• Pearl 1Architect: SOM          Images: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and Tim Griffith
  • Pearl 2Architect: SOM          Images: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and Tim Griffith
  • Pearl 3Architect: SOM          Images: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and Tim Griffith
  • Pearl 4Architect: SOM          Images: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and Tim Griffith
  • Pearl 5Architect: SOM          Images: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and Tim Griffith
  • pearl_river_construction_3_for_webArchitect: SOM          Images: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
  • pearl_river_construction_1_for_webArchitect: SOM          Images: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
  • pearl_river_construction_4_for_webArchitect: SOM          Images: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
  • pr2newArchitect: SOM          Images: Michael David Rose


Pearl River Tower

Pearl River Tower

Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China represents a new kind of building: a skyscraper formed to work symbiotically with the natural environment. The project aims to be the world’s first supertall tower that produces most of the energy it consumes.

The project was featured as part of the MCA Chicago’s show "Sustainable Architecture in Chicago: Works in Progress," which provided a focused look at innovative sustainable building projects conceived by Chicago architects. The exhibit opened in the fall of 2006.

The tower’s unique shape was derived from the behavior of the natural elements at the building’s site. The building’s form was optimized to local solar and wind patterns, harnessing the energy of these resources and utilizing this natural power to sustain the building. Wind is funneled down the vertical face of the tower toward a series of turbines; photovoltaic panels in the building’s skin absorb and retain solar energy.

In addition to its superior performance, the tower also represents the pinnacle of quality for a world-class headquarters facility. The client desired a building that would represent and enhance their position as a global leader and an active participant in the sustainable design movement. It was equally important that the building provide the highest quality of workspace for the company’s staff. The tower was designed to satisfy all of these requirements, resulting in a building that represents the intersection between performance and function.

Pearl River Tower represents a true symbol of progress for the 21st century: a self-sustaining, environmentally intelligent building that is a stunning new icon for the future of the region.

mar 14  | Architectural Record
Tower Ambition
The architects and engineers behind an office building in rapidly expanding Guangzhou put super green before supertall... MORE

21 sep 12  | The Wall Street Journal
Designing Towers to Catch the Sky
Gordon Gill, an architect in Chicago who specializes in very tall, energy-efficient structures, doesn't spend much time looking at buildings. Mr. Gill said that he gets better ideas by looking at lakes or trees rather than Chicago's broad-shouldered skyline. The city's notorious blasts of wind are another inspiration... MORE

26 mar 09 | Chicago Reader
Best of Chicago 2009 art & architecture
We no longer butcher many hogs or make much steel, but Chicago can still turn out talented architects—and Gordon Gill is one to keep an eye on... MORE

11 may 08 | The Sunday Times
Dinosaurs bite the dust
A new wave of buildng design leads the drive to reduce the environmental and financial costs of doing business... MORE

7 nov 07 | The Chicago Tribune
Developers embracing 'green' to gain edge
Real estate long had one guiding principle: location. Now, environmental sustainability has joined the top tier of industry tenets in these times of financial turmoil and fierce competition for renters and workers... MORE

4 nov 07 | The Sunday Times
City Salvation
From pigs grazing on the roof to colossal solar power stations, future buildings will be clean and self-sustaining... MORE

7 sep 07 | GQ
Green Giants: A guide to the ten coolest eco-friendly buildings in the world and how they're truning architecture on its head
It should come as no surprise that in the face of the world's growing environmental problems, it is in architecture that we find some of the most innovative and beautiful-solutions... MORE

sep 07 | The Architect's Newspaper
Imitation of life
Since the days of Vitruvius, architects have turned to nature for inspiration, but today's designers are think about the way a seasponge behaves, not just the way it looks... MORE

aug 06 | Metropolis
Super tall and ultra green
SOM's tower in Guangzhou, China, aims to generate more energy than it uses... MORE

aug 06 | Wallpaper
Peak performance: eco-friendly offices in Guangzhou
It's being billed as the most environmentally sustainable buildings in the world... MORE

1 dec 06 | Architectural Record
SOM's Pearl River Tower
The storied design firm has set its sights on redefining one of its bread-and-butter project types, the corporate headquarters, into a model of high-tech sustainability... MORE


Gordon Gill, Lead Designer + Associate Partner
Adrian Smith, Consulting Design Partner
Robert Forest, Associate Partner + Project Manager
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP


CNTC Guangdong Company


Commercial High-Rise Architecture, China International Property Awards
Chicago Athenaeum, Green Good Design Award, , Green Architecture
Architizer A+ Award, Office Building High Rise, Finalist
AEI Affiliated Engineers, Most Innovative Project, Mechanical Systems Design
AEI Affiliated Engineers, Award of Excellence, Mechanical


MIPIM Asia, Best Innovative Design
CTBUH, Best Tall Building Asia & Australia, Finalist


ASHRAE, Illinois Chapter, Excellence in Engineering


Chicago Athenaeum, Green Good Design Award, Green Architecture


Spark Awards, Green, Carbon-Lowering & Environmental Category, Gold Award