In 2004 when Guanos won the rights to host the upcoming Asian Games, the city took on a challenge of a city wide makeover, and the cost important area of the makeover is Pearl River New Town which is the new CAB of the city. A series of iconic structures were to be constructed before the Asian Games in 2010, and the core of this makeover is a 21st century TV Tower nicknamed the Supermodel. Figure 2. 13 finalists In 2003 when Pearl River New Town was announced as the new CAB, a central axis was to be built starting in Hamlin Park, across the previous landmark City Plaza, through Titian Stadium and Pearl River New Town and end in Canton Tower. The tower locates across the river of Pearl River New Town looking Into the new CAB of Guanos. It Is a multi-functional mega structure reaching a height of 600 meters with functions such as transmission, sightseeing, and entertainment.
The tower broadcasted the Asian Games worldwide in 2010 demonstrated to the world of Guanos growth to become an international city. As professor Fen Yuan stated, “The Canton Tower is not simply a new landmark, it is a symbol of Guanos becoming International. ” The worldwide competition for Gunshot’s new icon was launched In May 2004 and attracted big names such as KEF, SABA, AS, and etc. The competition did not specify how tall the tower should be and what programs to include, but it should be an artistic icon that a city needs for the 21st century. In the end, 13 finalists were presented to the public.
Scheme 13 was the publics favorite, its design is inspired by Kapok flower, the flower which symbolizes Guanos, and more than 58% of the people voted for it due to its strong identity of Guanos. Opposing voices claimed that the Kapok flower and the design Is too traditional, and as Gunshot’s new landmark It lacks the contemporary sense and Is too conservative. People’s second choice was scheme 1, a mega structure reaching 1000 teeters which would be the tallest structure in the world, but some people think that the landmark should not simply be a pursuit for height, because there would be taller towers built in the future.
The final three selected by the government were none of the people’s choices, and they were scheme 3, 4, and 1 1 . The winning design would have to make a powerful statement to the world and Bib’s scheme 4 crowned Dutch couple Mark Hummel and Barbara Suit in 1998. The firm only had 10 employees when competing for the Canton Tower and never had any overseas working experiences. Therefore, they had to rely on bigger companies as consultants to complete the Job. “If you are not big, then you have to be clever. So we immediately asked for help as much as we could,” stated by Barbara.
They Joined forces with ARP, a global firm of consulting engineers and designers. Together they have resolved the construction difficulties and turned their dreams into reality. It is unusual such an important project in China was given to such a small firm like BIB. Because China is still at a developing stage, the country could not risk on giving the project to a small firm which had no experience in such fields. Therefore, big names are usually chosen to ensure the quality of the design. However, BIB was an exception.
The strategic plan of BIB teaming with ARP has increased its winning possibilities greatly. The English firm ARP has been the consultant company for almost all the international projects in China such as the CATV Tower, Bird’s Nest, Water Cube, and many others. It is not an exaggeration to say they have monopolized the Chinese market on international architectural projects. Therefore, the team of BIB and ARP winning the competition is not actually that surprising, and to some extent, t is reasonable to say why would ARP not win the competition. Figure 3. Selection of projects by ARP Figure 4. 0 The Canton Tower The design of Canton Tower is like no other. Tracing back to history starting from the Eiffel Tower in France, to the Toronto Tower in Canada and the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai China, their building forms are always straight, usually a giant concrete core with a sphere on the top. All the skyscrapers in history are trying to demonstrate its masculine side, therefore resulting with a repetitive plan on every floor. ‘Bass sign is opposing the traditional, creating a feminine structure with the idea of “Gunshot’s new atmosphere”. Bass proposal is a simple but complex form which would have a strong sense of the new era and challenge the modern construction techniques. It has a concrete core that rises to 450 meters and it is enclosed by a giant steel lattice formed by 24 steel columns and 46 rings. The tower twists 135 degrees counter-clockwise in mid-way to form a waist then widens in an oval shape at the top. The antenna rises an extra 150 meters taking the tower to 600 meters. It as a total area of 114000m2 and took more than 2 billion RIM for construction.
