Aluminium tornado

A twisting glittering, aluminium-clad tower, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is taking form in the south of France.

17 December, 2018
Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1989, designed this unusual and complicated building specially for the Luma Arles complex, an arts center established by Swiss collector Maja Hoffmann.
The tower is set to be opened in spring 2020, however new photos that appeared lately in the Internet show the twisting form of the metallic tower taking shape above the city of Arles.

Due to be 56 meters high when complete, the tower is formed of a concrete core with a steel frame. Glass boxes and shining aluminium panels are stacked around this in an irregular formation above a circular glass atrium. Reflecting light and color from thousands of angles, the building looks a bit futuristic, pixellated, video game-aesthetic yet still monumental.
Image: Dezeen
Gehry's design for the facade is supposed to echo the town's Roman amphitheater and craggy rock formations found near the city, the same kind that inspired sometime-resident Vincent van Gogh to paint them in 1888. The scheme forms part of a complex with six existing industrial buildings, five of which are being restored by Selldorf Architects. The site will be located within a public park, reactivating an industrial site which has been abandoned since 1986.

But while Gehry believes the tower will "resonate in the sun and light", locals have said the facade looks like a crumpled drinks can. American architecture writer Martin Filler, however, was slightly more positive, describing it as "a stainless-steel tornado".

Image: Dezeen
Once complete, the tower will become the jewel in the crown of the Parc des Ateliers art campus, which also includes five 19th-century train sheds that New York-based architect Annabelle Selldorf is currently converting into two exhibition facilities, a hotel, a visitor center and café, and a dance studio and artists' residence.

According to its website, the project "envisions an interdisciplinary center dedicated to the production of exhibitions and ideas, research, education, and archives and is supported by a growing number of public and private partnerships".

Image: Dezeen
New York-based Selldorf Architects has already transformed several industrial buildings on the site into gallery spaces, while Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets is creating a public garden, the Parc des Ateliers, nearby.

Gehry has had a reputation as the go-to architect for rejuvenation projects since his Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened in Spain in 1997.

Banner image: Dezeen