Twisting Tower , Eco-infrastructure upon the sea of Shanghai

Twisting Tower and Spiral Station are two structures of Shanghai Lingang Ecological Restoration Project, located 10 kilometers apart along the coastline. They demonstrate the possibility of infrastructure as landmark, that not only serve for ecological purpose, but also attract public attention to environmental issue through visual expression of technical elements. From an architectural perspective, they also attempt to explore economic and intriguing solution by taking minimal formal manipulation.

Twisting Tower is an ecological infrastructure that combines two functions: Carbon Flux Monitoring and Sea Level Alert. The former is typically a slender steel tower with multiple platforms at different levels for placing and retrieving monitoring equipment, providing air quality monitoring, climate change observation, bird watching, as well as data collection and storage capabilities. The latter is usually a concrete cylinder that uses top lighting to indicate dynamic ocean tides and issue storm surge warnings. Originally planned as separate structures in two locations, the client decided to combine them into one tower standing 20 meters tall to serve as a landmark within the region. We incorporated twisting motions at both ends of the tower to imply its dual functionality while facilitating hanging detection devices in different orientations. The main steel structure is enveloped by vertical metal louvers on all sides which create an ambiguous sense of scale when viewed from vast endless coast. Only upon approaching can the internal steel staircase be glimpsed through the louver gaps. As a 3m x 2m rectangular footprint, the plan reduces to 2m x 2m after being twisted by 25 degrees. 4-meter-height LED light strips are embedded on the top louvers, which are used for sea level alerts. Carbon flux measurement devices are installed on the two platforms below - six meters and twelve meters in height respectively.

Twisting Tower and Spiral Station try to go beyond the basic paradigm of infrastructure by rethinking program and taking minimal gesture, creating dual sculptures on the beach and the sea.

Architect: HCCH Studio
Design team: Hao Chen, Chenchen Hu, Yuling Wang, Qi Zheng, Yida Hou
LDI: Shanghai Youwei Engineering Design Co.,Ltd.
Period: 2022-2023
Location: Lingang Coast, Shanghai.
Photography: Qingyan Zhu

structure model