Challenging Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower for height supremacy, a pair of one-kilometre super-tall towers have been proposed for China.
Known as the Phoenix towers, the super-tall buildings were designed by UK-based Chetwood Architects, working in conjunction with the Hua Yan Group. They are scheduled to be completed a year before Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture’s Kingdom Tower, provided construction on the Chinese duo goes ahead.
They are also part of a larger masterplan for the city of Wuhan, which has been recognised as an environmental supercity by the regional and central government.
The Phoenix Towers would rise one kilometre at Yangtze River at the crossroads of nine provinces. They are designed to span seven hectares as part of a 47-hectare project.
The towers will demonstrate the ability of purposeful architecture to operate as a renewable energy source while reflecting the country’s culture.
China has a long-standing history of building structures that reflect the country's culture.
“For the western world, beauty needs to include a huge percentage of innovation… while Chinese confuscius principles see perfection as the infinitive repletion of an original model so in this case they were afraid to do something new,” said Joseph di Pasquale, the architect behind China’s circular skyscraper, Guanzhou Circle.
With Phoenix, Chetwood has ambitiously demonstrated architecture that challenges height limits and serves the environment while incorporating a touch of tradition.
The two towers will be known individually as the Feng (male) and Huang (female) towers - a design inspired by the Fenghuang, a mythological bird in Chinese culture. Chetwood has also described the spire-like aesthetic of the Phoneix towers as echoing Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower. They will take on pink hue which reflect fuchsias, the favourite flowers of Chetwood CEO Laurie Chetwood.
Feng will provide power to both itself and Huang, with both towers delivering additional energy to the surrounding precinct.
The towers will feature a lightweight photovoltaic cladding of the steel and lattice superstructure, thermal chimneys and wind turbines. They will also include a water harvesting/recycling system along with waste recycling via biomass boilers.
“The scheme will provide the environmental catalyst to re-invigorate the city, actively avoiding the disastrous consequences of developments elsewhere in China,” Chetwood's website reads. “It will form the nucleus of a wider green strategy linking Wuhan’s lakes environmentally and socially with the region’s landmark destinations and lake district along a 20km Green Wall of China to a new lakeside cultural tourist destination.”
Both buildings will be surrounded by public gardens and the the towers themselves will feature suspended air gardens.
Feng will house 100 stories of offices, residencies and retail, while Huang will be devoted to growing the world’s tallest vertical garden.
While the towers' environmental credentials are impressive, it's their height that truly sets them apart. If approved, construction of the towers is scheduled for completion in 2018, making them the tallest pair of skyscrapers in the world.
Their height will also see them more than double the grandeur of China’s current tallest tower, the 492-metre Shanghai World Financial Centre, which has been the country’s tallest since 2007.
That building will soon be outdone in the height department by the the Shanghai Tower, which recently topped out and will stand 632 metres tall and Sky City, a controversial 838-metre prefabricated skyscraper that was originally supposed to rise within months and is now scheduled for completion next year.