The continuing battle for skyscraper supremacy has reached new heights with the completion of Shangai Tower in China. At 632m (2073 ft), it is the second tallest building in the world, just short of the 830m (2723 ft) tall Burj Khalifa (CBC News)
Designers in South Korea however have taken a different approach: instead of focusing on the height of the structure, why not showcase the technological capabilities of the nation. The result is the world’s first ‘invisible’ skyscraper.
Tower Infinity will be constructed in Seoul, South Korea to a height of 450m (1476 ft), making it one of the tallest buildings in the world and the sixth highest tower. The construction was recently approved by the government, but a date has not yet been set for this ambitious project (CNN). The design of the tower was completed by GDS architects, and will feature the third tallest observation deck in the world, a theatre, a roller coaster, various restaurants, and a water park (Inhabitat).
Located near the Incheon International Airport, Tower Infinity is set to become the new face of Seoul. According to GDS architects, “Instead of symbolizing prominence as another of the world’s ‘tallest and best’ towers, it sets itself apart by celebrating the global community rather than focusing on itself. The tower subtly demonstrates Korea’s rising position in the world by establishing its most powerful presence through diminishing its presence.” (GDS)
The structure itself will consist of a series of blending shapes ranging from diamonds to triangles (Good Times). However, what sets the proposed tower apart is the ‘smart’ facade which will render the building invisible to pedestrians at ground level.
How the Magic Works
Cameras will be installed at three different heights and on six different sides of the tower. These cameras will record the building’s surroundings in real-time. These recordings will then be streamed to the 500 rows of LED screens built into the facade of the tower, each edited to seamlessly connect with one another.
By projecting real-time images from the back of the building onto the front, it will create the illusion that the building is in fact, invisible. In addition, the level of transparency can be varied, depending on the desired effect (CNN).
However, this concept could be used for a number of different applications. For one, the TV screens could be used as billboards, creating the worlds tallest advertisement. In addition, the screens could be used to broadcast real-time world events. The possibilities seem endless.
Similar Projects Around the World
The concept of an invisible skyscraper may seem to be novel, but similar projects have been attempted around the world. In Sweden, the Mirrorcube hotel uses a mirrored facade to render itself invisible to all those walking through the forest setting.
The hotel room measures 4 meters in each direction. The room includes a large bed, bathroom, lounge, and rooftop terrace. The mirrored facade allows the structure to co-exist seamlessly with the surrounding environment: an effect that the Tower Infinity is looking to replicate. In addition, a special mesh that is only visible to birds has been installed to protect the wildlife in the area (Telegraph).
The Next Big Project
Countries all across the globe are currently vying for infrastructure supremacy. This has lead to investments of billions of dollars in developing higher, more technologically advanced structures. This trend will increase exponentially as the global economy emerges from the current recession. As a result, the next decade could produce truly spectacular structures.
For more photos of the Infinity Tower, see the Structural Digest Gallery.