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Taiwan Babel Tower

By:  | March - 23 - 2016

Honorable Mention
2016 Skyscraper Competition

Lu Te Hsin
Taiwan

If there is a need for a monument in this city, let there be one. This monument will become a slice of the contemporary world, and the ideology of citizens will be revealed with a massive collage of culture symbols.

Taipei is a great city where people of different classes from different countries are living. Mysterious games are played by everyone, while the winners accumulate huge capitals and others lose everything they have. Some people are born to win while others never have a chance. With population rising and more foreign culture are imported to the city, the game will be played by more people with frenzy pace.

The Dutch, the Spanish, the Chinese and the Japanese people in modern history have colonized Taiwan. A diverse political and cultural heritage has rendered Taiwan a country without clear root or origin. Taiwan thus becomes a blender that accepts most influences from other cultures. The mixture also represents in the build environment. Taiwan has find ways to incorporate different cultural aspects, whether traditional or modern, western or eastern. Like all other colonized cities, the urban scape is an agglomeration of different influences and developments.

To represent the city and its people, the government started a project to create a monument that is also a tremendous housing. Having no more land to use in the already crowded city, the only way to go is up. A colossal height is expected, and the design becomes a task of vertical urban-planning.

A megastructure in architecture as well as a superstructure in the sense of Marx theories, this monument / housing complex is an embodiment of economy, culture and society.

The infrastructure of the architecture is designed to allow various builders to construct different buildings within the tower for different needs. Huge elevators are erected to provide vertical transportation. While wealthy people purchase luxury high level residences, the lower levels and the ground floor becomes a slum that is not that different to the surrounded urban areas: chaotic and immense. The Tower becomes not only a monument for the city, but a representation of the city itself.

Seven Phases of Tower Building
1. A superstructure starts to develop under the supervision of the government. Verticality is a strategy to densify the use of space.
2. Real estate dealers start to advertise on the “tallest dwelling in the world”. Lured by the view and the sunlight accompanied with the height, buyers flock toward the mid- and upper sections of the tower.
3. As the tower continues to grow, people starts to move in. Newcomers gradually find that the tower is self-supplied.
4. A huge amount of labor force is needed to sustain the tower. The lower levels are open for workers to move in.
5. The possibility of lower level residents working their way up to the upper level threatens the stability of the power structure. A separate management is established for the lower levels to cut away connections with the top. Two dividing zones are established: an industry belt and a green belt.
6. The capacity and influence of tower expands rapidly. The difference between the three sections deepens. The lower levels fall into a slum condition while the top floors become more luxurious, and the middle-class working people caught in between spend much effort to keep up.
7. The infrastructure of the tower keeps expanding, as if the tower would never reach a limit. As the diversity within the tower grows, the cultural and visual identity of the tower becomes harder to describe. The Tower becomes everything.

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