Open side-bar Menu
Adam Heller
Adam Heller
Adam Heller is a arch buff with his hands into everything from design to music. Check this blog regularly for the latest and greatest Architectural feats.

The Canton Tower – World’s Tallest TV Tower, Guangzhou, China

January 27th, 2011 by Adam Heller

The Canton Tower is Guangzhou’s most prominent new building that was set Center Stage during the recent Opening Ceremony of the Asian Games. After 6 years of design and building works, Mark Hemel + Barbara Kuit, the designers of the tower, and their Amsterdam firm, Information Based Architecture, are pleased to announce that the Canton Tower has now been opened to the public. The Canton Tower – reaching 600m in height, has bypassed Toronto’s CN tower and has therefore become “The world’s tallest TV Tower”


  • Architects: Mark Hemel & Barbara Kuit Information Based Architecture
  • Location: Guangzhou, China
  • Completion Date: October 2010
  • Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd.
  • LDI: Guangzhou Design Institute
  • Client: Guangzhou Municipal Construction Commission
  • Height: 600m
  • Gross Floor Area: 114,000sqm
  • Number of Floors above ground: 37
  • Number of underground floors: 2
  • Area landscape: 17.4 hectares
  • Capacity: 5 million visitors per year

Xiao Man Yao

Mark Hemel, IBA architect and director, comments, “ Where most skyscrapers bear ‘male’ features; being introvert, strong, straight, rectangular, and based on repetition, we wanted to create a ‘female’ tower, being complex, transparent, curvy, gracious. Our aim was to design a free-form tower with a rich and human-like identity that would represent Guangzhou as a dynamic and exciting city.” The result is a tower, very slender and tall, that bears similarities with the figure of a female, the very reason that in China it earned the nickname: Xiao Man Yao which is translated as “slender waist”.



The idea of the tower is simple. The form, volume and structure is generated by two ellipses, one at foundation level and the other at a horizontal plane at 450 metres. These two ellipses are rotated relative to another. The tightening caused by the rotation between the two ellipses forms a ‘waist’ and a densification of material.


Organic Concept

The structure consist of a open lattice-structure, built up from 1100 nodes and the same amount of connecting ring- and bracing pieces. Basically the tower can be seen as a giant 3 dimensional puzzle of which all 3300 pieces are totally unique. Architect Mark Hemel comments: “Recent State of the Art fabrication and computerized analysis techniques allow designers to create much more complex structures then ever before.

The Competition

The international competition was held in 2004 for the design of the tower, a 17.9ha park at its base and the master-plan for the surrounding 56.6ha which includes an elevated Plaza, pagoda-park, retail facilities, offices,



The Canton Tower consists of 37 floors of programme including exhibition spaces, a conference centre, a cinema, 2 revolving restaurants and one VIP-restaurant, various cafés and observation levels. A deck at the base of the tower hides the giant building’s infrastructural workings. Public transport connections including a metro and bus station are met underground. These levels support other facilities as well, including exhibition spaces, a food court, extensive commercial space, a 600-vehicle parking and tourist coaches. Panoramic double-decker lifts serve both entrance levels.



Between level +170 meter and level +350 meter there is a “skywalk”; an open-air staircase will lead the public all the way up through the narrow waist of the building.

Outdoor Observation square

From the upper observation levels it is possible to ascend even higher, via a further set of the stairs, to a terraced observation square at +460m, rising well above the tower’s top ring, one can have a panoramic view over the booming city of Guangzhou. A set of capsules circumvent the perimeter of the top ring, offering visitors breathtaking views over the very edge of the building.



Since the initial winning of the scheme, the design has been developed over several years. Many tests were done to check the safety and strength of the structure among which wind tunnel-, fire- and load tests. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in November 2005 after which the foundation and piling were constructed. The steel structure of the main building was completed in November 2008. The building was finally topped out in May 2009. The Canton tower now opens its doors, in order to be fully operational for the 2010 Asian Games.

For more info on the Canton Tower, please go


Information Based Architecture (IBA)

Information Based Architecture (IBA) was set up in London in 1998 as a partnership between architects Mark Hemel and Barbara Kuit. Currently based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with a subsidiary in Hong Kong, IBA continues its work on both large and small projects in Europe, Africa and Asia. The work includes urban master-planning, architecture, landscaping

Mark Hemel has taught at the Architectural Association in London where he has been Unit-master since 1999. Before setting up practice, Barbara Kuit worked as a local architect (for Harper MacKay), on projects of Philippe Starck in London; the Sanderson and St Martin’s Lane hotels, and subsequently worked at the office of Zaha Hadid for several years on many projects among which; the Mind Zone in the Millennium Dome, the Contemporary Arts Center in Rome and Wolfsburg Science Center.

For more information, please go to:

Related posts:

Tags: ,

Category: Art Gallery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Kenesto: 30 day trial
Bentley: -YII 2018 Awards
AIA 2018 - Countless CAD add-ons, plug-ins and more.

Internet Business Systems © 2018 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
25 North 14th Steet, Suite 710, San Jose, CA 95112
+1 (408) 882-6554 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes EDACafe - Electronic Design Automation GISCafe - Geographical Information Services  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
  Privacy PolicyAdvertise