This looks like some weird and possibly carnivorous alien plant — but it's actually a high-tech "green" building, using lightweight materials from the "spacecraft industry" to make lightweight observation pods that glide up and down vertically.

Romanian architect Stefan Dorin with DSBA won the "Taiwan Tower" competition with this 300-metre building that will become a landmark in Taichung, Taiwan's third-biggest city. So what's the deal with that tree-like shape and those weird leafy "floating" observatories (which I'd be terrified to stand inside of)? Dorin's proposal explains:

Starting from the ‘geographical' visual of Taiwan – which is an island resembling a leaf – we have developed the concept of the technological tree: we have designed 8 spatial leaves (with eight being a propitious number in the local culture) in the form of zeppelin-like elevators which glide up and down the ‘tree trunk" and which serve the purpose of observation decks / belvedere. I have called these elevators floating observatories because each has a nacelle which can take 50 to 80 people; they are self-sustained by helium balloons and are built from lightweight materials (borrowed from the spacecraft industry) and are wrapped in a last-generation type of membrane (PTFE) and they glide vertically on a track positioned vertically in a strong electro-magnetic field.

The building's eco-friendly qualities include a small footprint at land level, maximum green surface, natural ventilation thanks to the "chimney effect," rain-water collection, and its own power generation via turbines and adjustable photovoltaic panels. Check out some more images below. [PlusMood]