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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?




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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.