Eye-catching Sun Tower will mark the changing seasons
Construction is currently underway on an interesting new observation tower by OPEN Architecture. Named the Sun Tower, the building will include viewing points, a library, and an overall form that will function a little like an oversized sundial. It will be used to mark the equinox in the spring and fall.
The Sun Tower is being created in collaboration with French firm Ducks Scéno and engineering giant Arup, and will rise to a modest height of 50 m (164 ft). It will be located in the Chinese coastal city of Yantai, and its design is actually partly inspired by local history. During China's Ming dynasty, which lasted from 1368 to 1644 CE, the area hosted a series of watchtowers (Yantai literally means "Beacon Tower") to warn of possible attack from the coastline.
The tower's lower floors will host a semi-outdoor theater, further up will be an exhibition space, and a library in the upper area of the tower will offer amazing views. It will also have a semi-outdoor viewing point at the top. This area will feature an oculus in the center of the ceiling, allowing rainwater to fill a small pool in the summer. In the winter, the pool will be kept dry and used as a fireplace instead.
The concave form of the building will amplify sounds from the sea, says OPEN. Additionally, its shape has been created following careful studies of the sunlight during the times of the equinox in both the spring and fall. The main body of the tower will work with a plaza surrounding the building to track each equinox, a little like the Shanghai Astronomy Museum, by Ennead Architects.
"At the base of the tower will lie a newly created plaza with a shallow pool and misting devices and spouting fountains," explained OPEN. "A water channel will cut across the plaza – a ruler of time – this is the straight line that the shadow of the Sun Tower will follow on the day of the equinox. A series of elliptical rings are set in the pavement pattern; the intersections between the rings and the water channel mark the building shadow's footprint at specific hours on the equinox day. At one of the outer rings, a series of fountains were designed to celebrate the 24 Solar Terms of the Traditional Chinese Calendar; on normal days they are synced with high and low tides."
Work is now well underway on the Sun Tower. It's expected to be open to the public in 2024.