The Tallest Building In Scandinavia With A Twist: Turning Torso

Turning Torso is a 190 meter tall residential skyscraper located in Malmo, Sweden and is the tallest building in all of Scandinavia. The tower also holds the distinction of being considered the first twisting skyscraper, with a total rotation of 90 degrees from bottom to top, when it opened in 2005.

Inspired by a white marble sculpture created by Spanish architect, engineer, and artist, Santiago Calatrava, the tower embodies Malmö’s revival and Sweden’s determination to lead the world in expressive, sustainable design typologies. The developer HSB was impressed when its director saw the sculpture in an exhibit and subsequently reached out to Calatrava to design a residential building in the sam manner. Intentionally provocative and contextually definitive, the Turning Torso has become a landmark of the city’s redeveloped Western Harbour.

The tower is divided into nine segments of five story pentagons and the topmost segment has an angle of ninety degrees clockwise if you compare it with the ground floor. All of the floors have a strange pentagonal shape and rotate around the vertical core – and this core is supported by the exterior framework made of steel. The first segments serve as office space for the building. The next segments: three to nine offer 147 luxury apartments.

The framework consists of the core, shaped like a concrete pipe. Inside the core a concrete construction houses lift shafts and staircases. An exoskeleton around the Turning Torso’s front face is made of tapered white steel tubes. Following the concrete perimeter column, the exoskeleton’s single upright is fixed to the tower between each module with horizontal and inclined tubes. These tubes reach back to steel anchors embedded in shear walls at the building’s back corners. While the spine column takes perimeter vertical loads, the exoskeleton around it provides wind resistance and dampens the building’s vibrations. The structural slabs, shaped like slices of a pie that fitted together to form an entire floor, are anchored in the core. Each floor is rotated by 1.6°  to create the characteristic twist of the building. The facade is curved aluminum panels, with windows leaning either inwards or outwards, in order to follow the twist of the building.

Turning Torso has had a large impact on tall building design as many more twisting skyscrapers have been designed and built since then, the CTBUH awarded it its Ten Year Award for continued valued to the surrounding area and successful performance across a number of categories, including environmental, engineering performance, vertical transport, iconography, and others.

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