Scraper in the sky with diamonds / WIRED Magazine

Scraper in the sky with diamonds / WIRED Magazine

The world’s 25th-largest steel producer takes up residency in an all-metal HQ with a twist

WIRED Magazine, UK, March 2014 issue

The eight-storey-tall steel beams that frame the new 135-meter-high headquarters of the China Steel Corporation in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, aren’t ornamental: they’re protection against the earthquakes common to the region. “We created this steel megastructure of exterior bracing as the best way to defend against seismic factors,” explains Kris Yao, founder and head architect of Artech, the firm that designed the skyscraper. “It’s almost like when you’re skiing - you take two poles with you and spread them out, so that your base or footing is wider. If you put the strongest element – the bracing – outside the building, then you get a more stable construction.”

A defensive building doesn’t have to be a dull one, though. “We wanted to make it a little more interesting,” says Yao. “Every eighth floor, we twist and turn the floor plan by 12.5 degrees.” This turns the surfaces into a corkscrewing diamond. “It makes the geometry very complicated: it becomes a 2D thing instead of a 3D thing.” Which meant Yao’s client had to put its own product to the test: China Steel calculated the loads on every steel joint at its nearby factory and created one-to-one mock-ups for testing. The unusual layout had another benefit, according to Yao: ”You get three times as many corner offices.”

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