Sou Fujimoto's 21st Century Oasis tower in Taiching, Taiwang. Images: Sou Fujimoto.
Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto
has recently won an international competition for a new landmark tower in Taichung, Taiwan. Titled “21st Century Oasis,” the proposal is an expansive, diaphanous wedge made of an intricate network of tube steel, and is nearly the height of the Eiffel Tower. If Fujimoto’s design were enclosed, the giant slab of a building would be criticized as a ponderous, heavy-handed gesture in its context. However, the proposal’s open-air, three-dimensional scaffold will likely mitigate some of this criticism, as will the framed oculus and “floating forest” proposed for the roof. Structurally, the tower will represent a significant feat in the creation of a tube steel network at this scale—a kind of Sendai Mediatheque service tube resized to the height of a skyscraper. In this sense, has the service system become the architecture?