Phoenix Towers plans revealed as world’s tallest, pinkest and greenest skyscrapers to be built in China – but inspired by London
British architects say £1.2bn project will tower over Dubai's Burj Khalifa by more than 150m
Imagined with bright pink and green lights, standing more than 150m taller than the Burj Khalifa and emerging from an island in a lake in central China, these plans for Wuhan’s Phoenix Towers seem a world away from grey old London.
Yet the ambitious design revealed this week has been put forward by the British architectural firm Chetwoods, and owes much of its inspiration to an award-winning project for a new, greener London Bridge.
The firm was commissioned by China’s Hua Yan Group to come up with an “iconic” attraction for the 47-hectare site in the capital of central China, known as The City of a Thousand Lakes.
And while Wuhan hardly ranks alongside places like Beijing or Shanghai on the radar for many a western tourist, that could all be about to change.
Though the Phoenix Towers plans are still pending the approval of the Wuhan mayor’s office, if given the green light the firm hopes to break ground on the island by the end of the year.
With a budget of £1.2 billion and an estimated build time of three years, chairman Laurie Chetwood said the towers could be a new, finished international landmark by 2017/2018.
He told the Guardian: “This is a big iconic statement that says 'this is Wuhan, look at us, we're here’. But it's an environmental statement as well. It would help to improve the area.”
Standing at a height of 1,000 metres (3,280 feet), the Phoenix Towers will incorporate features from the 2009 London Bridge project including advanced filtration systems to recycle clean water from the lake below and lightweight photo-voltaic cladding to produce solar power.
The architect says the taller, main tower will accommodate the world’s tallest kaleidoscope, turned by a wind turbine installed at a high level and creating a colourful light display when viewed from the base of the tower below.
There will also be a series of three large spheres “suspended” between the towers, giving it an out-of-this-world appeal. Inside these there will be restaurant spaces with celestial themes, and they will be reachable by “skywalks” from inside the towers themselves.
Chetwoods said their design brief was for towers which involved a new style of architecture emphasising Chinese identity.
Shard and Kings Cross win at 2014 architecture awards
London reaches Pinnacle as ‘impossible’ skyscraper gets green light
“The use of a pair of towers reflects the dualist elements of Chinese culture in contrast to a more western monolithic form,” Chetwoods said.
“Based on the traditional Chinese Phoenix symbol of two birds, male Feng and [female] Huang, the plan was generated from the Yin/Yang form to represent perfectly balanced union.
“The Feng tower uses cutting-edge technology to ‘feed’ the Huang tower with renewable power in a symbiotic process.”
The surrounding ground-based commercial districts will be split up into the cultures of the world, at the investors’ request, including “a French street, a Japanese street, a Turkish street and so forth”. Mr Chetwood said it would allow people “to see the world without necessarily having to leave China”.
His firm is working with two Chinese companies on the Phoenix Towers project – Beijing-based Hua Yan and the CITIC Group, a state-owned investment company.
A spokesperson for Hua Yan said: “We aim to pioneer our new vision via a programme of cultural and creative dialogue and collaboration embracing a new era and new eclectic style that will make the best of China even better.”
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Star Wars: New action dolls launched on Force Friday ahead of The Force Awakens release
Ricki And The Flash, film review: Meryl Streep's rock'n'roll creation steals the show
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Refugees welcome: More than 250,000 sign Independent petition calling for Britain to 'take its fair share'