David sent some great links on Solar Towers and the original inventor, engineer Jörg Schlaich. (Mr. Schlaich is also a very famous bridge designer.) (Thanks David!)
Jörg Schlaich (b.1934) was born the son of a Lutheran minister and studied engineering at the University of Stuttgart, Technical University of Berlin, and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Schlaich became a protégé of Leonhardt with his research work on concrete structures. In 1963, he joined the office of Leonhardt-Andrä Partnership (LAP) and eventually became a partner, where he worked as a designer on many innovative projects. He was responsible for the design of a widespan concrete shell covering a swimming hall in Hamburg, several bridges, and also footbridges constructed of special structures.
In 1980, Schlaich established his own engineering practice with Rudolf Bergermann (b.1941). They started with an extraordinary project in Spain – the planning of a thermodynamic powerplant powered by air traveling through a 660-foot (200 meter) high chimney driven by the temperature differential between the ground and atmosphere. Schlaich-Bergermann Partnership’s second project was the Hoogly Bridge near Calcutta, which they took over from LAP and then completed. This cable-stayed bridge was specially designed for ease of construction by requiring riveting rather than welding, which made it ideal for a developing country like India. Additionally, Schlaich extended a series of extraordinary footbridges in and around Stuttgart, which were variations on suspension bridges, cable-stayed designs, and bridge designs corresponding to the flow of forces.
Professor Schlaich’s strength is invention and the realization of ideas, as his constructed projects clearly demonstrate. In 1974, Schlaich was appointed the chair of concrete structures and the successor to Fritz Leonhardt at Stuttgart University. Schlaich has been able to make many of Otto’s ideas real, such as gridshells enclosing a swimming hall (Schwimmhalle Neckarsulm), the Hamburg History Museum (Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte), and an ice rink roof with an arch stabilized by a cable-net in Munich. More recent projects include adaptive bridges, such as a foldable bridge near Kiel in Northern Germany and a suspension bridge with a variable opening near Duisburg. Today, Schlaich collaborates with many famous architects, including Frank Gehry, Rafael Vinoly, Thomas Herzog, and Volkwin Marg. One of his most famous projects, the Twin Towers Memorial, is in New York City.