Canton Tower

Canton Tower is a tall observation tower located in Guangzhou, which is historically known as Canton in Guangdong, China. Its present name takes the traditional name of the city, Canton instead of its Chinese name. The tower was also briefly considered as the tallest completed tower in the world in 2010. But it was then surpassed by the Tokyo Skytree in 2011. The Canton Tower is considered to be the tallest structure in China and the 4th tallest free standing structure in the world.

Canton Tower History

An international competition was held in 2004 for the design of a tower that will stand in the city of Guangzhou along with a 17.7 ha park at its base as well as a master plan for the surrounding 56.6 ha area. The winning design came from a collaboration between Information Based Architecture and Arup, besting other international architectural firms that also participated. The tower was then constructed in 2005 and was topped out by 2009. The Canton Tower, although not yet fully completed, was opened to the public on October of 2010 to coincide with the 16th Asian Games which was to be hosted by the city of Guangzhou in November that year. It was until December of 2011 that the rooftop observatory was officially opened.

Canton Tower Features

The Canton Tower was designed by Dutch architects Mark Hemel and Barbara Kuit of IBA. It features a twisting form created by two ellipses, with one starting at the foundation level and with the other at a horizontal plane located at 450 meters or 1,480 feet above. The two ellipses are rotated relative to one another. The tightening of the rotated ellipses forms the waist which can be seen somewhere halfway up the tower. The design is characterized by a lattice structure that is porous and spacious at the base that tightens and becomes denser at the waist level. The lattice opens up again further up the tower.

The structural concept of the tower features 3 elements, namely, columns, rings and braces, to create a more complex geometrical design. At the waist of the tower at 180 meters or 590 feet is an open air skywalk where visitors may be able to climb. There are also outdoor gardens set within the structure as well as at the top at around 450 meters or 1,480 feet, which houses the large open-air observation deck. Stationed at 488 meters or 1,601 feet above ground, this public outdoor observatory is considered as the largest and the highest outdoor observatory in the world. The interiors also houses other facilities such as restaurants, computer gaming areas, coffee shops, exhibition spaces, conference rooms and 4D cinemas. The Canton Tower also features some attractive architectural lighting at night that is based on LED technology.

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