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Telos: The World's Most Spectacular Education/Recreation/Technology Park
Brisbane, California USA

Owner: Initial proposal to Mr. Y.H.Chen, Tuntex Corporation, Taipai, Taiwan
Location: Brisbane, California USA
Date: 1990-1992
Cost: $1,000,000,000.00
Acreage: 910 Acres (200 acres in the San Francisco Bay)

On a bayside 910 acre (6006 Mu) track of land overlooking the San Francisco Bay in northern California was proposed this unprecedented theme park design that housed the world's most far-reaching ideas in every field of human endeavor; from education to the design of lunar cities; from new garden tools to the transformation of science and technology; this theme park is a step into the incredible mind of nature and human kind as collaborators and caregivers of the planet earth. The park is itself a self-sustaining and regenerating mini-city and garden. A self-replenishing garden of Eden on earth with an eye towards the heavenly cosmos. Of its many features visitors will marvel at the 2 kilometer long waterfall that stands 30 meters high--the largest human made waterfall in the world--and used in part, to clean and recycle water used inside the park. At the foreground of the park is an extensive bank of photovoltaic solar panels that are computer-tracking the sun's daily angle to achieve maximum efficiency.

All building designs; the tension cable floating recreation center, the ocean breeze cooled apartment hotel, the "Crystal Mountain" collection of the world's most unique mineral crystals, the "Telos Tower" which contains ten built-in windmills, a recycled salt water solar heating system, a cantilevered spherical theater and a see-through glass floor "Architorium", the "Natorium" nature exploratorium, the hydrogen gas manufacturing plant, the aquatic, overhead marine monorail system and the experimental testing grounds for the most imaginative concepts in vehicles and architecture; all of these destinations are a part of the park and much more. Only 2 miles from the San Francisco International Airport and 2 miles to the city of San Francisco the park is located in an ideal location with a guaranteed visitor influx of 40,000,000 persons per year. Nowhere in the world has there ever been attempted an interactive collection of the most advanced and profound concepts of humanity. Telos (which means purposefulness) invites the visitor to enter the universe of human ingenuity and the ineffable mind of nature.

Construction Materials: Reinforced concrete, mineral crystals, ceramic tile, stainless steel cables, recycled glass, recycled styrene/cement block, Insteel panels, Teflon-coated nylon, stainless steel tubing, UV-treated plastic pneumatic material, Cor 10 steel, recycled automobie tires, native stone and granite, native wood for interior finishing, recycled carpeting, glass cullet, Thermo-con spray-on cellulose, Polygal panels and self-shading glass, and volcanic rock.

Special Features: Recycled salt water distillation mechanism, 300 foot waterfalls, mineral crystal mountain, self sufficient solar and windmill energy systems, 8000 foot long--80 foot high waterfall, solar heated salt water radiant heating systems, "eggbeater" and "arrowhead" windmills, hinged support membrane roof structures, pneumatic roof and canopy mechanisms, photovoltaic solar cells, water wheel generators, solar distillation plants, hydrogen gas energy systems, water plant water cleansing system, expansion/contraction hinged building mechanisms, rotating corkscrew roof, computer-tracking photovoltaic electrical systems and parabolic reflector water cleansing systems.

Owner Requirements: "It has to make lots of money."

Ecological Requirements: From the owner--none.

General Background of the Project: Telos began as dream to create a place, that could be visited by anyone in the world, where one could come to learn about the most far-reaching ideas in every field of human endeavor and to be in an environment of extraordinary beauty and thoughtfulness.

Aerial view of the Telos Model

The name, Telos, is derived from the Greek term, Telos, meaning end, or, final purpose. The purpose of Telos is to create a strikingly unique environment where people are encouraged to experience design in new and exciting ways, to engage their curiosity, to find meaning and purpose in the natural and human-made setting around them and, ultimately, to come closer to discovering their own creative potential and purpose in being.

Telos will offer an extraordinary opportunity for the public to be exposed to ideas and implemented concepts which are examples of great, imaginative possibilities in design-based creative endeavor. In offering this kind and quaity of exposure it is hoped that persons will come away from the experience enlivened and enriched and feeling that they too are capable of significant and, as yet, undiscovered capabilities within themselves.


One of the most extraordinary features of Telos is that public visitors are active contributors by suggesting new activities and modifying present activities. The public is encouraged to play an active role in the development of various concepts and programs at Telos. Thus, Telos activities will continue to be rooted in creating products that are realistically desired by a needful audience.

