Gensler announced the winner of the WAN Façade Award 2016

Nick Myall
Monday 23 Jan 2017

Congratulations to Gensler, winners of the WAN Façade Award 2016 with their striking design for the 121-storey Shanghai Tower. Congratulations

This year’s WAN Façade Award 2016 once again showcased outstanding projects from around the world, promoting the innovative use of façades and the technologies continuing to take this transformational building element into new realms. 

The judging panel used their extensive experience in façade design to assess the shortlisted projects. This year’s panel were: Bart Akkerhuis, founder of Studio Akkerhuis, Jennifer Dixon, Head of Architecture in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa at AECOM, Dennis Ho, Principal at HASSELL, and Damian Rogan, Director of International Design Engineering Practice at Eckersley O’Callaghan. 

After much discussion to assess the impressive projects on the shortlist, Gensler’s innovative design was chosen as the winner at the BAU Munich 2017 event.

The Tower’s location in China, a world leader in the construction of supertall buildings, places it as part of a global discussion about the future of cities. As well as filling the need to create an overall impact as a new symbol of Shanghai, the design had to meet construction challenges including the outer curtain wall, which was most efficiently constructed from the top down within each zone. A deep V-notch in the façade makes the spiralling geometry readily apparent, resulting in a distinctive, sweeping exterior that immediately drew the attention of the jury. Jennifer said: “The architects have used the full range of technologies available to create a beautiful shape.” Created with over 20,000 wall panels, the façade was designed with parametric software, allowing the team to implement a system balancing performance, constructability, maintenance and design. 

The Tower incorporates two independent curtain walls: one with an outer skin that is cam-shaped in plan and an inner one that is circular. These two wall systems created the possibility for the sky gardens spaced throughout the building, bringing people together in shared areas. Bart said: “For me, the most positive aspect of this project is the creation of the gardens and the semi-outer areas. They create a beautiful space.” 

Shanghai Tower is one of the most advanced sustainable tall buildings in the world, designed to achieve both LEED Platinum certification and a China Green Building Three Star rating. The transparent second skin acts like an insulating blanket, reducing energy use for heating and cooling. Bart praised the designer’s achievement, saying: “LEED Platinum certification is impressive for a tower of this size.” 

The Tower’s facade fulfils many functions, being a distinctive feature of the cityscape, giving the possibility of social space within the building, and helping to maintain a high standard of energy efficiency. Damian observed: “The building is impressive and very well thought through.” 

We would like to extend our thanks to the jury for bringing their expertise to the selection of the winner, and to all those who entered their projects into this years’ WAN Facade Award 2016. 

Lucy Nordberg 

Business Information Specialist

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