visiondivision designed the ‘Tornado’ in Taipei, Taiwan.
Description from the architects:
“Wind arises from the irregular heating of the atmosphere and the uneven surface of our planet. The air movement that occurs between these areas is what we refer to as wind, and just as we can use water to make turbines spin, we can harvest the power of the wind with wind turbines to create electricity.
This is something that visiondivision, a young and upcoming architecture firm from Stockholm, Sweden, took advantage of in a concept in their entry for the Taipei Opera House Competition last year.
Visiondivision proposed a structure with curved blades that are attached on segments on the façade which generates power from high altitude winds. The structure was designed according to the wind flows on the site and the outcome became a shape that is similar to a tornado which of course was very suitable for the concept of the building and also makes it a very strong icon in the city, which was also suggested by the competition arrangement.
The structure is similar to a water tower with its characteristic mushroom shape. These kinds of structures are usually made in concrete whilst the Tornado is made out of steel for structural reasons because the scale of the Tornado are much larger.
By raising the building they created many advantages for the specific site; it creates a generous public space around it, allowing markets, events and a social forum for this part of the city, it also allows nicer views from the public main areas in the building.
The new square that occupies the site slopes gently towards the entrance of the building, and surrounded by pearls, the visitors transcends from the bustling city to a serene world of the performing arts.
The pearls are non-toxic and non-flammable acrylic balls with a tint of reflection.
Pearls in different sizes are combined into various landscapes inside the building to enhance the theatre experience and to make a strong coherent overall design scheme for the whole complex.
A great spiral of pearls is the main focal point of the entrance hall; you can either take the elevator through it or the ramp around it, by foot or with the “VIP Train of pearls”, taking you all the way into the Grand Theatre.
The Grand theatre is the centerpiece of attraction and is also embedded in pearls, creating an elegant and modern experience for the audience. The semi-transparent pearls are lit from behind and dim the light, creating a glowing sensation. Depending on the performance, the ambience can be set into different modes; creating an exclusive environment for staged presentation not seen anywhere else in the world.
A chandelier of pearls in the middle of the theatre drops seamlessly from the roof like a jewel, radiating an ambient light and makes it the center piece of the room. The VIP Train is now converted into comfortable seats.
Reaching the roof terrace, the pearls subside into clouds. Walking around among the clouds one can experience a dizzying panorama of Taipei. The terrace becomes a great lounge area for the whole city and a perfect place to spend some time on New Year’s Eve.
The building performs on its own for the city, generating culture, urban life and pure sustainable energy for its vicinity.
This is all strongly manifested from the visual effect of its rotating facade.
The combination of state of the art technology combined with the poetic aspects as one ascend through pearls are an unusual match in today’s architecture scene, and this project stands out as one of the few of this kind in the last years.
The Tornado did unfortunately not win the competition but shortly after it was published, the architects were approached by a building company that wanted to make a feasibility calculation of the project, so the Tornado may still be erected in a near future, making it a unique piece of architecture and a landmark for ecological and brave thinking.”