Dublin Landmark Tower

The evolutionary process of the Emergence and Design Groups’ competition proposal for the Dublin Landmark Tower began with the ‘seed’ or primary input of a simple tubular element. This was swept along a helix to the bounding limits of the mathematical ‘environment’, which was defined by the planning constraints and site dimensions of a competition site for a tall building. The subsequent proliferation resulted in a sequence of individual helix organizations with multiple strands generated and further evolved within the given design space. Forces were applied to the global geometry, producing a population of variant forms, and from these a single form with the base and top flared and the waist slightly narrowed was selected. The development continued, by relaxing the geometrical rule of parallel construction planes for the inner and outer layer of helices. This resulted in more complex geometrical relations between the planes of the outer and inner helix structures, which evolved in curved planes with non-uniform distances between them.

The building envelope was developed from a digital study and finite element analysis of the tessellated surface geometry of a custard apple. The panels all have the same form but size is varied, and tessellation results in a surprisingly low number of variations required for the complex double curvatures. The building envelope is considered as an integral system of structure and environmental regulator-panels that are adaptive in geometry and performance. The differentiation of the geometry of the panels follows a similar logic to the differentiation of the helices – all have the same form and geometric logic but the size is varied through a limited number of parametric changes. These few parametric changes allow the form of the panel to adapt to changing curvature and varying density of the helical structure through a simple algorithm.

The skin is activated by a micro-pneumatic structure. It achieves its kinetic capacities through differential pressure in a capillary system of pneumatic actuator cells that are distributed between the inner, center and outer membranes. Differential pressure in capillary layers triggers the change from convex to concave geometry by the differential expansion and contraction of layers.

Emergence and Design Group

Project Coordination: Michael Hensel, Achim Menges, Michael Weinstock
Project Team: Hani Fallaha, Alessandro Isola, Jason Lai, Dimitrios Tsigos