About the Project
The commission was to create a monument – conceived by well-known architectural firm C Y Lee – out of glass based on the concept of the Chinese tangram, a geometrical puzzle comprising seven different shapes. The monument, the first of its kind, was a tribute to all who were involved in the Taipei 101 project. These included investors, consultants and workers.
The design of the monument as proposed by Synergraphic was inspired by that of Lego bricks. Explains Florence: “Bricks are the basic units of the foundation of a building. I was also partly influenced by the fact that my husband is a Lego enthusiast and his Lego works, with their colourful combination of bricks, gave me an idea of what could be possible.”
For architect C P Wang of C Y Lee, one of the main challenges of creating a monument based on the tangram was that of “how to build up the glass blocks and support the weight without seeing the steel framing.” “In reality,” Florence says, “it’s not possible, because the glass bricks are very heavy. So, how do you build a structure that serves a threefold purpose? First, it steadies the bricks from strong winds, earthquakes and typhoons. Second, it is as pared down as possible so it won’t be visible. Finally, it allows for maintenance of any damaged glass bricks and the lights installed within.”
Florence’s team came up with a solution of interlocking each brick with pins that could be easily removed for easy brick replacement, and creating a frame which housed and supported each brick. A small hatch was built into each column which allowed a person to enter for maintenance purposes. “A lot of thought and calculations had to be done to make for easy maintenance,” adds Florence, “and much of it had been anticipated and planned for ahead of time.”
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