Posts tagged with "CTBUH":

Learning from the 2017 global timber tower audit

AN Midwest Editor Matthew Messner spoke with Daniel Safarik, editor for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CT­BUH), about its “Tall Timber: A Global Audit.” The audit documented proposed, under-construction, and built tall buildings that use mass timber as their primary structural materials. The Architect’s Newspaper: What Prompted the CTBUH to conduct an audit of timber projects around the world? Daniel Safarik: We track all kinds of tall build­ing construction routinely for the Skyscrap­er Center database and for our Global News feed on our website. The first well-publicized tall timber building was Stadthaus in London, which was completed in 2009. We noticed what seemed like a spike in announcements of timber tall buildings being proposed and constructed about four years ago [2013], and everything that has happened since has re­affirmed this impression. When we saw the buy-in from the U.S. government represent­ed by the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition, in October 2014, that confirmed the impression that this really had momentum behind it, so we committed to tracking the two resultant projects through to comple­tion. Unfortunately, the New York project was canceled due to market feasibility concerns, but the Portland project is now under con­struction. So the momentum began to build from that point, and we formed a Tall Timber working group in late 2014. The group started working on a design manual in mid-2015, and that effort has now gotten a turbo boost with the audit and the upcoming workshop at our 2017 conference, which is bringing together a lot of the key participants. Were there any interesting surprises once the information was gathered? The most striking thing was the diversity of construction methods that are being used to create these buildings, which are specific to local jurisdiction and the nature of the tim­ber supply in each region. Of course, herein lies the difficulty of generalizing about what’s going on in tall timber worldwide, as well as coming to a consensus about classification and best practices—that is our challenge. What are some of the interesting discus­sions happening around mass timber? It’s encouraging to see the range of propos­als, from both a stylistic and construction standpoint. The primary discussions revolve around fire safety and code, sustainability, and the feasibility of modifying fabrication techniques from mass production of stick-built single-family and platform-framed low-rise buildings to something that is workable for high-rise. What do you think the next steps are, or barriers to overcome, for mass timber to become a common building method? The foremost obstacle is local fire codes. Most fire codes prohibit wood structures from rising above five or six stories. Many codes stipulate that a building of this height must also have a concrete base, particularly if there are commercial uses on the ground floor, such as restaurants, or if there is vehi­cle parking, to give one to three hours of fire protection that would allow safe exiting before structural collapse. This is predicated on the assumption that wood high-rises would use platform construction, with dimension­al lumber such as two by fours, beams, and joists, similar to those currently permitted. The key to mass timber’s viability as a struc­tural material for tall buildings lies in its name. Massive wood walls and structural beams and columns comprised of engineered pan­els have demonstrated fire performance equal to concrete and, in some cases, su­perior to steel. Wood unquestionably burns, so there would be smoke issues, as with any fire, which would require proper sprinklering, pressurization, and other tactics used in tall buildings today. But mass timber has to burn through many layers before it is structurally compromised—basically it “chars” long be­fore it collapses. As more jurisdictions come to appreciate the aesthetic, economic, and environmental advantages of tall timber, fire codes are expected to change. The second-biggest obstacle is a lack of standardization of construction materials, methods, and definitions. There are many forms of mass timber, and a wide degree of variance in approach when it comes to sup­porting tall timber structures. Thus, there is a range of techniques, from assemblages of highly similar panels for both floors and walls, to complex column/beam/outrigger combi­nations, such as are found in high-rises of steel and concrete. There are numerous pro­prietary systems, and the connections be­tween elements also vary widely—often it is the location and orientation of the steel con­nectors between wood elements that can make all the difference in how long a struc­ture can withstand fire or seismic action, and thus determine its feasibility under local code. Are there any proposals, speculative or real, that you are particularly excited about? I like the one we published in the CTBUH Journal for Chicago: the River Beech Tow­er. It would be great to see that go up in our home city.

Shenzhen’s Ping An Finance Center crowned World’s 4th Tallest Building

This article was originally published on ArchDaily as "CTBUH Crowns Ping An Finance Center as World's 4th Tallest Building."

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced the completion of the Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, China, according to CTBUH tall building criteria. At 599 meters (1,965 feet), it is now officially the second tallest building in China and the fourth tallest in the world, behind only the Burj Khalifa, Shanghai Tower and Makkah Royal Clock Tower.

