The Turning Torso opened to the public in 2005 as the tallest building in Nordic countries. Still, its height differs from what most people think when remembering the structure. Its twisting design is clearly the main feature, and it lends enough inspiration to architects all around the globe.
I have been a fan of the Turning Torso in Malmö since I first read about it. And the building has been on my architectural travel plans for years.
Still, in the fall of 2022, I managed to cross the Öresund Bridge and go from Copenhagen to Malmö just to see this neo-futurist residential skyscraper.
Let me explain it. I mentioned the Öresund Bridge above not just because it’s a fantastic connection between Sweden and Denmark. I said it because the Turning Torso only exists because of the bridge.
A Brief History of the Turning Torso
When the construction of the Öresund Bridge ended in 1999, a managing director of HSB, a Swedish social housing cooperative, saw something interesting while reviewing material related to the architectural competition for the bridge. The manager, Johnny Örbäck, was intrigued by a white marble sculpture that was part of the document sent by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The statue was called Twisting Torso.
Johnny Örbäck liked it so much that he asked Calatrava to design a building based on the concept.
The vision of the Turning Torso was there, but the combination of sculpture and building still needed to become real.
The construction was marked by budget issues, strong winds that disrupted workers, and temperatures below zero that made everything close to impossible.
It was such a unique architectural challenge that it even appeared on an episode of Extreme Engineering on the Discovery Channel.
Even after all these problems, the Turning Torso officially opened on 27 August 2005. It was the tallest building in Sweden at 190 meters in height, 54 stories, and almost 150 residential apartments. But, most importantly, it was the world’s first twisting skyscraper, influencing a whole new style of architecture.
The Turning Torso in numbers
As you get closer to the Turning Torso, you start wondering more about how this massive twisting tower was built. The exterior consists of more than two thousand curved panels and custom-made windows.
Looking up, you can see that the tower is made of nine cubed-shaped pieces staked on each other as they twist. Each of these cubes is five floors tall, and each floor is rotated by 1.6º degrees from the one below. With this rotation, going from the bottom to the top, the twist amounts to 90º, which gives the impression that the Turning Torso is rotating on its own axis.
According to what I read online, Floor 49 is a public observation deck. Still, I need help finding much more about it since the official website from the building isn’t available anymore. I couldn’t enter the building to take pictures. One day I will be able to see one of the almost 150 apartments the tower has and the gorgeous view from the top.
The Turning Torso in Malmö is a fantastic piece of modern architecture and a must see for everyone interested in the topic.
I can easily say that it was the highlight of my time in Malmö.
Twisting Marvel: Exploring the Architectural Wonders of the Turning Torso in Malmö
Lilla Varvsgatan 14, 211 15