Six-hundred meter tall aerodynamic eco-tower being built in China
By Darren Quick
June 22, 2011
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) has won an international competition to design the Wuhan Greenland Center. At 606 meters (1,988 ft) high, the building is expected to be China's third tallest and the world's fourth tallest when construction is due to be completed in 2016. The tower will feature a number of sustainable elements, the most visibly obvious of which is the tower's streamlined form with softly rounded corners and a tapered body that culminates in a distinctive domed top.
The tower's aerodynamic shape, which sees its three corners rising from a tripod-shaped base and tapering upwards to culminate in an arched tip above the dome at the top, is designed to reduce wind resistance and the vortex action that builds up around super-tall towers. AS+GG says this will allow the amount of structural material and its associated embodied carbon to be minimized. The curtain wall cladding the body of the tower will enclose a composite concrete core with steel framing and will contrast with the corners of the building, which will be made of smooth curved glass.
To further reduce wind pressure against the tower, there are also apertures placed at regular intervals in the curtain wall. As well as letting the wind through, these vents will also house air intake and exhaust systems on mechanical floors - and provide an out of view place to hide window-washing systems. The ventilation systems will also include rotary air-to-air enthalpy wheels - also known as thermal wheels - to capture energy from the building's exhaust systems and use it to pre-heat or pre-cool air entering the building.
Water conservation features include low-flow plumbing fixtures that are designed to not only cut water usage, but also reduce the amount energy needed to pump the water around the building. A greywater recovery system will also be used to take wastewater from the building's hotel laundry, sinks and showers for reuse in the building's evaporative cooling system.
The high-efficiency lighting system will be coupled to a daylight-responsive control system that will automatically switch off the lights when there is sufficient daylight available.
The Wuhan Greenland Center will be built near the confluence of the Yangtze and Han rivers in Wuhan, with construction due to begin in the next couple of months. Once complete, the building will boast about 300,000 square meters (3.2 million sq ft) of floor space, including about 200,000 sq m (2.15 million sq ft) of office space, 50,000 sq m (0.53 million sq ft) of luxury apartments and condominiums, a 45,000 sq m (0.48 million sq ft) five-star hotel, and a 5,000 sq m (54,000 sq ft), 27 m (88.5 ft) tall private club at the penthouse level.
AS+GG is partnering with structural engineering form Thornton Tomasetti and energy services, engineering and consulting company PositivEnergy Practice on the project.
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