Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Sky Lantern Tower in Taichung, Taiwan by Forrest Fulton Architecture
July 9th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Forrest Fulton Architecture
Sky Lantern Tower proposes a new model of observation tower representative of Taiwan and its people. It lifts passengers 300 meters with a minimum use of material and energy, while extending the Taiwanese tradition of releasing Sky Lanterns to an urban scale. As a high-tech urban machine of ancient symbols, it displays Taiwan’s commitment to both responsible progress and traditional values.
Instead of a typical material and energy intensive tower structure to support only an elevator and observation deck, Sky Lantern Tower replaces the elevator and deck with four helium passenger balloons, each capable of carrying 20-30 passengers. These balloons reference the Sky Lanterns, giving the traditional symbol a pragmatic function. Eliminating elevator and deck frees the tower’s structure. It now only needs to support itself and act as a guide for the balloons between the ground and the views of the Taiwan Strait. Multiple high altitude wind turbines at the apex of the structure provide clean energy to Taichung.
The structure takes its slender form from the structural logic of bamboo. Bamboo, like the Tower, only needs to support itself and resist wind. Its circular section minimizes wind resistance. The members taper from 4 meters in diameter at the base to ½ meter at its apex, 300 meters above ground. These members are constructed of rolled stainless steel plate, like flagpole construction. The members meet at the top and mid-span to brace itself and further reduce structure.
Forrest Fulton Architecture is an international studio for architecture, planning, and design based in Birmingham, AL, USA. We design architecture to support the best possible life for individuals, communities, and the natural world. Innovative architectural ideas sensitive to place, culture, and climate rigorously develop into form and space.
The studio constantly evolves, taking advantage of the latest technological advancements. The studio was founded by Forrest Fulton in 2009 on a strong foundation of experience with built work. Large-scale sophisticated projects at internationally renowned offices followed hands-on design and construction of smaller projects early in his professional career. His work has been published, honored, and exhibited widely.
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