Design Spotlight | The Phoenix Towers By Chetwoods

Chetwoods unveils plans for a kilometer-tall landmark in Wuhan that will become the world's tallest tower. (Chetwoods)

Chetwoods unveils plans for a kilometer-tall landmark in Wuhan that will become the world’s tallest tower. (Chetwoods)

British design studio Chetwoods is pushing limits, both creatively and vertically, as it unveils plans for a kilometer-tall tower in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province in central China. The tower would become the world’s tallest tower, dwarfing the world’s presently tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, by 150 meters.

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According to architecture news site Dezeen, the tower will be part of a landmark titled “The Phoenix Towers.” Chetwoods was commissioned by China’s Hua Yan Group to build an iconic 47-hectare structure occupying an island on one of Wuhan’s many lakes. The design studio was tasked to create a proposal that could incorporate large-scale environmental functions for cleaning the surrounding air and water, and serve a tourist destination and landmark along a three-kilometer long avenue.

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The site features two towers in total, and is based off of the Chinese mythological phoenix Fenghuang, comprising the masculine “Feng” and the feminine “Huang.” The taller “Feng” tower will contain multiple filtration systems for cleaning the water from the lake as well as the surrounding air. Only the bottom half will be inhabited commercial spaces, while the top half will be solely dedicated to its environmental and mechanical functions, including a solar electricity plant, hydrogen fuel cells, and other green energy production methods. The shorter “Huang” tower will be fully dedicated to recreational and cultural purposes, featuring a vertical garden, restaurants, galleries, bars, and other facilities.

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Chetwoods’ founder Laurie Chetwood commented that she was surprised by Hua Yan Group’s capacity for daring architecture. “In China if you come up with a slightly mad idea, it’s almost not mad enough,” she told Dezeen. “It’s the opposite of the UK.” Chetwood says that the Chinese firm demands substance along with the flash, however. “They wanted to take the Eiffel Tower experience on a stage further,” she said. “It doesn’t just stand there and become an iconic symbol of Wuhan, it has to do a job. We’ve applied as many environmental ideas as we possibly could to justify the shape and the size of them.” Chetwood expects to start on the site within the next year and plans for it to be completed by 2017.

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Architecture & Design, Culture