Canton Tower is a 604-meter (1,982 ft) tall multipurpose observation and communication tower in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou, the anglicized name of the city is Canton. At its opening in 2010 it was the tallest tower in the world and held that title until the completion of Tokyo Skytree. Today it is the 2nd tallest tower in the world and 4th tallest freestanding structure.
The idea of the tower is simple. The form, volume and structure is generated by two ellipses, one at foundation level and the other at a horizontal plane at 450 metres. These two ellipses are rotated relative to another. The tightening caused by the rotation between the two ellipses forms a ‘waist’ and a densification of material. The architects of the tower, Information Based Architecture, emphasized a desire to construct a tower with a feminine form and character and the ‘waist’ eludes to that idea.
The structure of the tower is an achievement in itself, as it makes great use of parametric design technology in both design and construction. The Canton Tower’s structure consists of two tubes, one inside the other. The inner tube is represented in the elliptical reinforced concrete core. The core contains the lifts, fire emergency elevators, stairs, and the shafts. It consists of 37 reinforced concrete floors varying in design, area, height, and functions. Whereas the outer tube is defined with the lattice grid that consists of columns, diagonals, rings, and nodes. They also differ in their horizontal sections, shapes, and designs, which gave the tower its feminine distinguished form. Impressively all the nodes that make up the structural lattice are unique, which allows the final shape to twist in the manner that it does.
The tower rises 600 meters with 454-meters height allocated for 37 storeys and 146 meters for the antenna. The building has a multifunctional program, which includes exhibition spaces, a conference centre, a cinema, several restaurants, cafes and observation decks. The tower is part of an urban complex that also has a 17.9 ha park and a 56.6 ha master plan that includes an elevated plaza, pagoda park, retail facilities, offices, television center and a hotel. This complex serves a center for a variety of urban activities and a point of reference for the whole city.