Telos is an act of faith; faith in the creative powers of the human spirit. It is predicated upon a conviction that, given the opportunity to encounter wonderous, awe-inspiring experiences, individuals will, to some personal degree, tranform these experiences creatively and positively in their daily lives.

Telos is financially sustained by world wide public visitation and is designed to be visited repeatedly. In order to facilitate frequent returns, the design of the site must be so extensively unique and compelling as to make first-time full comprehension nearly impossible. One must return many times to see and experience the development as a whole.

interior rendering

The nature of the programs at Telos supports an ever-changing surfeit of experiences. Programmatic changes accur seasonaly and are often initiated by the suggestions of the general public as well as estabilshed administrators. The public becomes an idea-generating force and telos acts as experimental facilitating grounds thereby cgreating an extremely potent and educative environment for sharing and learning. This two-way, self-motivated quality of activity is an extraordinary circumstance; especially notable is that Telos finances itself through admission charges and royalties produced by implemented concepts developed on site.

The site and buildings are purposely designed to create spectacle and to overwhelm--inviting further inquiry and discovery. Questions such as, "What is that?", "How does this work?", "What is that for?", "How did they make that?", ought to be frequently overheard. The intention is to compel people to emotionally respond and to engage their curiosity; creating the geerative grounds for an exciting educative experience. Great emphasis and care is placed upon the avoidance of superficial effects, e.g., the reiteration of established images and the repetitive use of familiar symbols. Consequently, Telos has no cultural, religious and national identity. Its suggested message is one of freedom and originality; a universal place for all people to come and discover and learn. An oasis from the conforming precepts of modern society.

The ambiance at telos is one of striking originality, unbridled imagination and the unified outward expression of form, function and purpose. Very little is created merely for its own sake. Everything at Telos has an inherent purpose and the public is invited to discover that purpose. The site and buildings are, themselves, the educational experience that is cotinually fresh and new. Even as the quality of light changes during the day and evening so does Telos seem to transform itself to reveal new vistas, new perspectives and forms.

Telos comprises the following major buildings and activity areas:


The Architorium (architecture plus exploratorium) is a spectacular environment designed to aqctivelt engage the general public in the exploration of design, technology, structures, history, aesthetics and natural phenomenon which form our built environment. The space within is divided into ten activity zones:



Materials and Construction Processes


Nature Architecture

Wind Tunnel and Aerodynamics

Site Considerations and Simulation Laboratory

Aesthetic Principles

Future Possibilities

Construction and Production Workshop


This human-made mountain is made of large mineral crystals from around the world. It would be the largest collection of mineral crystals ever assembled in one structure. The public is invited to explore the mountain to experience the beauty and wonder of nature's crystalline diversity. The mountain contains a marvelous labyrinth of mineral crystal catacombs that can be explored day and night. At night the mountain is lit up from within giving it a captivating glow which beckons one to discover its mysterious secrets. At the crown of the mountain is the great crystal waterfall 300 feet high with a suspended restaurant above and inside the waterfall. The spike-like elements of the restaurant structure are the radiant solar water collectors that heat the habitable spaces within. The conical collectors store solar heated water in the daytime and then drain the water throughout inner coils in the walls and floors of the building. Visitors can travel behind the great waterfall and shallow catacombs contain small ponds created by run-off from the waterfall.


Telos Tower consists of 35 floors rising to a height of 350 feet with an inclined, 1000 foot high look-out tower with viewing elevators stacked seven tiers high.

The Telos Tower structure would be the world's tallest incline structure rising 350 feet high. Its structural frame is modeled after the human rib cage with vertical stability produced by a continuous limb/footing which acts as a underground cantilever to resist the overturn tendancies of the incline tower. The tower consists of s backbone spine from which the rib cage, or continuous cantilevered floors, extend outward into the air. 60 feet off the ground and 100 feet in diameter is cantilevered a giant hovering orb which is the Telos auditorium/theatre. The purpose of this special theatre is to view/experience a program of understandng the earth and the universe from WITHIN the earth's core--looking from the inside--out. This allows the audience to experience the shifting of geological and continental masses from the earth's standpoint. A crossectional rendering illustrates the structural configuration of tower and theatre. The looming incline of the tower and the gravity-defying cantilever of the auditorium sphere give the building a daring countenance.

