Prism Tower

Site: Winston Salem, NC, United States

Status: Conceptual Design

Program: Cultural

Client: Winston Salem Arts Council

Prism Tower approaches the problem of monumentality in an age conflicted by static symbols of power.  To create an expression of collective energy, panels refract light to create a prism effect, a spectrum of colors in visible light.  The shadow cast onto the city is visible as a colored soft moment.


Standing in a gap within the urban center of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Prism Tower speaks to corporate adjacencies and views of surrounding infrastructure bounding the city.  While orthogonal origins at the top of the structure correspond to the city grid and adjacent urban towers, the mid-section rotational forms express non-biased directionality in a city and region traditionally organized in response to segregated urban zones.  The tower also twists to support energy producing panels and the possibility of animated projections remotely programmed onto the facade, feeding the metabolisms of the city.  


As a point of inspiration, Pilot Mountain stands visible from the city skyline as a monument to time.  Seen as a tall structure in the distance, the mountain maintained its height because of a quartzite rock foundation.  This natural formation is a testament to permanence.  The rolling hills beyond Pilot Mountain were once equal in elevation, dramatically shifting and lowering with lighter subterranean layers.  In contrast, the Prism Tower is diametrically opposite to the quartzite rock, responding to shifting environmental factors for its illusive materiality.