Jumping out of my train from Copenhagen, I quickly paced across the station’s dark concourse, making my way towards the bright blue sky seeping through the doors ahead of me. I pushed down on the latch and swung the door open - once again confronted by a new city. This time – Malmo, Sweden.
Knowing my trip would last just 24 hours, I had 2 boxes to tick: meet new people and check out the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s ‘Turning Torso’.
In typical Nordic fashion, the Turning Torso hasn’t been built with right angles and rigid lines, but instead embraces a much softer and more beautiful design. Spiralling towards the blue sky above me, no imagination was needed to figure out where it got its name.
While most of the city is made up of old city streets and wide urban plazas, the district of Vastra Hamnen (Swedish for ‘Western Harbour’) –within which the tower sits - has undergone a recent rejuvenation and comprises kilometres of contemporary offices, and apartment buildings, all stretched along the beautiful Öresund waterfront.
Back in the late 1990s the City of Malmo developed a design competition to create a new tall building in the district. Zurich-based architect Santiago Calatrava submitted a sculpture that he’d created depicting a human body contorting around its spine in an upward movement. Impressed with Santiago’s piece, Calatrava was soon underway designing what would soon become Malmo’s most impressive landmark.
At 54 storeys, the building manoeuvres 90 degrees from top to bottom, and is considered to be the world’s first twisting skyscraper (the Cayan Tower in UAE has since been built with a similar twisting concept).
But in addition to its interesting design, the Torso is powered by 100% renewable energy and has been constructed with eco-friendly materials including recyclable aluminium. It also features a high degree of energy and water efficiency, helping residents to live much more sustainable lifestyles.
As I walked from Vasta Hamnen back into Malmo’s old town, I constantly looked back over my shoulder at this huge, twisting, tower behind me. It was a pretty courageous experiment from Santiago, but I guess just another testament to the fact that fortune favours the bold.
Make sure you check it out if you’re ever in Malmo.