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), the Ping An Finance Center is located in the heart of Shenzhen’s Fuitan District. The building contains over 100 floors of office space located above a large public podium, with a multi-story atrium providing retail, restaurants, and transit options to the city and greater Pearl River delta region. The CTBUH describes the form of the tower as a “taught steel cable, outstretched by the sky and the ground at once. At the top of the tower, the façade tapers to form a pyramid, giving the tower a prismatic aesthetic.” The form is further emphasized by eight composite “megacolumns” along the building envelope that streamline the building for improved structural and wind performance, reducing baseline wind loads by 35 percent.

The facade of the building is one the project most innovative features; its use of 1,700 tons of 316L stainless steel makes the envelope the largest stainless steel facade system in the world. The specific material was chosen for its corrosion-resistance, which will allow the building to maintain its appearance for decades even in the city’s salty coastal atmosphere.

Read more about the project here. News via CTBUH. Written by Patrick Lynch. Want more from ArchDaily? Like their Facebook page here. Archdaily_Collab_1

This unit in Vinoly’s 432 Park skyscraper goes for baroque with interior design

Love it or not, Rafael Viñoly's 432 Park makes a statement on the New York City skyline. The 88-story, 1,396-foot-tall skyscraper will be home to some of the world's richest people (and/or their faceless LLCs). One soon-to-be-resident is bringing the public's prying eyes inward by bucking the less-is-more aesthetic of contemporary interior design for a maximalist, marble-on-marble pad designed by Brooklyn–based Atelier & Co. Atelier & Co. went for baroque with the design of a 4,000-square-foot residence on the tower's 40th floor. The building's structural tube design allows for open, no-column layouts, allowing residents to configure the space freely from a standard skyscraper layout. Atelier & Co.'s plan removes the sitting room to create a combined dining and living area, divided only by a bookcase lifted from the set of Downton Abbey. Meanwhile, the size of the master bathroom is doubled, presumably to accommodate the owner's collection of marble busts, vases, or anachronistic glass globes. The colonnaded entryways, ornate wood floors, and coffered ceilings do right by Joan Rivers and Louis XIV. Atelier & Co. notes that the design was influenced by 19th century Prussian architect and painter Karl Friedrich Schinkel as well as Leo von Klenze, the German painter, writer, and architect. The designers do recognize that their creation is inside a supertall, not Versaillies. They claim that the aesthetic draws on Viñoly's geometry, perhaps in the patterning of the living room's coffered ceiling. As this monumental throwback interior takes shape, it's a good time to note that the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the organization in charge of keeping tabs on the world's supertalls, recently recognized 432 Park as the world's 100th supertall. The tower clocks in as the second tallest building completed in 2015, per the organization's numbers. While living in this apartment may cause irreparable damage to your taste, that's not the only danger it poses. A recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that living on a building's upper floors increases the risk of dying from cardiac arrest.

Video> Douglas Durst on affordable housing, sustainability and developing New York City

This Fall, I served as special media correspondent for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat‘s awards ceremony in Chicago. Among the many architects, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Douglas Durst, head of The Durst Organization, a family-run real estate empire established in New York City 100 years ago. He was there to accept the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAlxwBgzAio We talked about developers' role in promoting affordable housing, neighborhood development and sustainability. “When people build these high-income, expensive buildings, they should be forced to contribute also to low-income construction, which will bring down the cost of land and make it possible to do rental housing,” said Durst, noting that developers of condominiums are currently exempt from New York's “80/20” housing program. Watch the full video interview embedded from YouTube on this page, or on CTBUH’s website, where you can find the rest of the videos in the series.

Video> Shum Yip Land’s Peter Kok on green skyscrapers and keeping East Asia’s skylines unique

This Fall, I served as special media correspondent for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat‘s September symposium in Shanghai. The topic was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism,” and among the many architects, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Peter Kok, associate general manager of Shum Yip Land, the commercial property arm of Shenzhen Investment.

Kok shared his thoughts (along with others at the conference) on how to avoid homogeneity among skylines worldwide. “The problem with all the new buildings, new hotels is people don't recognize the city,” said Kok. “So I think we need to add some cultural elements to it.” He mentioned incorporating local materials into new construction projects, as well drawing on local traditions of vernacular architecture. And, Kok said, nature should be part and parcel with high-tech urban skyscrapers. “We should not only see nature,” said Kok. “We should be part of it and mingle with it so you can really enjoy nature in these high-rise buildings.” Watch the full video interview embedded from YouTube, or here on CTBUH's website, along with the rest of the videos in the series.