At the base of the Telos Tower sits the Architorium with its hinged, hydraulic opening and closing roof mechanisms. The building can be likened to a giant clam shell; two parabolic disks with a series of hinging panels comprising the upper shell. Our studies have shown that the strength to weight ratio of the clam form is approximetly 1 to 530. That is, the clam form has been shown to withstand direct downward loads 530 times its own weight before fatiguing. This kind of intrinsic strength need not be utilized in a building but the form gives us an understanding of inherent load properties. Given that we have lightweight, movable materials which are transparent and transluscent, these materials would work very well in keeping with the overall shape, supplying adequate rigidity and retaining structural strength without the usual heavy integument and fascia material.

THE NATORIUM (nature exploratorium)

The Natorium is an interactive facility committed to teaching the public about the use of nature as a basis for all human discoveries, technological, physiological and spiritual development. History has shown us that every revelation of humanity, every act of progress, has come from the insights of nature applied for human benefit.

Structurally, the building resembles an upsidedown truncated cone with a pneumatic, convertible roof that opens and closes by varying air pressure. The central canopy is a hinged geodesic dome invented by Chuck Hoberman. The collapsible and expanding capabilities of this dome allow the roof to open like a camera shutter while still being waterproof. The building comes alive with the necessity of enclosure from rain and cold weather.

The exterior "skin" of the building is a regenerative skin tissue of varying colors and transluscencies. A skin-like living tissue, artificially manufactured is placed in a nutrient-rich sheath of living organisms. Sunlight, water, glucose and air are the principal ingredients needed to maintain this "living wall." Here is the integration of dead and living matter--the building is truly organic--a biological living entity capable of regenerating itself. But the application of biology is not enough; the highest applications of art must also be present. Infused with the presence of this skin-like growth of the building is the Polygal and tempered glass mural which surrounds the building.


A giant mega-sized building housing the research, development and production of new ideas and technologies. It is an opportunity for the public to meet inventive persons in an inventive setting. This is a place where how's, why's and why not's abound and the spirit of exploration and ingenuity has a captured audience. It is a unique chance for the public to participate in the imagination and rigorous trial and error testing of various ideas in science, technology, art,music, athletics; virtually every human field of endeavor. A kind of open book of observing the process of human creative genius.


This is the storage area of hydrogen gas produced by sunlight and used to create electrical power. The public can learn how sunlight is used as a catalyst to separate hydrogen gas from oxygen and how this process can produce electrical power. The buildings are shaped like giant rockets to provide for maximum structural efficiency with minimum floor space used. The process of separating hydrogen gas from oxygen can be observed. This process can be used for home and office purposes and the park is a means to educate the public to be self-sufficient in their generation of electrical power. It is clean, odorless, non-toxic and a positive contribution to the soil and atmosphere (water and fresh oxygen produced).


This structurally adjustable exhibit building has a hinged, expanding/contracting wall system. Anodized aluminum criss-crossing channel members are hinged where they intersect. An expandable fine screen mesh is attached between the hinged members. The entire wall sheathing can extend upward or compress downward depending upon the position of the centrally supported revolving roof. At the center of the building is a corkscrew-like composite metal shaft on which rests the 200 foot diameter composite plastic and glass roof. At the center of the roof is a small geared motor which turns the roof and allows it to follow the threads of the central pylon. When the roof rotates clockwise the building extends upwards; counter-clockwise, the roof decends. As the roof moves high or low the expanding/contracting walls expand upward or compress downward. Thus the building is completely adjustable in its use of enclosed space.


The building is designed to catch the breezes of the San Francisco Bay for use as air conditioning throughout the interior. In plan the building is shaped like a giant air scoop funneling breeze into interior spaces and within smaller venting tubes located within the hollow floors of the structure. The interior structure is planned similiar to a wasp nest in that layers of structure and open vent spacing alternate to form an insulative yet breathable structure. In the same way the Telos apartment tower can be likened to a breathing organism in that wind is brought into the inner structure of the building to regulate internal temperatures. The complex is used to house the directors and visiting individuals who actively participate in the curriculum of the park.


Twelve spherical floating restaurants each express an aspect of nature; the microscopic world, the vegetal world, the marine world, ecology, the cosmos. etc. Visitors are immersed in an enthralling environment where they experience another facet of nature. The spherical shape of the restaurants maximize the bouyancy of the design and allows a portion of the space to be naturally submerged in a freshwater lake. Visitors can view the underwater life teaming in the lake while they dine. Solar gain is controlled by electro-stimulated self-shading glass that becomes opaque by applying electrical current. As in the beaver den air vents are located at the upper levels of the restaurant sphere letting fresh air in and out of the enclosure.


