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Design

China’s unbelievable twisting towers are more than just pretty facade

While an outrageous design for a skyscraper in China is becoming more expected than not, there is method to the madness of the Shenzhen Energy Mansion.

Designed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (who, being based in Denmark, have the amazing URL of www.big.dk), the building is home to the Shenzhen Energy Company and those amazing pleats are actually there for the purpose of reducing the 100 story building’s energy use and costs.

“By folding parts of the envelope that would reduce solar loads and glare, a facade with closed and open parts oscillate between transparency to one side and opacity to the other,” writes the firm.

“The closed parts provide high-insulation while blocking direct sunlight and providing views out. As a result, the towers appear as a classical shape with an organic pattern from a distance and as an elegant pleated structure from close-up.

“The sinuous direction of the facade corresponds to the solar orientation: it maximizes north-facing opening for natural light and views, while minimising exposure on the sunny sides. This sustainable facade system reduces the overall energy consumption of the building without any moving parts or complicated technology.”

Shenzhen Energy Mansion

Shenzhen Energy Mansion

Shenzen has a sub-tropical climate, with temperatures averaging more than 29 degrees Celsius for six months of the year, so air conditioning could have been a serious drain on costs if not for the clever design.

The two towers measure 120 and 220 metres tall respectively, and they have been under construction since 2012.

Shenzhen Energy Mansion

Shenzhen Energy Mansion

It’s not the first energy efficient building BIG have been behind, with Bjarke Ingels having designed the Amager Bakke plant, which converts waste into energy, and has a man-made ski slope as a roof!

This isn’t the firm’s only funky piece of architecture either, with the rotated towers being built next to the High Line in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood another BIG idea.

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Joe likes to write about himself in the third person, even if he thinks it’s horribly pretentious when others do it.

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