10 outstanding twisted structures around the world

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Twisted skyscrapers and structures are gaining popularity in particular due to their aesthetic design and appearance. Twisted structures are more than just an aesthetic element but are meticulously designed structural and architectural marvels. Structures are subject to opposing environmental factors and loads, in particular wind loads that increase with height. Twisting is a construction and design feature to increase stability and tackle the environment and other forces and factors. Architects and designers are developing and creating unique and out-of-the-world twisted skyscraper designs.

Listed here are ten outstanding twisted structures around the world;

1. Turning Torso


Design: Santiago Calatrava
Location: Malmo, Sweden
Construction: Completed in 2005
Building Typology: Commercial Office + Rental Apartments

Turning Torso is a 90-degree twisted skyscraper designed by the renowned Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava. It is one of the tallest residential structures in Sweden and the second tallest in Europe. The structure is divided into nine pentagonal sections twisted entirely 90 degrees. The design was inspired by a white marble sculpture depicting a twisted human torso designed by Santiago Calatrava. The 59-story skyscraper consists of 9 modules with a steel exterior exoskeleton. The skyscraper is composed of a unique structural design consisting of a mega concrete core (Central column) to tackle the load affecting it.

2. Shanghai Tower


Design: Gensler
Location: Shanghai, China
Construction: Completed in 2015
Building Typology: Mixed-use building

Shanghai Tower is a 128-story structure located in China which is one of the tallest skyscrapers in China and the fourth tallest in the world. It is a mixed-use skyscraper with office spaces, hotels, cultural facilities, observation decks, and retail spaces. The distinctive spiral cylindrical form gives it stability and is designed to withstand strong wind forces giving it an aesthetic helical form. The tower sits on 70-meter-long concrete piles and the entire structure consists of a thick central concrete core (Column). The skyscraper has been considered a sustainable skyscraper, gathering rainwater and reusing the wastewater. The glass façade of the structure is twisted up to 120 degrees as it rises which reduces wind loading.

3. Cayan Tower


Design: SOM (Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill)
Location: Dubai, UAE
Construction: Completed in 2013
Building Typology: Residential

Cayan Tower located in Marine, Dubai designed by the renowned architectural firm SOM. It is one of the top ten residential structures around the world. The 75-story skyscraper known as the Infinity Tower has a twisted form. The helical structure was achieved by rotating each level by 1.2 degrees around the central core (Service core and Elevator). The structural system was cast in place and consisted of a reinforced concrete core superstructure. The rotation is achieved around this central cylindrical concrete pillar. The exterior of the structure has utilized metal cladding attached to the concrete columns.

4. Chongqing Gaoke Group Ltd Office (Dance of Light)


Design: Aedas
Location: Chongqing, China
Construction: Completed in 2022
Building Typology: Office building

Dance of Light is a 39-story skyscraper inspired by the organic rays and spirals of the Northern Lights, designed by the architecture studio Aedas. The tower is situated in Chongqing Jiangbei District in the West zone of China. The 180-meter-tall structure is simple, elegant yet unique, and distinctive in form. A simple glass façade with a double curved form that allows a play of light on its surface. The twisted tower consists of each level twisted by an angle of 8.8 degrees to create the twisted form. The skyscraper is a juxtaposition of rectilinear forms and towers to create double curves.

5. The Lakhta Center


Location: St Petersburg, Russia
Construction: Completed in 2019
Building Typology: Office building

The Lakhta Center in St Petersburg (Russia) is the tallest structure in Russia and Europe. The 87-story twisted structure is the second tallest twisted structure in the world. The skyscraper has implemented energy-saving technologies that have earned a platinum LEED certification. The entire structure has been twisted 90 degrees from the foundation to the topmost level creating a spire-like structure. The center consists of a sports center, children’s science center, conference center, and co-working center. The double skin façade is composed of glass panels pressed onto aluminum frames.

6. Crown Sydney (One Barangaroo)

Design: Wilkinson Eyre
Location: Sydney, Australia
Construction: Completed in 2021
Building Typology: Mixed-use

Crown Sydney, known as One Barangaroo, located in Barangaroo (Sydney) is one of the tallest structures designed in Sydney. The twisted form is inspired by nature (organic curves and natural form), with three petal designs that twist and rise to a height of 271.3 meters. The entire exterior helical structure has a 60-degree twist containing a single central core structure. The 75-story tower is a sculptural artwork in addition to Sydney’s skyline. The mixed-use tower consists of residential apartments, hotels, hospitality venues, and casinos. The tower is composed of an insulated façade with helical concrete columns in the outer perimeter.

7. The F & F Tower

Design: Pinzon Lozano and Asociados
Location: Panama City, Panama
Construction: Completed in 2011
Building Typology: Office building

The F & F Tower was referred to as the Revolutionary Tower located in Panama. The 52-story tower was initially just a theoretical concept (Rotating geometry and prism), but the architectural firm Pinzon Lozano and Asociados, has brought this design concept from theory to reality. The aesthetic appearance is created by twisting 39 upper levels about a central axis with the lower 13 floors with parking and garage spaces. The primary construction material utilized is reinforced concrete and glass.

8. Evolution Tower (City Palace Tower)

Location: Moscow, Russia
Construction: Completed in 2014
Building Typology: Office Building

The Evolution Tower, also known as the City Palace Tower is a 55-storey tower in Moscow. The structure is designed to create a central business district in an industrial zone. It is known for its iconic and futuristic form inspired by the double helix DNA shape. The 246-metre tower is composed of 55 levels of which each level twisted 3 degrees from the previous one. It consists of a registry office, offices, retail, and leisure facilities. The entire structure twisted more than 150 degrees around a central core. The exterior façade is composed of a single glazed façade with a cold mirror (High-performance glass for windows).

9. Absolute Towers

Design: MAD Architects
Location: Mississauga, Canada (US)
Construction: Completed in 2012
Building Typology: Office Building

Absolute Towers are twin organic twisted towers located in Canada designed by the renowned architectural firm MAD Architects. The concept of MAD architects was to create a tower that should showcase organic, natural, and soft curved forms. The continuous organic flow façade creates a unique experience at every level of the twin towers. The façade is composed of balconies that wrap around each level of the entire tower, which also provides shading to the interiors. The 176-meter tower has been twisted 209 degrees from the base to the topmost level.

10. Ocean Heights

Design: Andrew Bromberg of AEDAS
Location: Dubai, UAE
Construction: Completed in 2010
Building Typology: Residential

The Ocean Heights is an 82-story apartment building located in Dubai Marina, UAE. The structure is designed by Andrew Bromberg of Aedas. The square plan structure has been twisted (Three out of four sides) from the base to the topmost level creating twisted columns. The dramatic twist creates and allows a fantastic view of the Marina. The exterior of the façade has been composed of insulated glass panels with Low E coating that provides shading.

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