One of the latest design trends that seems to have found appeal among some architects is a towering skyscraper that twists its way up to the top. Possibly the first, modern, twisted skyscraper constructed was the Turning Torso in Malmö, Sweden. The residential building is constructed in nine segments of five-story pentagons that twist as it rises, with the topmost segment twisted 90 degrees with respect to the ground floor. The construction of this building was featured on Discovery Channel’s “Extreme Engineering” TV program. The tower received some more publicity when on 18 August 2006, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped off it and parachuted to the ground.
After the successful completion of the Turning Torso, designers started proposing similar audacious structures elsewhere. Many projects got shelved, others were passed and built, and a handful of them are currently under construction. Here we explore some of the most twisted skyscraper designs around the world, but first, a few pictures of the tower that started it all.
Turning Torso, Malmo, Sweden
The project was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and officially opened on 27 August 2005. The tower reaches a height of 190 metres (623 feet) with 54 stories – 147 apartments, relax/lounge/spa, wine cellar followed by around-the-clock Concierge service 365 days a year. Each floor consists of an irregular pentagonal shape rotating around the vertical core, which is supported by an exterior steel framework. Completed in 2005, the Turning Torso is the tallest skyscraper in Sweden and all the Nordic countries, and presently the third tallest residential building in Europe.
Infinity Tower, Dubai
Infinity Tower is 306 metres (1,004 ft) tall with 76 stories and is under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which when completed, will become the world’s tallest high rise building with a twist of 90˚. The tower is designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill SOM architectural group, the same group who built the Burj Khalifa also in Dubai and Trump Tower in Chicago.
Construction of the building began in February 2006 and by 2012, the intended height was reached. Unlike the Turning Torso, which is a series of cantilevered plates rotated about a straight structure, Infinity Tower’s much larger floor plates actually require the structure to be twisted as it raises from level to level. Each floor is rotated by 1.2˚ to achieve the full 90˚ spiral, creating the shape of a helix. The tower will have residential apartments, conference rooms, tennis courts, pools, a state of the art gymnasium, a nursery and a spa.
Absolute World Towers, Mississauga, Canada
Absolute World is a residential twin tower skyscraper complex in Mississauga, Ontario. One is 179 meters tall while the other stands at 161 meters. Both towers twist 209 degrees from the base to the top. The building has been nicknamed the “Marilyn Monroe” tower due to its curvaceous, hourglass figure likened to actress Marilyn Monroe.
Kuwait Trade Center
Kuwait Trade Center, also known as Al Tijaria Tower, is a magnificent 218 meter tall tower in Kuwait City and currently the tallest building in Kuwait.
Revolution Tower, Panama City
The Revolution Tower is a controversial “corkscrew” tower complex of modern offices in Panama City, just a few minutes away from the banking center. The 242-meter reinforced concrete tower consist of 52 floors and makes a 360 degree turn as it rises up.
Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers, Nagoya
Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers is a 170-meter, 36-storey educational facility located on a busy main street of Nagoya City in front of Nagoya Station in Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The towers’ wing-like shape, narrow at the top, changes the rotation axis as they rise and create an organic curve. Spiral Towers appears to change shape slightly when viewed from different angles, giving an elegant yet dynamic impression. The strong inner truss tube is visible through gaps between the three wings, highlighting the bold design and structure while demonstrating the overall consistency.
The towers are highlighted with many ecological features, such as a double-glassed air flow window system and a natural air ventilation system.