Every so often a building design comes along so obvious but distinctive you can't help but wonder why someone didn't do it before such as the Gherkin in London.
The supertall Sinosteel International Plaza in the Chinese city of Tianjin could be the latest of this trend for the title of "originally obvious building gimmicks you wish you'd thought of".
Now under construction, Sinosteel International Plaza is designed by up and coming Chinese firm MAD Ltd who despite having partners only a few years out of school are starting to make an impact on the world of architecture.
What they have done with the main tower, 358 metres tall, is simply take a monolithic box and curve the corners of it to soften the building's mass. Stretched around it is a honeycomb shaped fašade with varying sizes of windows similar to a woven metal mesh that wouldn't look out of place as decor for a high-tech speaker. The only thing missing is an Apple logo.
The design has changed since we first revealed the tower over a year ago. There have been a few minor changes made, the most notable of which is differing treatment to the inside of the recessed fašade that has seen the red dropped and replaced appropriately with steel creating an uber-metallic aesthetic on the building envelope.
Next door the 88 metre tall box shaped hotel has undergone a similar change also losing the colour in favour of stainless steel throughout. It remains connected to the main building by a podium in the form of what at first glance appears to be a green hill but is in fact part of the complex's structure similar to the home of a hobbit topped with natural grass turf that provides an easy contrast with the harder synthetic appearance of the towers.
Both of the facades are not random in their arrangement. The architect mapped the possible differences in building temperature and sunlight so that the fenestration is arranged in such a way to minimize and maximise solar gain as naturally as possible - you can literally see an average heat map of the building from the concentration of the windows.
Construction is now underway on both buildings although completion of the scheme is not due until 2012. Just as the Turning Torso started the fad of twisting towers, it should be interesting to see how many skyscrapers in the not too distant future start to take on a hexagonal fašade as MAD have dreamed up here.