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Cube Tower

Estudio Carme Pinós

The Cube Tower, an office highrise in a new-development district of the Mexican city of Guadalajara, stands out for its high-quality, multi-functional character. It is the key feature of the burgeoning Jorge Vergara Cabrera (JVC) Centre that will also house a mix of cultural and commercial activities including museums, conference hall, trade fair, mall and an urban park designed by Carme Pinós. A landmark in an urban fabric of non-descript buildings, the tower asserts itself as an icon of international architecture.
The “Cube” is not the usual parallelepiped-shaped office highrise. The singular composition turns site constraints into key design features. The starting point was to opt for a mixed structural system. As well as ensuring a building with lighter overall dead weight, as required by local earthquake regulations, the design also provides efficient vertical distribution and a rational pillar-less floor plan for all office floor space. The initial sketch outlined the main features of the project: a structure supported on three vertical elements in reinforced concrete, surrounded by a circular sequence of spaces and volumes.
The horizontal section shows three parabola shaped structural elements that generate convex and concave forms, on the exterior and interior respectively. At the centre, the scooped out shapes of the three structural pillars create an entrance atrium of alternating concave masses and openings.
A huge central well allows natural luminance and air flows across the glazed façades. The outward-facing convex sides of each structural pillar contain staircases, lifts and ancillary services.
Static problems were solved by using reinforced concrete to anchor the cantilevered steel beams in the vertical structures. These variable section beams are also connected to oblique and vertical members to provide further strengthening, and to support the floor slabs which were cast in place and craned into position. This system of...

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