11 twisting towers around the world, from Chongqing's Dance of Light to Cayan in Dubai

These dynamic buildings are putting their own spin on skylines

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China's 180-metre-tall Dance of Light has joined a growing list of twisted towers scattered all around the world.

From the hard-edged and angular to the curved and nature-inspired, here are 11 of the most interesting.

Cayan Tower

Cayan Tower, courtesy of Better Homes *** Local Caption ***  wk20no-otm-p6.jpg

Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Location: Dubai, the UAE

Cayan Tower is a 306-metre-tall, 75-storey skyscraper in Dubai. Designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, when the tower was completed in 2013, it was the world's tallest building with a twist of 90 degrees.

The twisting effect of the tower was created through a rather straight-forward design. Each floor rotates at 1.2 degrees around a cylindrical elevator and service core, creating an upward rotation.

Generali Tower

Milan's Generali Tower, also known as the 'The Twisted One' or 'Hadid Tower'. Photo: Alamy

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects

Location: Milan, Italy

Generali Tower, also named the "Twisted One", is renowned for its subtle yet powerful warping shape. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and opened in 2017, the Generali Tower is 191.5 metres high, with a total floor area of about 67,000 square metres.

The twisting form runs through the tower, with each rhomboid-shaped floor plate shifting slightly to accommodate its vertical axis. No two stories are completely aligned due to the twist of the building reducing at every level.

The design shifts the highest floors to face the Unesco World Heritage Site, the 15th century Santa Maria delle Grazie church.

Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower by the Huangpu River is the world's third-tallest building. Photo Alamy

Architect: Gensler

Location: Shanghai, China

Shanghai Tower is a 128-storey, 632-metre-tall skyscraper in Shanghai. Designed by American architecture firm Gensler, it is the tallest building in China and the world's third-tallest building.

The tower was structured as nine cylindrical buildings, stacked on top of each other, enclosed by an inner layer of a glass facade. Over that, is an outer layer, which twists as it rises. Both layers are transparent and made from reflective glass, which aids in reducing heat absorption and emphasises the twisting formation of the structure.

Evolution Tower

The 55-storey Evolution Tower in Moscow has a swirling structure. Photo: Wikipedia

Architect: RMJM

Location: Moscow, Russia

Evolution Tower is a 55-storey building with a height of 246 metres, covering a total area of 169,000 square metres. The stocky, futuristic DNA-like twisted shape is created by each floor rotating three degrees relative to the one before it, turning by more than 150 degrees in total.

This gives the structure more of "swirl" motion than a forceful twist, emphasised by a continuous band of curved single-glazing facade with high-performance cold-mirror glass.

Dance of Light tower

The architects behind China's Dance of Light tower say it is among the most twisted in the world. Photo: Aedas

Architect: Aedas

Location: Chongqing, China

The Dance of Light office skyscraper in Chongqing, China is a 180-metre-tall tower inspired by the northern lights.

The 39-storey skyscraper has a "twisting angle" of up to 8.8 degrees per floor. Architecture studio Aedas, who designed the tower, believe this is one-and-a-half times more than any other skyscraper, which would make it one of the most extreme buildings of its kind.

The tower’s smooth external facade was created by a double-curved, cold-form glass, which helped produce a refined form, while also allowing light to play off the building’s surface and accentuate the twisting shape.

F&F Tower

Located in Panama City's financial district, the F&F Tower stands at 243 metres high. Photo: Wikipedia

Architect: Pinzon Lozano & Asociados

Location: Panama City, Spain

The F&F tower is also known as “Tornillo" — meaning “the screw” in Spanish — is one of the most twisted structures in the world. Designed by Pinzon Lozano & Asociados and located in Panama City's financial district, the F&F Tower stands at 243 metres high and is made up of 53 floors.

The geometric, prism-looking building is made up of a concrete structure, where the upper 39 floors rotate around a central axis, with each floor rotating nine degrees from the previous floor.

United Tower

United Tower in Bahrain sits on top of an artificial island. Photo: Alamy

Architect: Cooperation Investment House and Ahmed Al Qaed Construction

Location: Manama, Bahrain

United Tower, also known as Twisting Tower, is a 50-storey tower built on a specially created artificial island, located in one of the bays of Bahrain.

Reminiscent of a huge drill, the 200-metre-tall tower rises from an octagonal floor plate and twists counter-clockwise, offering 360-degree views of the bay and Corniche of Manama. United Tower comprises a 19-floor hotel, which includes 263 guest rooms and a 900-square-metre ballroom.

Turning Torso

The Turning Torso in Malmo, Sweden, is the tallest building in Scandinavia. Getty Images

Architect: Santiago Calatrava

Location: Malmo, Sweden

At 190 metres high, the Turning Torso residential skyscraper is the tallest building in Scandinavia.

The neo-futurist building is regarded by many as the first twisted skyscraper in the world. It was inspired by a Calatrava sculpture, also called Twisting Torso, made of white marble and based in turn on the twisting form of a human being.

The angular building is constructed in nine segments of five-storey pentagons that twist as they ascend. The highest segment shifts 90 degrees clockwise from the base segment.

Constructed around a vertical core, each floor consists of an irregular pentagonal shape supported by an exterior steel framework.

Al Tijaria Tower

Al Tijaria Tower in Kuwait rotates by 80 degrees as it climbs from the ground level to the top floor. Photo: Alamy

Architect: Al Jazera Consultants and NORR

Location: Kuwait

Inspired by the shape of the spiral or helix, Al Tijara Tower is 218 metres tall and made up of 41 floors. Characterised by its curtain-like twist, the body of the tower rotates by 80 degrees as it climbs.

A concentric ring around a circular-shaped core is at the centre of the structure. From there, structural columns allow for the variations in slab-edged columns, creating the twisting shape of the tower. The exterior cladding uses smooth aluminium and glass, giving the tower its sleek appearance.

Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers

Japan's Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers have a double-glazed airflow window and natural ventilation system. Getty Images

Architect: Nikken Sekkei

Location: Nagoya, Japan

Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers is a 170-metre, 36-storey educational school for three different fields — fashion design, computer programming and medical support.

A sturdy inner truss tube is the central pillar supporting three tapering wings. Constructed of concrete-filled, steel tubular columns with structural braces, the truss tube is fixed around the base of the structure.

Architect studio Nikken Sekkei designed the towers to include a number of ecological features, including a double-glazed airflow window system and a natural ventilation system.

Absolute World Towers

Absolute World Towers, Canada, are also known locally as 'Marilyn Monroe Towers'. Photo: Wikipedia

Architect: MAD Architects

Location: Ontario, Canada

Absolute World Towers, also known as the Marilyn Monroe Towers, are two 50 and 56-storey skyscrapers with beautifully twisting forms.

Designed by MAD Architects, the towers abandoned traditional vertical lines and hard edges, instead taking inspiration from the fluidity found in nature.

The larger of the two towers twists 198 degrees from the base to the top and the winding, horizontal lines accentuated by unbroken wraparound balconies give the appearance that the towers are moving.

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Updated: September 03, 2022, 4:45 AM
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