In 1999, Calatrava was invited to design a mixed-use residential tower for a prominent site in Malmö's Western Harbor area and was planned to be exhibited during the European Housing Expo 2001 (Bo01). The project was envisioned as an important part of the transformation program of Malmö's Western Harbor near the A–resund Bridge connecting to Sweden and Denmark. Given the opportunity to enhance and enlarge a public area defined by the intersection of two main roads, Calatrava conceived his project as a free-standing sculptural element posed within the cityscape.
The form of the tower is based on one of his sculpture, the Turning Torso, where he abstract the form of human movement into a stack of cubes positioned elegantly around a core. In the original sculpture, seven cubes are set around a steel support to produce a spiraling structural effect. In the HSB Turning Torso, the building's form is composed of nine box units, shaped like cubes with triangular tips. Each unit houses five floors of about 2,000 square meters (21,500 square feet) and are in fact the 'sub-buildings' of the tower. The tower's nucleus containing the internal elevators and stairs, through which the units communicate is the equivalent of the sculpture's steel support. At 190 meters (623 square feet) high, the Turning Torso is the tallest residential building in Sweden and the second tallest residential building in Europe.
At the top of the tower, visitors can see Copenhagen to the west, Falsterbo to the south, the Skane plain to the east and Helsingborg to the north. Units one and two contain 4000 square meters (43,000 square feet) of office space. Units three through nine contain 147 apartments, varying in size from 45 to 190 square meters (484 to 2042 square feet), summing to a total of 13,500 square meters (145,125 square feet) of residential space. Served by three elevators, each residential floor accommodates one to five apartments with all wet spaces (kitchen, bathroom) allocated near the nucleus. The meeting rooms are allocated at the top of unit nine, on floors 53 and 54. Each of these meeting floors has two rooms and one of the room can be divided. The main load-bearing structure is a circular reinforced concrete core, whose center corresponds exactly to the rotation center of the floors.
The core's inner diameter is consistently at 10.6 meters (34.8 feet). The thickness of the concrete is 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) at the bottom and gradually tapers to 0.4 meter (1.3 feet) at the top. The tower's elevator and the staircase are set inside the core, which is a secondary structural element. Strengthening and stiffening the core is a painted steel column exterior truss standing apart from the main body of the building like an external spine. This spine is attached to each unit by large diagonal and horizontal steel struts. These elements connect the spine to a structural wall at the top of the unit, transferring shearing forces to the concrete core.
The spine itself is stabilized by pairs of smaller struts, which connect it to each floor of the unit. Floor slabs are made of cast-in-place reinforced concrete, built into the structural core andd are elastically supported by inclined unit that has five flat slabs that are 27-centimeter-thick (10.6 inches). In addition, each unit has one cantilever conical slab with a maximum thickness of 90 centimeters (35 inches) that transfers the loads of the floor columns to the structural core. The facade is made of approximately 2,800 curved aluminum panels and 2,250 flat glass windows. There are some 300 panels in each unit. Exterior of the Turning Torso features a black granite reflecting pool and a granite entrance path. Granite is also used in some places within the building, notably in the lobby. A corridor located at first-floor connects the tower to a secondary building, which contains the parking garage and support services.
The entire building is handicapped accessible and features a highly advanced environmental design. Moreover, the engineering technique applied allows for an extraordinarily efficient method of construction. After the sub-basement was erected as a conventional concrete work, the vertical circulation nucleus and slabs were put up using a sliding framework system. The exterior steel structure was then attached, using elements that were in-shop prefabricated. Finally, cranes pulled up the in-shop, prefabricated facade. In this way, despite its highly innovative and complex design, the construction time was reduced substantially.
In August 2015 the project was awarded with the prestigious “10 Year Award” from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats (CTBUH).
This international award recognizes the Turning Tower’s value, contribution to culture and urban iconography, its social role, and its technical development ten years after its inauguration. Vincent Tse, CTBUH Technical Awards Juror said, “Iconic, astonishing and inspirational, the unusual building has had a deep influence in our industry and has added a unique feature to Malmö’s skyline (...). Since this project was announced 15 years ago, architects worldwide have been inspired.”
1999 - 2005
Lilla Varvsgatan 14
211 15 Malmö
- Best Innovative Green Building MIPIM Award
- Ten year Award from CTBUH
- fib 2006 Award for Outstanding Concrete Structures
- MIPIM Award for the Turning Torso Tower
- SBI Silver Beam Award for the Turning Torso Tower