The Absolute Towers are also known as the Marylin Monroe towers, the nickname given by the local residents. The gentle twisting of the two structures was meant to resemble and express the fluidity that defines the natural world.
“The concept of the tower at the beginning was very simple. We just wanted to make something organic but different, more natural and more soft and not something too strong that would remind people of money or power.”
Founder of MAD Architects, Ma Yansong
Absolute World is a twin tower residential condominium, part of the five towers Absolute City Centre complex, built by Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group. The similarly shaped skyscrapers reach a maximum height of 150 and 170 meters, dominating the skyline of the city. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has judged the Marilyn Monroe towers as the best new high-rise building in the America’s. When the project was initiated by the investors, MAD Architects design proved to be the most appealing not only to the jury but also to the general public, being supported through the whole building process by the local administration.
Since the first skyscraper was built, these tall buildings have been treated in most cases with a lack of imagination and creativity. Straight lines and box-liked shaped buildings were sufficient to fulfill the need for some extra space. This is probably modernism’s biggest flaw: structures that are functional, comfortable but inexpressive and boring, never enhancing the character of a landscape or an urban area but suppressing its beauty and shape. What the Marilyn Monroe towers stand for is a powerful combination of functionality, comfort for its inhabitants and the effect of strong esthetics that contribute to the image of the city. The part of the city where the project was developed lacked a vertical dominance, a landmark. Being the tallest structures in the area and the most unusual and different, the Marilyn Monroe towers capture every bit of attention, concentrating views from every angle towards them. The concept has developed around the idea that Mississauga has evolved and transformed from a suburb of Toronto into an independent urban area that must have its own character; what MAD Architects attempted was “something naturalistic, delicate and human in contrast to the backdrop of listless, boxy buildings.” The torsion of the towers supports their initial thoughts creates a very dynamic image, making the observer look all the way up and carefully analyze their shape, especially because they are so ‘out of the ordinary’ for most people, something new and curious that they need to comprehend.
“An Economy of Structure
The torsional form of the towers is underpinned with a surprisingly simply and inexpensive structural solution. The two residential towers are supported by a grid of concrete load bearing walls. The bearing walls extend and contract in response to the sectional fluctuation created by the rotation of the floors while the balconies consist of cantilevered concrete slabs. In order to ensure the elegant edge profiles are as thin as possible, there is a thermal break in the slabs at the exterior glazing such that the insulation need not wrap the entirety of the balconies. Meanwhile, the dynamically fluid shaping of the towers, naturally aerodynamic, adeptly handles wind loading and ensures comfort throughout all the balconies. Besides providing every resident with a nice exterior place to enjoy views of Mississauga, the balconies naturally shade the interior from the summer sun while soaking in the winter sun, reducing air conditioning costs.”
The Marilyn Monroe towers project is so likable and appealing because it is so different from other skyscrapers. Or is it? It’s not very tall, the materials are the same and it makes the city look tiny, just like any other tall structure. But, apart from most skyscrapers and projects, the architects have designed this one in a 3D manner, admitting that going high is not enough, you also need to go a bit to the left to the right or in this case, rotate. This seemingly simple idea produces a wonderful effect that has turned this building into one of the best modern concepts.
Photo courtesy to Iwaan Ban and MAD Architects
Location: Mississauga, Canada
Height: 170 meter
No. of floors: Tower A: 56 stories/170 m
Tower B: 50 stories/150 m
Building Area: 95.000 square meters
Tower A: 45,000 sqm
Tower B: 40.000 sqm
Site area: 4090 square meters
Primary Use: Residential
Client: Fernbrook / Cityzen
Design Architect: MAD architects
Director in Charge: Ma Yansong, Yosuke Hayano, Dang Qun
Design Team: Shen Jun, Robert Groessinger, Florian Pucher, Yi Wenzhen, Hao Yi, Yao Mengyao, Zhao Fan, Liu Yuan, Zhao Wei, Li Kunjuan, Yu Kui, Max Lonnqvist, Eric Spencer
Associate Architects: BURKA Architects INC.
Structural Engineer: SIGMUND, SOUDACK & ASSOCIATES INC.
Mechanical Engineer: ECE Group
Electrical Engineer: ECE Group
Landscape Architect: NAK Design
Interior Designer: >ESQAPE Designa