The Telos amphitheatre is a mutiple-use outdoor gathering area which features an inflatable/deflatable pneumatic roof system. Retaining walls at the sides of the amphitheatre contain hidden louvers which house the furled-up transparent Teflon-coated nylon roof material. When pressurized air is activated the roof pushes outwards from the walls and forms a pneumatic cantilever 100 yards in length from each side--200 yards in total width of the amphitheatre. Once the two sides touch they form a waterproof seal by use of an overlapping joint system similiar to connection principle of Velcro. Able to accommodate 100,000 people this amphitheatre is the largest outdoor facility of its kind in the world.


This floating reinforced concrete building is positioned in an existing sea water lagoon. An important reason for its floating in water is for protection against earthquake shock forces. In event of an earthquake the building will be significanty buffered by the water. Other features include giant hinged roof panels that open and close according to climatic conditions. In the spring, summer and fall the roof of the building is open to the sky making all gymnasiums and training rooms as open-air pavillions. sunlight baths the interior without bringing in cool winds. The structure is designed like an open bird's nest letting wind pass around and over it without be drawn into the bowl of the nest. The configuration of interior spaces also affords direct visual contact to all major facilities from the central lobby area.


Where experimental flying vehicles are tested. The park contains its own air strip near the exhibition building. Vehicles such as gyrocopters, helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing planes, etc., are designed and tested and the public can observe the research and design development process.


This floating marina features a lateral hinging system of connecting friction joints that allows the the structure to act as a buffer to water waves acting on it. The structure is comprised of a series of hollow tubes bouyed up by the water. The marina is powered by its own series of seven "egg-beater" type windmills. The marina is also equipped with umbrella-like roof membranes that hinge into place during winter months and rains. The marina accommodates small and large marine vessels and houses seven tourist submarines for exploration of the Bay and the Pacific coastline.


An existing Southern Pacific railway line runs through the site stopping at the main trainstation between the exhibition building and Telos tower.


Buses also have direct access to the site. No automobiles are allowed on the site. Buses are powered by hydrogen gas and are specially designed to be aerodynamic and carry a maximum load of people.


This structure is the largest human-made waterfall in the word. 6000 feet long and 100 feet high it is the entranceway to the park. Visitors must pass through the waters of the fall. This is done by a series of catanary clear acylic arches that protect persons as they pass through. The falls is also a water cleansing mechanism whereby the falling of the water oxygenates and kills the bacteria in the water. All fresh water lakes from the site converge into the waterfall. The water is then pumped back into the park for recreational use. Electricity producing water wheels are integrated into the waterfall to produce electrical power. This electricity is used to power water pumps to direct fresh water to the park. The ambiance created by the waterfalls is exhilerating and impressive. The sound also acts as an ambiant noise barrier from the neighboring freeway.


A continuous system of vehicles provide transportation throughout the park. Vehicles are set in overhead water troughs with water current, created by the great waterfall, propelling the vehicles forward. These water tracks are supported by pylons twenty feet in the air and stop at designated platforms located on the property or inside any of the buildings.


A 150 acre bank of photovoltaic solar cells powers all of the electricity to the park. Underground storage batteries allow the electricity to be used when needed.


For testing unusual prototypes in vehicle design. This encompasses bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles, trucks, trains--any vehicle that moves. Testing is also done for new kinds of power fuels; propane, methane gas, hydrogen gas, heated carbon, etc.


This is where all kinds of structural forms can be built at full scale to test and experience the beauties of architecture; buildings built for their own sake not merely for expedience. 100 acres of land is set aside for experiemental construction use. Here visitors will have the freedom to experience the most far-reaching architectural ideas of our time and to design buildings from their own imagination funded by construction corporations.


Running, walking, bicyling and electric mini-vehicle pathways wend throughout the site Embellished by thoughtful landscaping and ground-level built-in lighting the paths are intimate yet expansive and extent to 5 miles of complete path routes.


The site contains several swimming lakes and beaches with small rivers and streams of fresh water embracig the entire park. In many instances buildings are placed within their water surroundings like majestic islands in a sea of blue. The presence of water contributes to the ecological balance of the site beavers and other water maintaining animals are plentiful. Visitors swim in any number of lakes and can positively kearn from the natural environment.

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