The design features of the elliptical Agile Corporation Headquarters Tower in Guangzhou, China, make it perfect for the region’s subtropical climate. SOM used extensive computer modeling and simulation techniques to create a gracefully curving building that remains cool during Guangzhou’s hot and humid six-month-long summer season. This was achieved by analyzing the effect of the sun on the structure and using strategically-placed fins to alleviate solar gain.


Agile Corporation Headquarters Tower, SOM Architects, green tower, Guangzhou, China, high performance facade, fritted glass, solar gain, energy consumption, green architecture

The recently completed tower is located at the edge of in Zhujiang New Town, the new emerging city center. Its elliptical form, orientation and high performance skin respond to the site’s subtropical climate. The team analyzed the potential heat gain on the building’s surface during the long summer season and translated the solar radiation map into an array of horizontal sunscreen fins. The density and patterns of the fins depends on the solar load and mirrors the movement of the sun across the envelope.

Agile Corporation Headquarters Tower, SOM Architects, green tower, Guangzhou, China, high performance facade, fritted glass, solar gain, energy consumption, green architecture

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Layers of horizontal metal fins, fritted glass and corrugated metal spandrel panels cover the high-performance curtain wall system, creating a facade that changes appearance depending on viewing angle. The round shape of the building helps balance solar gain and stabilizes the cooling needs of the interior spaces. This approach helps reduce the overall energy consumption.

+ Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM)