Miyi Tower by Studio Shift



Los Angeles-based architects Studio Shift have designed Miyi Tower as part of a new town south of Miyi County in China.


According to the architects, the tower is "designed as an educational building for residents and the multitude of tourists that visit every year," and will comprise an auditorium, exhibition spaces and restaurants.


These enclosed elements will make up half of the building, alternating with open-air floors for event spaces, gardens and observation decks.


Studio Shift and landscape architects SWA Group designed the masterplan for the developing area.


A promenade consisting of a series of parks and public spaces designed by SWA Group will lead to the tower.


Here's some more information from the architects:


Miyi Tower

Through an RFQ process, the New South Town of Miyi County in south eastern China selected the Los Angeles based team of Studio SHIFT and SWA Group to create a master plan for the developing area. As part of the new plan, Studio SHIFT has designed a tower containing various programs aimed at promoting the region’s heritage and natural amenities.


The tower sits at the edge of the Anning River and will mark the transition between the new development to the north and the new wetlands, leisure and agricultural districts to the south.


The Miyi Tower rises from the southern end of a kilometer long promenade that stretches from a high density residential and cultural hub devoted to regional arts. The promenade itself consists of a series of parks and public spaces designed by SWA Group to highlight accessibility to the river. It then tapers between rising paths which form the amphitheater at the tower’s base. The paths converge and then continue as a bridge across the river and as an overlook affording views of reclaimed wetlands and the lake beyond. The designers were intent on utilizing natural and mechanical means of filtration to produce clean water, converting a highly polluted river into a usable amenity for residents and visitors. This new amenity takes the form of a series of lakes, wetlands and waterways which lend form to the new districts in the master plan.


The tower itself, which is to act as a major landmark per the Miyi government’s request, is designed as an educational building for residents and the multitude of tourists that visit every year. Because the town is known for its abundance of sunshine and temperate climate, only half of the building’s program elements are enclosed. These double height spaces alternate with unenclosed areas and rise around a vertical core, their alignment shifting toward different views at every floor.


An auditorium, exhibition spaces and restaurants featuring local cuisine can be found on the interior while open-air floors are used as event spaces, gardens and an observation deck. The pairs of lower and upper enclosed spaces are joined by structures which act as light monitors. These light monitors, of which there is a third at the highest level, are aligned to take advantage of different lighting conditions throughout the day.


The tower is sheathed in a very porous yet continuous skin that gives the various programs their unified form. As porous building skins are often treated as opaque modules with subtracted holes (i.e. perforated skins) Studio SHIFT deliberately created the inverse. On the Miyi Tower, rather than defaulting to a technique of perforation, they created a pattern of objects in space mounted to a light frame. This inversion allows the skin to take on a rather ethereal effect and evokes the shimmering surface of the river below.


Architect: Studio SHIFT
Principals: Mario Cipresso and Chris Warren
Project Assistants: Chris Hyun and Andrew Kim

Landscape Architect: SWA Group Los Angeles
Gerdo Aquino, Ying-Yu Hung, Patrick Curran and Alex Robinson


Chris Warren and Mario Cipresso formed Studio SHIFT after long tenures with Morphosis in order to further explore methodologies in various design fields including architecture and urban planning. Both currently teach architecture studios at the University of Southern California. Mario is also the founder of the competitions website Death By Architecture.

Posted on Friday January 16th 2009 at 4:39 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • These renderings seem pretty ominous, like a hi-tech Minas Tirith.

  • Ryan Ramirez

    this is probably the coolest building i’ve ever seen

  • NMiller

    memorexe… +1 for the Lord of the Rings reference.

    Cool diagrams. They explain the project well.

    I would like to know more about the skin systems beyond “a pattern of objects in space mounted to a light frame”. The renderings seem just fuzzy enough to blur out the details.

  • k. rimane

    the real deal won’t be seen as clearer. it’ll be blurred by a thick fog of pollution sadly.

  • kimkim

    Awesome! Diagrams are crisp. Love the red people in the sections!

  • Thomas H

    A building as haute couture in modest person. Interesting outfit which oddly shows off pedent or otherwise customary inside.Bbit more effort inside would give better impression.

  • c

    nice design.
    nice elements (alternating open air floors, “light monitors” )
    skin seems under worked/ under planned. the idea of adding material is nice and smart however their end result needs more work and character.

  • Diaphanous_abyssinian

    Gratuitous Mayne_esque formalism. Its a global recession, hopefully that will eventually get rid of such shameless, image-based conc0ctions.

  • Mowgli

    Wow, this is extremely impressive… and a little creepy, in a Tim Burton kinda way…

  • Bryn G

    Congratulations Chris!

  • nickthegreek

    really nice renderings, shame about the section though-doesn’t seem as exciting as the exterior

  • critic

    a koolhaas wrapped into a mayne.
    nice diagrams and renderings, but compared to the originals the section is disapointing..
    still nice tough.

  • arianne groth

    gorgeous! I guess I need to wait to go to China until I can see this building while I’m there. I hope you show your students these drawings!

  • rik

    yay for this!
    Double yay for Minas Tirith!

  • Miko

    @k. rimane: i don’t know if you’ve been to china but not ALL of china is covered in pollution and smog. if that was the sentiment of your comment…

  • cc

    Well represented project. The renderings, drawings, and diagrams are all pretty clear and convincing. Good Job!

  • jJames

    this building is pretty sweet!!!

  • freesia

    kick-ass building!!! im glad to see these guys doing well

  • bracamon

    this is awesome, mario.

  • Enoch

    Congratulations Chris and Mario!
    I hope everything will go smoothly for the rest of the project!

  • creechure

    The moves on the ground plane in terms of relating to path and circulation are extremely intelligent. Why didn’t you also let them inform the fracturing of the skin? Also, the comments above that refer to this as Mayne formalism are somewhat unfounded and precipitant I feel…this language is different and approaching something signature. Congratulations

  • cool facade, but plain section…
    seems no connection between 1 floor to another..

  • Fantastic, imaginitive building, if a little ominous, especially in the visus with al l the ghosts walking around!

  • bk

    Congrats Shift! What a fantastic forward-thinking ephemeral project with a very strong concept. Can’t wait to see it built!


    Great stuff studio shift……………………………….
    Great concept and location, i would love to
    see how the skin of the building will function.
    The blurring effect really smudges the building
    into the context, a heavy rainstorm would totally
    accentuate the image you guys are trying to create.
    Nice one boys.

  • kwong

    Beautiful promenade! It’s great to see how the tower developed from its original parti. The facade’s porosity compliments the site well.

  • agvsta

    I wonder how they do the cleaning and the maintenance later.

  • clgla

    Catwalks would work!

  • simon

    nice work Chris!

  • WOODhaas

    Like that section. I’ll be interested to see how that skin is constructed. Are those panels going to be individually attached?

  • A highly ambitious and ephemeral piece of architecture. Hope the construction process is underway soon!

  • Miyi country in China? Where is it ?
    I like the location of this building, surrounding with water!