SOM Designs Skyscraper for a New Age

Jan. 17, 2006
A proposed building design for one of China's largest corporations promises to set new standards for sustainable architecture.

(The following article is courtesy of PRNewswire.)

CHICAGO, Jan 11, 2006 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has designed a 69-story corporate headquarters that can produce more energy than it consumes and promises to set new standards for sustainable architecture, the Chicago-based firm announced today.

Pearl River Tower, planned for Guangzhou, China, would harvest wind and solar energy. The building's design directs and manages prevailing winds so that they become "invisible braces" that help stiffen the tower, said SOM Consulting Design Partner Adrian D. Smith.

"This is an iconic, high-performance building that is designed in harmony with its environment," said Smith, who is Pearl River's designer. "It is a skyscraper for a new age."

The innovative design is among three finalists in an international design competition for a corporate headquarters for a major Chinese company. Guangzhou is a subtropical port city of 6.6 million, located 182 kilometers from Hong Kong.

Pearl River Tower's sculpted facade also directs wind to a pair of openings on the building's mechanical floors. The traveling winds push turbines which generate energy for the building's heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems.

"The openings also relieve wind pressure on the face of the building," said project architect Gordon Gill of SOM. "Potentially damaging negative pressure on the opposite side of the building is alleviated as well. The result is a more stable, more comfortable building."

Energy consumption is reduced by maximizing natural daylighting, reducing solar gain in air-conditioned spaces, retaining rainwater for gray-water usage, and using the sun to heat the hot water supply. Stack venting, radiant slab cooling and caisson heat sinks work to chill the building. AC current is generated by solar collectors on the facade.

The winner of the design competition is expected to be announced in February 2006.

Founded in 1936, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP is one of the world's leading architecture, urban design, engineering, and interior architecture firms. SOM has designed many of the world's major buildings, including the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center in Chicago; and Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai. SOM maintains offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., London, and Shanghai.

SOURCE Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

CONTACT: Lee Bey, Director of Media Affairs, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP,



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