Turning Torso


The design of our tower was driven by several criteria: || maximization of material usage
|| repetition of a single member
|| achieving of several possible configurations

As a result of a successful implementation of the first and the second criteria, we were able to make use of 97% of the available material, consequently reaching the height of nearly 5 meters in the virtual model simulation. Nevertheless, the height of the virtual model was modeled in the “perfect world” conditions, thus not reflecting such important physical criteria as material stress capabilities and the vertical load distribution in a structure of this type. Having assembled several sections of the tower into their envisioned arrangement, we confirmed that such material as wood fails in direct correlation with the grain its cut along and the amount of stress it experiences in the thinnest joinery areas. We realized that in order to reduce the stress||strain loads in our tower we need to drastically reduce the total height of the structure and hence tackle the third design criteria, multiple configurations using a repetitive single element.

top perspective


The base unit of the structure is a slightly curved uniform strip of wood that interlocks with two more identical elements to form a stiff, yet elegant triangle. Further mirrored upwards the newly formed two triangles visually mimic an “expanded metal” element, and are connected via cross-joints in the center and longitudinal joint at the vertices of the triangle. Once unified into one and rotated 30 degrees the units begin locking into each other, thus reinforcing the overall structure of the tower. Lastly, to break the uniform look of the structure we introduced the “turning torso” movement, physically rotating one third of the overall tower height by 15 degrees at each joint.


95 % use of material

top view

Top View


Assembling pieces to form a triangle || 2 triangle form one unit || 2 units joined by cross joints

Comparison to human size

Scale Comparison


This entry was posted in Ashwini Mani, Kateryna Rogynska, Pongtida Santayanon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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