RMJM wins competition to build ‘scaley’ tower


Architecture studio RMJM has won a competition to design a 93m high tower covered in scales for Doumen, China.

To be located at the intersection of two rivers in Zhuhai, The Doumen Observation Tower was designed by the company’s Shenzhen office, interpreting the movement of water and acquatic life in the coastal city.

Project architect Zhenyuan Yan said: “The movement of water and fish can be seen as origin of the initial idea. The fish jumping gesture should symbolise the prosperity and rapid transformation of the city.”


1,400 bent panels will make up the curving form of the tower, made from perforated aluminium. This façade cladding will provide the building with its scaley appearance, while simultaneously working as a shade from direct lighting.

A parametric modelling system was used to develop the shape, said to be made up of twelve two-dimensional curves.

The tower will be divided into three sections: a ground level podium featuring housing, shops and restaurants; a middle section housing leisure facilities; and a top floor observation deck which offers 360-degree views.

The Doumen Observation Tower is planned to become part of the wider regeneration of the city’s waterfront.

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