by , 04/20/06


There’s a new contender vying for the title of World’s Most Sustainable Skyscraper: The new headquarters for the CNTC Guangdong Company, a large tobacco company in China, will be a zero-energy building.

The company held an international design competition, and the winning design of the 69-story Pearl River Tower comes from Chicago’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). According to project architect Gordon Gill, this isn’t just a building, it’s �a high performance instrument shaped by the sun and the wind.”

SOM employed nearly every trick in the zero-energy book: the main fa�ade is south-facing, the windows are made of double-glazed glass, the building is outfitted with wind turbines and solar panels to provide electricity and power the heating and cooling systems, and rainwater collection and grey-water recycling systems reduce water consumption.

The tower also has a unique system of louvers on the south side that help keep the building cool and the air inside it fresh; the louvers not only act as vents, but also adjust automatically as the sun moves across the sky to keep temperatures stable.

Cooling the building provided one of the biggest challenges, as CNTC is located in the subtropical city of Guangzhou. SOM came up with several strategies to combat the hot, humid climate while maintaining a zero-energy profile: as air is drawn through the vents on the south-facing side, a passive dehumidification system removes the moisture from it. Heat sinks, radiant slab cooling on each floor, and underfloor displacement ventilation further help to cool the building.

The Pearl River Tower’s pretty attractive, too. It’s not quite biomorphic, but its rounded roof and rounded, segmented south side do remind us a little of a pea pod.

The groundbreaking begins this summer and the tower should be finished by 2009. Now if only SOM could design some sustainable cigarettes for the company, too�

guest written by: Carissa
via: + Architectural Record

+ Press release

Related Posts


or your inhabitat account below


  1. chong April 16, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Truly if we incorporate in every building,city and community such sustanability designs,we can achive a better livable world.

  2. Inhabitat » SMOOT... March 27, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    […] Gordon Gill architectural firm has been busy stirring up the world’s skyline with a slew of lean, green superstructures that push the energy-neutral envelope. AS+GG recently unveiled plans for […]

  3. e n K l o s u r e &raqu... May 2, 2006 at 11:48 pm

    […] Read more.  Posted by Haitham Issam Filed in enKlosure […]

  4. Michael April 21, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    Now if they could just build it without slave labor and driving people out of their houses. Please, can we not kiss the Emperor’s ring and tell him how beautiful his clothes are…

  5. Kirsty April 21, 2006 at 4:41 am

    Hi, i’m a regular reader of this site, it’s simply superb.
    This really is an impressive design, though ironically it’s for a cigarette company!
    Cigarette’s are not sustainable full-stop. In a country like China where over half the population smokes, the amount of medical suspenses, energy and resources required to treat the patients created by this commercial industry will never be compensated by an energy free building. Though of course, that’s probably more of a unseen concern to those entrepreneurs puffing away at their chairs.
    It is also situated in one of the most terribly polluted cities in the world too.. … but I guess, it’s a good start.

  6. Elizabeth April 20, 2006 at 8:45 pm

    Good lord, that is a beautiful building.

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home