Skinny Is Out, Curvy Is In: Skyscrapers with Curves

The traditional image of a skyscraper features lots of straight lines, sharp corners, and a towering height. However, a new high rise building in Melbourne, Australia recently made headlines and reminds us that there are definitely some advantages to having curves from a construction and design standpoint.

Premier Tower – Melbourne, Australia

It’s called the Premier Tower and believe it or not, it was actually inspired by Beyoncé’s curvy shape! Positioned to be in the center of town, Premier Tower will stand 68 stories tall and be next to the railway station’s wave-shaped roof. Once complete, there will be 660 apartments inside the tower, as well as a hotel and retail spaces.

“The aesthetics of the building are purely borne out of a natural outcome for the site,” explained Reid Dixon of the architecture firm Elenberg Fraser. “The biggest problem with supertower topology is the structure system, getting up to 80 floors without tipping over or bending in the wind.”


The bulk of the building’s mass will be positioned around the middle of the building, with concrete at the mid-point to provide stability. As strong winds bounce off the railway station, they will be deflected by the twists and curves of the building’s natural shape. Efficiency and green design elements can be incorporated into curvy buildings just as well as (or better than) thin, straight ones, such as passive cooling and heating systems and natural light reflection.

However, this isn’t the first time that architects and engineers have experimented with curvy buildings, and it certainly won’t be the last. These are some other unique and curvy buildings around the world.

Aqua – Chicago, Illinois

Aqua was built as an 82-story residential high rise and hotel along Lake Michigan near Millennium Park, and it has captivated the imagination of residents and visitors since it was built. This environmentally friendly building required engineers to use curved concrete decks and balconies. Computer modeling helped calculate the sizes needed for the concrete slabs on each floor. Even the interior features are renewable, recyclable, and energy efficient.

Cayan Tower – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai’s Cayan Tower features twists and curves that are both aesthetically pleasing and practically efficient. The Dubai Marina building stands 75 stories tall, opened in 2013, and took seven years to build.

“The building’s twisted shape reduces wind forces on the tower and channels the wind in such a way that its forces are unable to organize themselves,” said the judges at the annual Emporis Skyscraper Awards in 2014.

Absolute World Towers – Mississauga, Canada

Back in 2012, Emporis named Absolute World Towers the best new skyscraper of the year for its curvy, twisting design and features. These towers are located in Mississauga, Canada (a suburb of Toronto) and were given the nickname “Marilyn Monroe” because of the curvy shape. Standing 50 stories tall, their use is primarily residential.

Read more about the intricate construction and design process that went into these towers on the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat website!

Photo credit: Gizmag (

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