The whole thing seems to belong inside EVE Online. The design will be the base for the real project, which is scheduled to begin in 2012.

This conceptual tower for Taiwan by Romanian firms upgrade.studio, DSBA and Mihai Carciun in the USA would feature observation decks floating up and down each side on helium balloons.

Called Floating Observatories, the design is the winner of the Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition and would incorporate a museum, information centre, offices, conference centre and restaurant.

The protruding pods would accommodate 50-80 people and glide up and down the tower controlled by a magnetic field.

The following details are from DSBA:

Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition

“FLOATING OBSERVATORIES” Proposal by Dorin STEFAN’s DSBA, Mihai CARCIUN and upgrade.studio wins the “Taiwan Tower” Conceptual International Competition

“Starting from the ‘geographical’ visual of Taiwan ‐ which is an island resembling a leaf ‐ we have developed the concept of the technological tree: we have designed 8 spatial leaves (with eight being a propitious number in the local culture) in the form of zeppelin‐like elevators which glide up and down the ‘tree trunk” and which serve the purpose of observation decks / belvedere.

I have called these elevators floating observatories because each has a nacelle which can take 50 to 80 people; they are self‐sustained by helium balloons and are built from lightweight materials (borrowed from the spacecraft industry) and are wrapped in a last‐generation type of membrane (PTFE) and they glide vertically on a track positioned vertically in a strong electro‐magnetic field” ‐ Dorin STEFAN, Principal, DSBA*

The tower layers underground and ground level spaces as well as in its vertical reach, the functions required by the conceptual theme: information center, museum, office and conference space, restaurants, fixed observation desks.

Apart from the fact that we aim to design a tower whose silhouetted out of line echoes the local symbolism and has great impact in terms of visual identity, our solution is at the same time a model of green architecture:

* minimum footprint at land level; – maximum green area surface; – 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;
* the office and services areas in the tower have a 360° orientation, which offers the possibility to minimize the green‐house 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 photovoltaic 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;
* heating of the floating observatories are done through an electromagnetic field using the electrical power created by the new generation membrane which wraps the helium tanks and captures through photovoltaic transmission;
* the rain water is collected from all platforms into a tank situated in the basement; there is a purification station near the rain water tank so that water can be reused for: washing; irrigation of the green areas; running water for toilets;
* there is a geothermal power station in the basement for the warming of the areas in cold season and for hot water;

“Even though the floating observatories design was influenced by the sci‐fi computer gaming culture they are feasible and play a major role for the pathway of the tower’s museum by adding a new vertical dimension. Seen from above, the city itself becomes the key exhibit for the Museum of Taichung City Development.

Seen from inside the museum, when they are nested, the floating observatories become themselves exhibits, fascinating proof of the present technological achievements.”‐ Bogdan CHIPARA, DSBA Architect.

“We have been previously engaged in a series of experimental collaborations with Dorin STEFAN (also our former teacher) which is why, by the time of this competition, we had already developed a versatile and challenging way of approaching the design task. This made the path from the strong initial idea to the final proposal a rather smooth flow, which is a rare thing to be able to say about an international competition’s development.” ‐ Claudiu BARSAN‐PIPU & Oana Maria NITUICA (upgrade.studio**)

project team: Dorin STEFAN architect leader(DSBA*) Mihai Bogdan CRACIUN architect, partner in project(USA) Bogdan CHIPARA, architect in charge(DSBA*) Claudiu BARSAN‐PIPU , architect(upgrade.studio**) Oana NITUICA , architect(upgrade.studio**) Anda STEFAN, Adrian ARENDT, Corina FODOR , architects(DSBA*)


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