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A Jenga Tower That Won’t Fall

A new building in Vienna looks like a Jenga tower, with a twist in the waist.

Illustrations by MVRDV

Architecture and design always look to expand the limits of convention. Recently, buildings have pushed the boundaries of strange and unconventional; some even seem to defy physics and safety, such as the proposed Dynamic Tower in Dubai and the 1004 foot Cayan Tower, which is the world’s tallest tower with a 90 degree twist, also in Dubai. Vienna will join of the ranks of cities with bizarre and futuristic architecture with the Turm mit Taille building, which translates literally into “tower with a waist,” according to Wired. It will be built in the Simmering district next to the famous Gasometers, four former gas tanks that are now used for residential and commercial purposes.


The design of the building was the winning design in a competition held by the development corporation BAI. MVRDV, a Rotterdam-based architecture firm, won the competition because their design best worked around a set of building regulations which mandates that buildings cannot be any higher than 75 meters (around 250 feet). Because of Gasometers, the site is considered a center of urban regeneration, and city officials want to prevent it from being overdeveloped so that the area will still have natural sunlight.

The Turm mit Taille measures in at 110 meters high, but the 10 lower floors twist in at the waist (like massive Jenga blocks); this allows sunlight in and only casts shadows for two hours a day. Due to the twist in the waist of the building, the amount of usable square footage is sharply cut down, so the remaining 20 floors are simple with 80 percent of the space “column free.” The facades will have French doors to create natural ventilation, and Design Boom reports that the ‘curving waist’ also functions to siphon off autumn winds, diverting strong gusts away from both the plaza and the metro station entrances.

The Turm mit Taille will be a mixed-use skyscraper that includes office space, housing, retail, and restaurants. Construction is slated to begin next year and be completed by the end of 2018.

Illustrations by MVRDV

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