Phoenix Towers get the world’s attention for sustainable designs of future skycrappers

It all started with an offhand remark by the Mayor of Wuhan, Mr. Tang Liangzhi. “The phoenix is a cultural icon of Hubei Province. Can we think of a way to celebrate it while we imagine future buildings for the city?” said Mr. Tang in his meeting with Mr. Xu Feng on April 23, 2013. The Hua Yan Group took the challenge to heart. Contracts were issued to two of China’s leading consultancies, and the one given to Creativersal International led to the Phoenix Towers. Mr. Laurie Chetwoods, famed for his futuristic and award winning designs, was engaged by Creativersal to come up with an “Eiffel of the 21st Century”, with an asymmetric male-female form to symbolize life, hope and love, which will also revolutionize the construction and operation of sustainable super buildings. 

In June 2014, an international media frenzy swirled around “the world’s tallest building,” with CNN, BBC, Wall Street Journal, etc. tripping themselves to get a word from Mr. Chetwoods. While its 1,000-m height is hard to miss, the Phoenix Towers are much more than their physical dimensions, even more than their breathtaking beauty. “In fact I am more proud of the eco-features that people may not notice in the first instance,” said Mr. Chetwood. 

Even the usually low-key William Liu, Chairman of Creativersal, could not resist jumping into the fray. “I am no architect, and no one would believe me, if I tried to take credit away from Laurie. However, I do take credit for one design feature. Those loony planets hanging in the air? That was my idea. I am a space physicist and just love planets. Yet I thought half a dozen floating globes were an engineering impossibility. Then Laurie walked to me and said, ‘we will have your planets. No one thought planets were possible until there were planets”, deadpanned Liu. 

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