Turning Torso, Malmö

Dan Hill
Article By: Dan Hill
a year ago
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Culture-Tower Settlement-Neighbourhood

Scandinavia is famous for its design - but perhaps less so for its skyscrapers - of which there are very few. The Spanish architect, sculptor and civil engineer Santiago Calatrava - who had earlier contributed to the architecture competition for the Öresund Bridge (joining Denmark and Sweden) - was commissioned to change that. It was a former managing director of HSB Malmö (the Savings and Construction Association of the Tenants) - Johnny Örbäck - who had the vision to propose the project - after seeing Calatrava's sculpture "Twisting Torso" in a brochure. The original white marble sculpture depicts the twisting form of a person - and its translation to a neo-futurist building - opened on 1st November, 2005 - is remarkable. Standing by the 190 meter building - which is situated along the sea front overlooking the Öresund Strait - one can count the 9 distinct segments that twist around to give the building its unique shape. At its core lies a 10.6 metre wide concrete pipe which houses the elevator and stairwell. Its unique form made it the first twisting skyscraper in the world. Consisting of 54 floors, some consider the building to be completely out of place in a city of otherwise low-lying buildings. No-one can deny, however, that it has given Malmö a distinctive landmark, and put Sweden on the skyscraper map of the world. A successful landmark it may be, but a commercial success it was not. Construction costs doubled their original estimate for this 27,500 square metre building, and the owners failed to sell the 147 apartments - perhaps due to the radical departure from traditional Scandinavian design. Consequently, the apartments are now leased out to their tenants. The area where Twisting Torso is located (Västra Hamnen - "Western Harbour") reminds me of the area housing the modern extension to Copenhagen - south western Amager. The building is surrounded by residential low-lying apartment buildings - all very tasteful with liveable court yards, gardens and an aura of a high quality of life. There are also house boats to admire. When I visited in the summer, there were residents sunbathing and swimming in the sea at the marina - jumping in off the sidewalks. There are cafes, restaurants and food shops. When we visited, we parked at the supermarket Lidl - across the street. If you want to get a view from the top, floors 53 and 54 may be visited on certain days - but you must book in advance with HSB. These floors are also used to stage conferences. Alternatively, floor 49 houses the public observation deck. Floors 50-52 houses a restaurant, event area and a private club. Photo credits: Dan Hill
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  • Turning Torso, Lilla Varvsgatan 14, 211 15 Malmö, Sweden
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