aug 11  | Civil Engineering

Wuhan Greenland Center

The curved, tapering form of a hotel and residential tower planned for Wuhan, china is designed to help the structure resist strong wind forces even as it rises to become one of the tallest buildings in the country and the world.

Designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture for a competition, the 606 m tall rocket-shaped tower features three concave sides, rounded corners, and a domed roof. This streamlined profile is expressly crafted to resist wind forces while conserving building materials, according to Juan Betancur, the architect’s team leader for the project.

Named the Wuhan Greenland Center after its owner, the Shanghai-based Greenland Group, the 300,000 sm, 119-story tower is slated to become china’s third-tallest structure in the world when it is completed, in 2016. The design is being finalized by an interdisciplinary team that includes structural engineers form New York City-based Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. and experts from the PositivEnergy Practice, a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in energy management and carbon reduction strategies.

A concrete core that will act in concert with steel framing will provide the building’s primary structural system, and apertures in the structure’s curtain wall will alleviate wind pressure and provide outlets for the building’s exhaust systems, according to a press release issued by the architect in June.

An enthalpy wheel will be integrated into the building’s ventilation systems to capture energy from the exhaust systems and use it to heat or cool air as it enters the structure. The tower will also incorporate several other elements of sustainable design, including a gray water recovery system, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and highly efficient lighting tied to an automated dimming system that will operate when ambient light is ample.

The building’s curved corners will be made of glass to afford exceptional views, especially from the penthouse-level clubs, and many aspects of the tower’s interior – including its primary elevator bank, elevator cabs, and other public spaces – will be designed to reflect the tower’s conical silhouette.