Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio, DSBA
and Mihai Carciun

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

This conceptual tower for Taiwan by Romanian firms upgrade.studioDSBA and Mihai Carciun in the USA would feature observation decks floating up and down each side on helium balloons. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

Called Floating Observatories, the design is the winner of the Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition and would incorporate a museum, information centre, offices, conference centre and restaurant.

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

The protruding pods would accommodate 50-80 people and glide up and down the tower controlled by a magnetic field.

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

The following details are from DSBA:


Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition

"FLOATING OBSERVATORIES" Proposal by Dorin STEFAN's DSBA, Mihai CARCIUN and upgrade.studio wins the "Taiwan Tower" Conceptual International Competition

"Starting from the 'geographical' visual of Taiwan ‐ which is an island resembling a leaf ‐ we have developed the concept of the technological tree: we have designed 8 spatial leaves (with eight being a propitious number in the local culture) in the form of zeppelin‐like elevators which glide up and down the 'tree trunk" and which serve the purpose of observation decks / belvedere.

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

I have called these elevators floating observatories because each has a nacelle which can take 50 to 80 people; they are self‐sustained by helium balloons and are built from lightweight materials (borrowed from the spacecraft industry) and are wrapped in a last‐generation type of membrane (PTFE) and they glide vertically on a track positioned vertically in a strong electro‐magnetic field" ‐ Dorin STEFAN, Principal, DSBA*

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

The tower layers underground and ground level spaces as well as in its vertical reach, the functions required by the conceptual theme: information center, museum, office and conference space, restaurants, fixed observation desks.

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

Apart from the fact that we aim to design a tower whose silhouetted out of line echoes the local symbolism and has great impact in terms of visual identity, our solution is at the same time a model of green architecture:

  • minimum footprint at land level; - maximum green area surface; - all circulations are vertically integrated (main and secondary functions for both services and tourists);
  • the „chimney” effect is used for the natural ventilation of various functional areas;
  • the office and services areas in the tower have a 360° orientation, which offers the possibility to minimize the green‐house effect through the use of cross‐ventilation; - the electrical energy is produced by: a system of axial turbines located along the vertical central core; adjustable photovoltaic panels on the whole height of the tower
  • the lighting of the basement areas and of the museum spaces under the sandwich slab (structure‐plants earth‐pedestrian traffic) is done through a fiber optics dome system;
  • heating of the floating observatories are done through an electromagnetic field using the electrical power created by the new generation membrane which wraps the helium tanks and captures through photovoltaic transmission;
  • the rain water is collected from all platforms into a tank situated in the basement; there is a purification station near the rain water tank so that water can be reused for: washing; irrigation of the green areas; running water for toilets;
  • there is a geothermal power station in the basement for the warming of the areas in cold season and for hot water;

"Even though the floating observatories design was influenced by the sci‐fi computer gaming culture they are feasible and play a major role for the pathway of the tower's museum by adding a new vertical dimension. Seen from above, the city itself becomes the key exhibit for the Museum of Taichung City Development.

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

Seen from inside the museum, when they are nested, the floating observatories become themselves exhibits, fascinating proof of the present technological achievements."‐ Bogdan CHIPARA, DSBA Architect

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

"We have been previously engaged in a series of experimental collaborations with Dorin STEFAN (also our former teacher) which is why, by the time of this competition, we had already developed a versatile and challenging way of approaching the design task. This made the path from the strong initial idea to the final proposal a rather smooth flow, which is a rare thing to be able to say about an international competition's development." ‐ Claudiu BARSAN‐PIPU & Oana Maria NITUICA (upgrade.studio**)

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

project team: Dorin STEFAN architect leader(DSBA*) Mihai Bogdan CRACIUN architect, partner in project(USA) Bogdan CHIPARA, architect in charge(DSBA*) Claudiu BARSAN‐PIPU , architect(upgrade.studio**) Oana NITUICA , architect(upgrade.studio**) Anda STEFAN, Adrian ARENDT, Corina FODOR , architects(DSBA*)

Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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Floating Observatories by upgrade.studio

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  • Its happened again!

    "alright then, very funny, who stuck a condom to the top of my building?!"

  • DanB

    At first I though those pods would be an interesting nesting place for a variety of creatures. Mainly insects though, for some reason.

  • JuiceMajor

    Well, least we know they use protection. I luve the plan!!

  • Matthias

    You could also tether a bunch of zeppelins, for a fraction of the cost. Good modeling exercise, though.

  • seth

    nice imagery, gradients need to be worked out ;)

  • maxxx

    i gotta see this happening, tall buildings anyone can build but this one has floating stuff

  • http://fwallpapers.com/ johnjack7

    Beautiful design, like the plan.