Carbon Tower (2001)
Part of:
  • Testa & Weiser (archive creator)
  • Testa & Weiser (architectural firm)
  • Peter Testa (architect)
  • Devyn Weiser (architect)
  • Ian Ferguson (collaborator)
  • Hans Michael Foldeak (collaborator)
  • Simon Greenwold (software developer)
  • Arup Group Ltd. (consulting engineering firm)
  • Markus Shulte (structural engineer)
  • Mahadev Raman (mechanical engineer)
  • 3D Systems (model maker)

Carbon Tower (2001)



Level of archival description:
Extent and medium:
  • 9,908 digital files (156 GB)
    56 drawings
    2 models
Scope and content:
This project file documents an unbuilt design by Testa & Weiser for Carbon Tower (2001), a forty-storey building made almost entirely of carbon fibre. The project was developed in parallel with scripting software designed while Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser co-directed the Emergent Design Group at MIT.

"The tower consists of an interdependent set of parts: floor plates hang from a diagrid structure of bundled fibres reinforced by two double-helix covered ramps, which are run in and out of the structure and are themselves made of strands woven at a finer scale. A thin composite skin—glass would be too heavy—wraps the tower’s parts together. A collaboration with Arup in 2002 allowed Testa & Weiser to simplify the scheme even further, by moving all core elements, from elevators to structural supports, to the tower’s perimeter. To take full advantage of the flexibility and energy efficiency of composite materials, Testa & Weiser also imagined that the carbon fibre structures would be formed on site through a process called pultrusion."[1]

The file contains a large number of digital files documenting the conceptual and design development of the project; consultation with Arup Consulting Engineers, New York; research on composite materials; fabrication of 3D printed physical models by 3D Systems and Windform; and exhibition of the project at several museums and galleries, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York. Also contained in the file are 56 paper drawings (including some sketches done on top of printed computer-aided designs) and two 3D printed physical models produced by 3D Systems.


[1] Canadian Centre for Architecture. Archaeology of the Digital 12: Testa & Weiser, Carbon Tower, ed. Greg Lynn (2015), ISBN 978-1-927071-25-0.
Reference number:


General note:
  • For annotated source code of Weaver and Maya files resulting from early attempts to use Weaver to design a tower, see Series 2: Weaver software.

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