Ten years with Calatrava

Each year the entity CTBUH rewards to the best skyscraper in the world, and which it carries a decade proving its usefulness.

Hi, I burn in wishes to arrive to the month of November, in particular, hope fervently to arrive to the day 12, do you know why? If you have thought in the 70th anniversary of the Nobel Prize of medicine Alexander Fleming, you have not success, and it is not that I do not respect or revere properly to the father of the penicillin, without which we would live in a world very different (and worse), that day I will enjoy something more inspiring and enjoyable: has come into my hands the invitation to the ceremony for the 14th awards of the CTBUH (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat).

I love this ceremony for several reasons, first because it is a place where engage in high-level business, and, in the best of the cases, also are made great friendships, we must not lose sight that the meeting is organized by (nothing more and nothing less than) the Illinois Institute of technology. The second because the meeting with Mies Van der Rohe and his best work is always amazing: The Crown Hall, headquarters of the school of architecture of the Institute and headquarters, also, of the awards ceremony. The third (and no less important) because you receive a commemorative book of the event. The fourth (and last) because among the nominees each year, at the end of the event, will be selected the best tall building in the world (wow).

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OneWorldTrade Center in New York and CapitaGreen in Singapore.

The four skyscrapers that «disputed» the desired award are: the One World Trade Center in New York (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), the Singapore CapitaGreen (Toyo Ito & Associates), the BoscoVerticale di Milano (Boeri Studio) and the Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Abu Dhabi (Foster + Partners), I warn you that I, Rodolfo, would be unable (damn word) to choose between «the fantastic four» (so I call them in honour of Marvel).

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Bosco Verticale in Milan (Boeri Studio) and Burj BinRashid Mohammed in Abu Dhabi.

But before of the desired announcement there will be lectures, symposia and presentations throughout the day, they will honour to the finalists in the contest (evolution in Moscow and the Tower Al Hilal Bank in Abu Dhabi), a special mention to Minoru Mori (deceased in 2012) for his contribution to the architecture of Tokyo, a medal to the career of Nicholas Billotti , President of Turner international, a prize for innovation for the enterprise Holedeck and a event very special for me: the prize at age ten.

The «10 Year Award» is a very special award, recognizes the trajectory of a skyscraper for at least one decade, are the buildings that have marked the way forward for the new construction, after its inauguration have been operating, and therefore its effectiveness is proven. The winners in previous editions include the illustrious highlight Towers in Munich, the Agbar Tower in Barcelona (becoming luxury hotel), or the iconic Taipei 101 in Taiwan. And for this year the nominee is (drum roll) the Turning Torso in Malmö, perpetrated by the most outstanding architect of the world (for me, clear) Santiago Calatrava and whose construction was completed in the year 2005.

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The Turning Torso in Malmö, Santiago Calatrava. Click on the image for more information

The Turning Torso is the tallest building in Sweden and the number 48 on the list of skyscrapers in Europe, with its 190 meters also boasts with another very special title: is the first building constructed with torsion (an element undergoes counter forces to different heights causing to the element a «twist» and that were in tension), and has served as an example for the rest of constructions that have imitated it. The idea was born of a sculpture of the own Calatrava called «Turning Torso» that the promoter of the building loved (an officer of the Swedish company HSB) and he wanted to build one building with this form, in fact, the idea was to occupy a place as a symbol of the resurgence of the city, Malmö, of course, this occurred.

As if it were a human torso, the complex gives a turn of 90 degrees on its axis. To do so is broken down into nine sections with pentagonal shaped and six storey of height each (five of floorspace). The first two sections have an area of 4,500 square meters solely destined for offices, and the rest of sections (from the third to the ninth) were used as dwellings, with 16,500 meters of floorspace and 147 apartments of different sizes (between 45 and 190 square meters). It has five company Kone elevators, of which three are unique for the dwellings. The spectacular form of the building is a symbol of the city, and has become in part of the memories that visitors take in their retinas (and cameras).

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The Turning Torso in Malmö, Santiago Calatrava. Click on the image for more information

But the form of the building not only has won the prize of the CTBUH non-profit entity, has also influenced (decisively) the sustainable measures applied to the building. This construction consumes 100 percent of its energy through renewable sources (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) with gauges of easy to read (this idea could have been mine, you know) so that the users are aware of the consumption that perform and therefore may regulate more easily. If this were not enough, the construction has a team of biogas which transforms the organic waste in energy, thus, the tenants only have to deposit their waste in containers that are connected by pipes to this team.

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The Turning Torso in Malmö, Santiago Calatrava. Click on the image for more information

The load transmission to the circular foundation of 30 meters of diameter and seven of height, is performed by a central core of reinforced concrete, this has circular shaped and is located in the centre of rotation of the plants. This element has a diameter of 10.6 meters and inside guard the stairs and elevators, as well as the channelling of the facilities, which (logically) this forces to practice openings in the central core of concrete, its thickness varies from 2.5 meters at the base to 0.4 meters at the peak (alters its thickness at the same time changing the stresses to which it is subjected).Helping to maintain the balance, and parallel to a pillar of concrete of 1.5 x 1.5 metres, an outer exoskeleton of steel (900 mm of diameter) is connected to the central axis and the sides of the building through of horizontal and transverse tensors (between 300 and 750 mm of diameter). The different floors of reinforced concrete have 27 centimetres of thick, each section has a projecting conical shaped 90 centimetres of thickness on the inside and 40 on the outside, responsible to transfer the voltage to the main structure.

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The Turning Torso in Malmö, Santiago Calatrava. Click on the image for more information

Deserves a special mention the facade executed by the Folcra company, consist of 2,800 panels of aluminium with curved shape and 2,250 windows of flat glass, in total about 20,000 square meters of surface of which about 5,000 are glass and covering the 55 plants. The access to the building across a footbridge over a pool whose bottom is a black granite, this makes a perfect «mirror effect», the same granite is also used as decoration in several interior parts of the complex. Probably, if eight years ago, when I first visited this singular building, someone would had told me that they were going to give the «10 Year Award» I would have answered him: «Have you doubts?” Bye bye.

Disclosure: The characters that appear in this article, their different personalities and their relationships with each other and with the environment are part of a fiction. The author is not responsible for the views expressed in the article and has no business relationship with any of the companies listed on it.

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