Despite the uniqueness of the design, the architecture is lacking a sense of origin, therefore the cultural advisor of BIB suggested to write a story to enhance its Cantonese identity, and as the cultural advisor Patty Lie mentioned, “l suggested to Mark that I would write his beautiful architecture into a legend about a beautiful lady standing alongside the river looking proudly and hopefully into the Pearl River and look far beyond the future of Guanos. ” Therefore, the tower’s Cantonese identity Figure 5. Concept development Figure 6. Computer animation by ARP The construction of the waist is the biggest challenge. The thinner the waist, the weaker the building would become, therefore every meter the designers narrow the waist would add 2000 to 4000 tons of steel re-enforcing. By a series of tests and computer simulations, the design was reduced from 36 to 24 columns and has a waist of 30 meters which would give the Supermodel a perfect dimension. Because of the twist in the middle of the tower, every floor has different dimensions, so every floor beam and every floor plate had to be custom made.
But in order to convince the Guanos construction company, ARP built a computer animation to prove this unique design can actually be built. Figure 7. 0 section of Canton Tower The tower was completed in September 2009 and many activities were added in the tower making transmission its secondary function. The tower has the world’s highest Ferris wheel on the top of the tower at a height of 450 meters. But the jaywalk would be the most exciting activity of the tower. It is an outdoor spiral stair case that goes from 169 meters to 334 meters allowing visitors to climb through the narrow waist of he building.
It consist a total of 1088 transparent steps and a total length of 1000 meters, and as Barbara stated, “We didn’t want the tower to be something you would see in 5 minutes and go to the top and couldn’t remember how you actually got there. So we want the people to take the time and see lots of aspects of it. ” Therefore, the Journey up to the tower is designed to be an experience in itself. Naming the tower was also an important task. (Guanos Tower) was chosen in the end as its official name which received countless criticisms.
Over 62% of the people thought the name is boring and has no creativity, and only 28% thought the name was acceptable. The official response from the government was that the name is safe, and as a public building, it is not appropriate to choose the best or the most creative name, it should be a name which has the least mistakes and disputes. And more than 70% of the TV towers around the world are named after their city, therefore the name Guanos Tower is the most objective and cause the least arguments. Choosing the English name was Just as important as its Chinese. Canton
Tower was picked because it would better describe the Guanos culture, and it is easier for foreigners to understand and accept in order to promote the city of Guanos. Surveys were given to the public during the selection process for the tower’s design and name. Although the people voted for their favorites, the finalists were never the publics choices. The survey was supposed to act as a suggestion but it seems the government did not pay close attentions to the public voices, and it is not harsh to the public opinions were ignored, the final outcome of the design is outstanding.
History has proven that a good architecture might receive countless criticisms at the beginning, but as time progresses, it would become the honor of the people and the city such as the Eiffel Tower in France. And as a landmark, Canton Tower should not be a literal translation on the Cantonese culture such as scheme 13 where it is a form off Kapok flower, or blindly pursuing for height in scheme 1 especially when the client asked for an architecture which would demonstrate the 21st century Guanos. Bass design is not only a representation of the modern techniques in sign and construction, it also has a poetic sense which reflects the personality of the city. As Professor Fen Yuan stated, “Unlike Beijing and Shanghai, Guanos was never a masculine city in its historical sense, and it is often ruled by others but at the same time independent, so a feminine tower would best describe the personality of the city. ” On the contrary, the official name of the tower is unable to convince the people. The government picked the most conservative name for such a contemporary architecture.
The name does not suggest any of the tower’s visual qualities or its feminine values. Therefore, many Cantonese consider this project as “A-if E” (tiger’s head, snacks tail), which means it starts big, and ends small, and the Canton Tower deserves a much more poetic name to match its unique design. As one of the pioneers of China, Guanos is facing a transition and breakthrough in all aspects. The Asian Games in 2010 stimulated the developing process, and batch after batch of constructions were built.