A Morphology of Tower Research

In 2004, we embarked on the design of Aqua Tower, our first tower commission and the origin of our ongoing tall building research.

Many of the conceptual trajectories developed for Aqua have been further refined in subsequent tower designs (some commissioned; others studied as independent ideas), often spawning entirely new directions of their own. Together, these conceptual trajectories can be seen as a morphological investigation of the tall building typology, resulting in different formal outcomes.

Conceptual Trajectories for Tall Buildings

Exploring the idea of outdoor living and its potential social dimensions

Mass Customization
Bringing flexibility to both the interior and exterior by designing mechanisms that allow inhabitants to customize their environments

Incremental Stepping
Changing the orientation of a structure in small steps, thereby accommodating structure and possibly outdoor space

Mass Customization: an alternative concept for Aqua Tower allowed residents to tailor the facade of their individual unit.
Solar Carving: The angles of the sun shape the facade of the Solstice on the Park.

Solar Carving
Shaping the angles of the building or its facade depending on climate, to minimize or maximize solar benefit

Wind Shaping
Increasing comfort in outdoor spaces around towers, through formal responses including reducing wind on balconies or increasing natural ventilation

Smooth Morphing: Twisting flat wall columns produces a gradient of daylight and views.

Smooth Morphing
Transitioning the size and shape of the floor plate or column structures from floor to floor, to achieve a variety of views over the height of the structure

Wall Columns
Making use of flat exterior wall panels rather than stick columns, in order to open corners in the floor plan and increase solid insulated zone

Occasionally spanning over features on the ground plane, including buildings, roads, or important axes that must remain clear

Employing perforated or solid structures on a variety of scales to achieve stability, aid in bridging, and create spatial interest

Achieving variety and difference within normally repetitious aspects by designing methods that disrupt a pattern

Various iterations of Studio Gang tower designs employing these conceptual trajectories