The port city of Tianjin (Mainland China’s third largest city behind Shanghai and Beijing) is adding another skyscraper to its skyline. Construction on Atkins’ TEDA Landmark Towers (Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area), nicknamed “the pile of boxes” by local residents, is set to be underway. The design features three towers made up of stacked and slightly rotated eight-story blocks. Each tower will use a geothermal heating/cooling system and feature sky-gardens in rotating corners of the glass blocks. The gardens will “light up the corners of each tower, creating an illusion of glowing lanterns rising up into the sky.” Each of the buildings will also be crowned with mesh-like blocks that house vertical wind-powered turbines to help supply electricity.

+ Atkins Design

The tallest of the three towers will rise to 356 meters (80 floors, 1168 ft) and will be Tianjin’s second tallest building after the Tianjin TV Tower (415 m) when finished. The two other towers will be 136 m (446 ft) and 198 m (650 ft) tall and will be connected to the taller tower by a nine-story building that will include a shopping mall. The three towers will house offices, residential apartments, retail shops and even a luxury five-star hotel.


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  1. skywingz September 23, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Don’t really like it. Again, it’s subjective.

  2. xilangan February 28, 2008 at 10:24 pm


  3. Will June 27, 2007 at 12:50 am

    I can’t say I believe with the aesthetics…but then again not everyone agrees with the aesthetics of a Frank Gehry building.

    However the attempt for a sustainable building by Atkins Design and the developer is admirable. It makes a positive statement which will create positive dialogue and discussions for residences and visitors alike.

    We need to encourage and challenge more architects and developers to create more projects like this….

    btw, Michael V..and your statements about citizens being removed without compensation is 100% wrong. So get your facts right before you post your political BS.

  4. Mac May 20, 2007 at 6:18 am

    The debate as to whether something is green enough or not is kind of irrelevant at the moment. I think the fact that China is making a conscious effort to even build these things is a good thing. You may argue that it’s all just an image thing, trying to make themselves look better to the outside world, but I say whats wrong with that, at least they are doing something right?

    China has a real opportunity to lead the way on the green front. I hope for out sake they kick start the western worlds efforts. If this construction can sustain itself and look as nice as it does then I say build more!

  5. Jill May 17, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Hi Sam-

    I think you are wrong in your assessment of this as “greenwashing”. We report on designs we think are noteworthy, and we think this is noteworthy for development in China. The building uses a geothermal heat pump, is full or gardens, uses wind energy and – FINALLY – is extremely dense, which is very efficient in terms of resources and energy useage.

    If you look in the post you will see we point out the geothermal heating/cooling, the wind turbines and the gardens – we never claimed this was green simply because it gets a lot of light.

    Finally – our posts on Inhabitat are not endorsements – they are simply posts. We write about stuff that is newsworthy and noteworthy, We think this is a noteworthy building in Tianjin. Because we write about something doesn’t necessarily mean its the greenest thing ever, and it doesn’t mean we support it (unless we write “we love it” “we support it”).

    Please bear this in mind, and read more carefully before making comments like this.

  6. Sam May 17, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Wait, are we saying that all a designer has to do now is make a spot to put wind turbines and they’ve accomplished some sort of innovative green design? I mean, it looks like there’s lots of natural light and maybe there is more to it, but neither their website nor this post points out any compelling “green” features.

    If anything, shining high-powered lights on the rooftops is going to be an incredible energy-waster.

    Argh. Another case of something that looks cool and claims to be “green”, but doesn’t seem to have anything to back it up. This blog is posting more and more of this stuff. Green design should be about encouraging people to use resources more conservatively. That’s far more important than how neat things look!

    Taken from the Inhabitat’s Mission Statement: “Good design is not about color, style or trends – but instead about thoughtfully considering the user, the experience, the social context and the impact of an object on the surrounding environment. No design can be considered good design unless it at least attempts to address some of these concerns.” Come on guys, let’s see this philosophy come out in what you post!

  7. Osi Okonkwo May 17, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    To Architecture Fan: I would not say that China is leaving the US in the dust although this is a very unique design. It is intriguing to say the least.

  8. Michael V. May 17, 2007 at 11:54 am


    Poor design aesthetics!

    How is China leaving the US in the dust? They steal, borrow and takes all the world’s ideas without
    paying any compensation for copyright or intellectual property! BYW – Shanghai not only kicks out and
    removes it’s citizens for development, but pays them ZERO dollars for their property or land, “that is true
    Chinese innovation!” And no that do not have 1/4 of the world’s constructions cranes, get your facts right before you post BS>

  9. Architecture Fan May 17, 2007 at 9:46 am

    I think this design is GREAT! I see China leaving the U.S. in the dust in terms of green development in the next 25 years. 1/4 of the world’s cranes are in Shanghai alone, constructing often vulgar but very interesting new buildings.

  10. lackar May 17, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Nice building!

  11. Hun Boon May 17, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Shanghai and Beijing have some of the world’s most adventurous architecture, and I’m glad to see that other major cities in China are following their fine example. This will certainly be a sight to behold when it’s completed.

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