SOM's new tower in mystery location
The tower integrates programmatic and building systems into a structure of proven technology which uses familiar structural concepts in a new way. The radial geometry of the plan and elongated conical form have a powerful singularity and represent a crystalline geometric order containing 290,000 m2 of primarily residential program area. This vertical community is supplemented by limited amounts of office, hotel, service apartment and ancillary amenity areas including retail, a school, prayer area, and post office.
The form is the result of an iterative series of analytical structural exercises to optimise the tower for strength and wind performance. A single tapering conical concrete wall spreads outwards towards the perimeter, which in turn supports cantilevered floors containing the program. Intermittent, multi-story high setbacks occur at amenity floors to facilitate wind disruption, which in combination with the tessellated shape, reduces vortex shedding.
The hollow core exploits the natural stack effect to benefit the project. Like traditional wind towers, the spire captures natural forces generated by temperature differentials between the interior and exterior, and between high and low. Depending on the outside temperatures, a positive stack effect (drawing air in for top exhaust), or reverse stack effect (top draw for low exhaust), or double stack effect (drawing air at the midpoint to exhaust at the top and bottom) would provide cooler air to naturally ventilate the building. In addition to the benefits of natural ventilation, air velocities produced by the stack effect would drive wind turbines to generate energy for the building.
Other sustainable design features include high level wind turbines and solar collection arrays at the uppermost 200m for energy generation, no dedicated air-conditioning of internal atria, water recovery and conservation, heat recovery, tempered transitional spaces, a building form that minimises solar exposure, high performance facades, and efficient exterior shading.