SOM Chicago has won a competition to design a mixed-use tower in the new Chinese city of Suzhou. Located along a lake front, the tower includes a distinctive void carved out the upper portion of the tower, splitting the floorplates in half to better serve hotel uses. Offices will fill the lower, larger floorplates. “We’ve been doing these kinds of mixed-use towers since Hancock,” said Ross Wimer, a partner at SOM Chicago. “Instead of tapering the tower, we’ve carved away a slot to bring fresh air and light into the building.”
On the upper floors the building uses the cooler outside air for natural ventilation, reducing the building’s overall energy load. SOM’s sustainability group estimates the building will use 60% less energy than is typically used in a similar tower in the US. “It’s about figuring out ways for tall buildings to stop fighting the environment,” Wimer said.
The silvery curtainwall includes both glass and stainless steel, with the south-facing wall using more opaque metal and the other sides more transparent glass. The project also includes an L-shaped commercial building and a large public plaza. “In China, developers often build out the entire site, but we felt it was important to include a public space,” Wimer said.
The 75 story, approximately 2.9 million square foot tower is expected to be complete in 2017.