SOM Chicago just announced that they have won a design competition to create the new Greenland Group Suzhou Center tower in Wujiang, China. The 358-meter skyscraper is slated to become a new landmark for the city, and it features a gleaming eye-like central atrium - but don't misconstrue it as Sauron's dark tower. On the contrary, the project's luminous span fills the structure with daylight and works as the lungs of the building to bring in fresh air. SOM has worked especially hard on this design to create a finely-tuned building that optimizes energy use while maximizing structural and mechanical performance.
Design Director Ross Wimer commented upon SOM‘s winning Greenland Group Suzhou Center tower, stating: “This design is the result of a serious interdisciplinary collaboration in our Chicago office. Like a high performance car, the digital modeling of aerodynamics was critical to the shaping of the building. The design team included structural and mechanical engineers from the very beginning and their input helped to define all aspects of the tower.”
The 75-story building will feature a mixed-use program that includes offices, service apartments, a hotel, and retail space. Located near the shores of the Taihu Lake in the Jiangsu Province of China, the building’s curved and tapered form is punctuated with a long and slender atrium in the center. This 30-story atrium features operable windows and pulls fresh air into the residential and hotel area, effectively acting as lungs for the building. The Greenland Tower also features a highly engineered composite core and outrigger structural system that will help reduce the cost of construction and strengthen the tower.
Daylighting floods the space – especially through the central atrium space – and the building’s orientation along with the stack effect helps provide ventilation. In addition, the tower will make use of a high-performance façade, daylight-responsive controls, energy-efficient lighting, energy recovery systems, demand controlled ventilation, and an on-site energy center with a combined heat and power plant to capitalize on the overall load diversity of the development. The design team expects to achieve a 60% reduction in energy use as well as water savings.