I a n  D o u g l a s - J o n e s


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Broadway Malyan Architects Shanghai have just completed a competition entry for an iconic observation and telecommunications tower in Taichung Taiwan.  The 3x3x3 tower.
“To commemorate the centennial anniversary of the founding of Taiwan, R.O.C. and celebrate the merger between Taichung County and Taichung City, the government of Taiwan, R.O.C. will erect the “Taiwan Tower” as an important landmark in the new special municipality. Here, visitors will be treated to a panoramic view of the park, the city and the natural surroundings. The new landmark will also help visitors and residents orient themselves as Taichung makes the leap to become a world-class metropolis.”Taichung Municipality
This presented Broadway Malyan ( BM )  with an opportunity to experiment with the notion of the icon, its prerequisite for sustainable credentials and the towers role in a quickly developing city on the global stage.  As such BM were able to give more than was asked:
“Our ambition is to not just create a building, but create a truly sustainable icon which adds value to its surroundings, an icon that gives back to the people, an icon that is greater than the sum of its parts” BM Shanghai
That’s some ask of a single building, to achieve these ambitions BM employs a holistic design methodology.  Being sustainable can no longer mean having green credentials, whether it be add-ons or technology imbued from the get go.  It has to go beyond and encompass not only the environmental but the social and economic. A threefold sustainability strategy.
The 3x3x3 Taichung Tower does just this, in environmental terms the design exploits its locality and climate to mitigate against harsh unpredictable conditions such as typhoon, seismic activity and high wind loads.  It is designed to harness the natural energy in long sunlit hours and prevailing wind.  Rain water harvesting, grey and black water treatment and on site recycling complete the on-going strategies whilst locally sourced services and fabrication reduce the initial embodied energy.
Economically icons have to work harder than the Bilbao effect and provide more than the quantifiable. The 3x3x3 tower will gain direct revenue generation from ticket sales and merchandising and indirectly revenue from branding and marketing.  The tower will act as signifier to the innovation and progression of a world-class metropolis. 
Socially, measures of success are less easy to identify.  However a rich programme that exploits the national lunar, Gregorian and International events calendar ensures the 3x3x3 tower becomes an embodiment of a hyper-civitas with complex layering of formal and in-formal programming.  This is not a new idea but a concentrated one, from motorbikes, tai-chi, mar-Jong, opera, base-jumping to picnics a radical pluralism binds icon event and place; the sleeve upon which the cities heart is worn.

Conceptually a concurrent number, 3 ( san ) is present and manifest as:
3 - Fú Lù Shòu  寿  (Happiness Prosperity Longevity) 
3 - Holistic Sustainability:  Environmental, Economic and Social.
3 - Civitas: Icon Event Place.
The 3x3x3 synergy and dynamism is captured architecturally in an elegant form.  Splayed to give stability and provide cover, twisted to mitigate wind loading and tapered to give proportion and elegance.
The journey to the top begins long before you reach the building. Visitors traverse a park landscape rich in facilities and programme from a shared bicycle scheme, basketball to baseball courts, as well as city farm style allotments where local produce sourced for the restaurant and café facilities on site.  Directly beneath the tower is a central event space highly flexible and adaptable to suit myriad uses events scenarios, tower entry occurs before this however with ramped access below ground to the Taichung museum of urban development.  From here visitors ascend the tower in glass pods from darkness within the lower floor of the museum and into the light.  The glass pod affording views out and the experience to ascending helically through the structure, 360 degree views as visitors ascend and descend.
Atop the tower panoramic views are given by three stepping observation decks, café , restaurant, and bar accommodation provided at this high level also.  This part of the tower is event laden too, and plays host to red bull’s Asia x-games base-jumping contest.  From the poetic to the extreme the tower forms the architectural armature to a rich and diverse programme of people events cultures; hyper-civitas manifest. 

Architect:  Broadway Malyan
Project: 3x3x3 tower
Client: Taichung County and Taichung City
Project Team:
Ben Somners
Ian Douglas – Jones
Jeremy Salmon

Technical Support: Buro Happold
Rob May
Mike Parkinson