SOM-designed Pearl River Tower topped out in Guangzhou
Many new buildings lay claim to being green and using sustainable design, but Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) have designed what the architects call one of the most energy-efficient skyscrapers in the world owing to a unique structural form.
SOM and client CNTC Guangdong Tobacco Corporation marked the topping out of the Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China on Sunday. The skyscraper is slated for completion later this year.
The 2.3-million square-foot tower also has the latest sustainable technology and engineering advancements. The design integrates structural systems, in both steel and structural concrete to support the curving shape of the building, as well as the wind and seismic loads imposed on the tower. According to SOM, one structural innovation is integrated wind turbines. These turbines, which are fed from funnel-like openings in the façade, are supported on floor slabs occurring within the opening zones and are laterally braced against the floor above.
The Peal River Tower incorporates many sustainable design features that have been used individually in buildings around the world but not applied together in a single structure, according to SOM.
“Structural engineering solutions must be integrated with the architectural and sustainable engineering designs so that they are inseparable,” said Bill Baker, SOM structural engineering partner. “It is the collaboration between our structural engineering, architecture and sustainable engineering practices that allow a building such as Pearl River Tower to become reality.”
While many of these sustainable attributes have been incorporated individually into skyscrapers around the world, the Pearl River Tower design represents the first time that they are used collectively. These sustainable deign and engineering features include solar panels, double-skin curtain wall, chilled ceiling system, under-floor ventilation air, and daylight harvesting.
SOM did not say if Pearl River Tower would be seeking certification from any of the green building rating systems such as LEED or BREEAM.