Extending life from the urban streets into the sky, towers and skyscrapers are the most prominent structures of modern cities. in 2019, several towers were proposed and completed by award-winning architects that reveal innovative and creative approaches to verticality. a skyscraper by zaha hadid architects boasted the world’s tallest atrium, while a mega-project by safdie architects began phased opening in china. meanwhile, proposed schemes by MAD architects and MVRDV also made the headlines. [Designboom]
as we move into december, we continue our annual round up of the year’s BIG stories with a look at ten proposed and completed towers featured on designboom over the past 12 months.
in october, the slender skyscraper centered at the foot of new york’s central park topped out at its full height of 1,428 feet (435 meters). designed by SHoP architects, ‘111 west 57th street’ is expressive of its historic, metropolitan context while implementing the latest technology and pushing the limits of engineering and fabrication. in the realization of the monumental project, the developers and designers demonstrate a commitment to the philosophy behind new york city’s classic skyscrapers with an harmonious integration with the historic steinway hall which occupies the address.
image © hufton + crow
in november, ‘leeza SOHO tower’, designed by zaha hadid architects (ZHA), opened in china with the world’s tallest atrium. the project anchors beijing’s new fengtai business district — a growing financial and transport hub between the city center and the recently opened international airport to the south. the new district is integral to the chinese capital’s multi-modal urban plan to accommodate growth without impacting existing infrastructure networks in the center of the city. as part of the masterplan, the 45-storey 172,800 square meter tower provides small and medium-sized businesses with flexible and efficient grade A office space.
in february, plans were unveiled for ‘burj jumeira’, a tower designed by SOM to be built in dubai. the tower’s expressive base corresponds to the fingerprint of HH sheikh mohammed bin rashid al maktoum — the vice president and prime minister of the united arab emirates, and ruler of the emirate of dubai. this outdoor social space is programmed to accommodate a spectrum of cultural and artistic events and will comprise numerous elements such as fountains, and a terraced outdoor amphitheater. the first phase of the development will be delivered in 2023.
in april, MAD architects, led by ma yansong, released an alternative vision for new york high-rises with ‘east 34th’. unlike the city’s conventional towers that typically express distinct, imposing outlines, MAD’s design expresses a deep-colored glass curtain-wall façade that slowly fades into a slender and fluid transparent cap. the project, which was imagined for caerus group, the owner of the site, is currently being presented as part of a year-long permanent collection exhibition at the centre pompidou in paris.
image © H.G. esch
standing at a total height of 528 meters (1,732 feet), ‘CITIC tower’ opened this year as the tallest building in beijing, the fourth tallest in china, and the eighth tallest worldwide. designed by kohn pedersen fox associates (KPF), the shape of the skyscraper draws inspiration from the ‘zun’, a ritual vessel originating in bronze age china. the tower abstracts and refines the zun’s vase-like form, with a 69-meter-wide crown, a 54-meter-wide ‘waist’, and a 78-meter-wide base. ‘KPF’s goal for CITIC tower was to create a centerpiece for the new CBD that would elicit harmony with the historic capital while proposing aspirational and contemporary architecture,’ says li lei, design director, KPF.
following eight years of design and construction, safdie architects is nearing completion on ‘raffles city chongqing’. embedded within the chinese city’s densely developed yuzhong district, the mixed-use complex combines office, residential, hotel, retail, and recreational facilities across a 22.7 acre site. situated at the confluence of the yangtze and jialing rivers, the historically significant site was once home to the city’s most important gateway and the official imperial entrance to the city: chaotian gate. today, chongqing is one of the world’s fastest-growing and densest cities with a greater metropolitan population of over 30 million.
image © MVRDV
in january, MVRDV unveiled its proposal for the taipei twin towers to revitalize the central station area of taipei. the design of the towers is characterized by a ‘pile of blocks’ that generates a vertical urban neighborhood. each box serves as a visual expression of its program through an array of interactive media façades. the project is designed as a ‘times square for taiwan,’ offering a vibrant and charismatic destination that re-establishes the central station area of taipei as the city’s premier location for retail, working, and tourism.
image © raphaël petit
french architecture firm hamonic + masson & associés presented a visionary residential tower concept to capture the atmosphere and beauty of cyprus. planned to overlook the sparkling mediterranean horizon of the southern coastal city of limassol, the tower introduces a unique proposal for an expressive structural system and new type of dwelling. taking influence from such naturally occurring geometries as the floral corolla, the tower rises from nature with soaring columns that bloom into exterior swimming pools and planted green areas, each linking directly to an individual unit.
image courtesy of bloomimages and dorte mandrup
currently, the tallest building in western europe is the shard — a renzo piano-designed skyscraper that stands at the heart of london. climbing to a total height of 309.7 meters (1,017 feet), the supertall structure is joined in the british capital by a host of other well-known high-rises, including ‘one canada square’ and the ‘leadenhall building,’ designed by rogers stirk harbour + partners. however, a project of a similar scale — conceived by dorte mandrup — has recently been approved for a plot of land outside a small town in rural denmark.
image courtesy of trigema
in october, plans were revealed for a 135-meter-tall (443 ft) tower in prague, designed in part by sculptor david černý, that resembles a vertical shipwreck. the proposed mixed-use scheme, which could become the tallest building in the czech republic, contains residences in addition to office space and a large public component on its lower levels. located in prague’s nové butovice neighborhood, ‘top tower’ will also include a public observation deck at its peak, offering views across the city and its surrounding areas. [Designboom]