Innovative Architecture of the HSB Turning Torso

Interested in learning about some innovative architecture?

Our guest blogger, Seth Plattner, is a recent graduate from New York University who bides his time writing, dining and doing his best to make sense of the world around him. With an appreciation for fine architecture, Seth focused on taking a closer look of the HSB Turning Torso for readers of

Here's his article:

Turning TorsoTurning TorsoSantiago Calatrava, one the world's most forward thinking and experimental architects today, has put Sweden on the architectural map. In Malmö, Calatrava designed the HSB Turning Torso, a tower comprised of business and meeting space interspersed with mostly residential apartments. Consisting of nine twisting steel cubes, the gleaming building (based on a sculpture of the same name) spirals into the air offering unparalleled views for all it's residents, whether they prefer the waterfront or the surrounding city. Motion, of course, is the chief inspiration of the Turning Torso; and one cannot help but view the structure as an almost living thing that is freely moving in the open air. Moreover, the aforementioned sculpture on which the building is based was, in fact, also designed by Calatrava. Both, art piece and structure, are influenced by the twisting human body, an image that breaths further life into the building.

Turning Torso 2Turning Torso 2Given the much needed trend of the growing concern with environmentally sound architecture, Calatrava designed the building with conservation in mind. The tower is powered by 100% locally produced renewable energy through a wind-power park and solar cells, and waste is managed through individual organic waste grinders that sends the material to a decomposition plant where it is turned into "biogas" (which is basically a refined substance derived from organic waste). These biogas can then be used instead of natural gas for things such as gas cookers, fuel for vehicles, or production of district heating.

Turning Torso 3Turning Torso 3It's hard to look at the Turning Torso and not question its construction, which was so complicated it was featured on Discovery Channel's "Extreme Engineering." Constructed of almost 40 very large "steel cigars," the curvature of the building was the most obvious challenge. The façade is made of 2,800 aluminum panels and 2,250 glass windows that each merit special fabrication in order to make the building as structurally sound as possible. In order to follow the turning of the building, each panel leans either inward (on the west side of the building) or outward (on the east side) from a range of 0 to 7 degrees. And, if window washing is your concern, don't fret. Included in the rent is a window washing service that uses a state of the art crane to keep the outside nicely polished. What a deal.

Calatrava's next project is the Fordham Spire in Chicago which is set to become the tallest structure in the world. And, if the Turning Torso is any indication, Chicago's downtown image, like Malmö, should receive a refreshing burst of revitalization that will once again showcase the astonishing talent of Santiago Calatrava.

If you find yourself still curious about the complete construction of the Turning Torso, click the link to go to the Turning Torso website where every stage of the buildings construction is detailed.

Seth Plattner
Guest Blogger