Canadian Consulting Engineer

Twisted towers on the rise

April 3, 2006
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The new Canadian skyline silhouette of the early 21st century seems to be emerging as a "twisted" and asymmetrical ...

The new Canadian skyline silhouette of the early 21st century seems to be emerging as a “twisted” and asymmetrical shaft of some kind — designs that will present an interesting exercise for structural engineers.
In Mississauga, the sprawling suburb west of Toronto a 50-storey organically shaped tower nicknamed “Marilyn Munro” is in the works, while twin proposed “Twisted Sister” towers are causing controversy in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The new condominium tower in Mississauga is approved for a prominent site at the corner of Hurontario Street and Burnamthorpe Road, near to Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre and Mississauga City Hall, a Post-Modern architectural icon of the 1980s.
Officially named the “Absolute,” the new sculptural condominium tower design won an international design competition that drew 92 submissions from over 70 countries. The winning architect is Yansong Ma of the firm MAD of Beijing, China. The developers are a private consortium of Cityzen Development Group and Fernbrook Homes. So far no consulting engineers have been named.
In the Toronto Star newspaper, architecture critic Christopher Hume characterized the Mississauga tower’s profile in this way: “Absolute represents a distinctly 21st-century sensibility, a kind of neo-expressionistic esthetic that blurs the distinction between art and architecture. This is a highly sculptural work that balances the demands of form and function in a strictly contemporary fashion.”
In Halifax, United Gulf Developments wants to build the Twisted Sisters towers as a 27-storey hotel, condominium and office development on the former Tex-Park site on Granville Street. the Halifax regional council approved the project late in March but the Heritage Trust is appealing the decision to the provincial utility and review board. They object that the towers will block views from Citadel Hill and are not compatible with adjoining historic buildings. The developers say the towers will become a landmark and an icon, but the heritage advocates retort that they don’t want an icon that competes with the Citadel. The architects are Hariri Pontarini of Toronto.


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