Watch OMA partner Ellen van Loon and MAB Development discuss the de Rotterdam tower

Last September, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for its Shanghai symposium, entitled Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism. I conducted video interviews with dozens of architects, developers, building managers, and others on topics relevant to tall building design and sustainable urbanism. Among the many designers, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed were Jos Melchers of MAB Development & OMA partner Ellen van Loon. We discussed the design of De Rotterdam, an innovative mixed-use development that won CTBUH's 2014 Best Tall Building award for Europe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OygY60WSibU De Rotterdam's design resembles several skyscrapers stacked closely together, with bridges and protrusions in the facade connecting them into a single, flowing mass. "What you do in a low-rise city, where buildings are very close to each other with different functions, is now basically translated into a high-rise building," said van Loon. "I think what is interesting for me about this building is that tenants see each other on different heights... so not only the physical connections, but the view connections create a community in that building." Van Loon said it was a challenge to temper the community-building aspect of the building's connections with their potential to create confusion in the program or an overwhelming presence on the skyline. The result was the largest building in the Netherlands, but one that developer Jos Melchers said still respects the site. Getting tenants on board was another challenge at first, he said, but now the unusual layout is "becoming part of the city." "You feel that you can make a really mixed-use, multifunctional building," Melchers said. "The tenant has to believe in the concept of a vertical city. Of course tenants want to have their own block, their own building."

Shanghai Talks> Watch SOM’s top sustainable engineer talk air quality, environmental design

Last September, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for its Shanghai symposium, entitled Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism. I conducted video interviews with dozens of architects, developers, building managers, and others on topics relevant to tall building design and sustainable urbanism. Among the many designers, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Luke Leung, director of sustainable engineering for SOM. In Shanghai's Jin Mao Tower (an SOM building), we talked air quality, sustainable design metrics, and whether humanity might be able to build ourselves out of the environmental mess we find ourselves in. "The tall building can help to create better health and potentially less carbon emissions in the city per capita," Leung said, but he added it's important to address the issue holistically. We need to reduce emissions associated with embodied carbon, transportation carbon and operating carbon, Leung said: “We need to strike to make those three components to be all approaching net-zero.” Asked if LEED is still the best way to rank green buildings, Leung acknowledged shortcomings in how we talk about sustainable design. “It's amazing that the focus is on energy and water, while the building is designed for human beings,” he said. And he called for more attention to human-centric systems that address human health: “From that standpoint all the green building systems, they have room for improvement, but LEED is one that starts addressing some of those issues.” Finally, in light of technological progress, Leung stressed humility before nature. “[To] go back and listen to the basic laws of nature is our best bet,” Leung said. “But that time is limited.” Watch more videos on CTBUH’s website, and on YouTube. You can subscribe to their monthly video series here.

Video> Michael Adlerstein & John Gering on retrofitting the United Nations Secretariat Building

In addition to being AN's Midwest Editor, I was the special media correspondent for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2014, interviewing tall building designers, developers, and other experts at the skyscraper think tank's Shanghai conference, and its annual CTBUH Awards ceremony in Chicago. In Chicago I interviewed two of the minds behind the recent overhaul to the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City (technically, in an extraterritorial space contiguous with Midtown Manhattan). Michael Adlerstein, of the U.N. Capital Master Plan & John Gering, managing partner of design firm HLW International, discussed the retrofit of the 1953 United Nations Secretariat Building, a finalist in CTBUH's 2014 awards. “Not many buildings in our time are looking at the exterior window wall and composition with the interior as one system. In many cases they're looking at them as either the exterior or interior,” said Gering. “What we looked to do was blend those two things together, and the end result was a lot of energy savings.” The handsome glass skyscraper exemplifies midcentury office design, drawing on the  expertise of its architects, Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, and Wallace K. Harrison. But its outmoded performance standards left it in need of a serious update. In that sense the project to retrofit the building—which also included firms Heintges & Associates, Gardiner & Theobald, Skanska, and Rolf Jensen & Associates—is a case study for repurposing aging office buildings around the world. “All buildings need to be considered for recycling because they do incorporate tremendous embodied energy … And not just beautiful buildings and buildings where treaties were signed,” said Adlerstein. “I do feel the preservation movement has to move beyond iconic buildings.”

Jeanne Gang, Wanda Group unveil new renderings for supertall Wanda Vista tower in Chicago

Studio Gang's Wanda Tower may climb even higher than originally planned. New renderings revealed Monday night show the tower topping out at 93 stories instead of the previous 88. At 1,144 feet, the tower, whose development is being bankrolled by Beijing-based Wanda Group, would be the third-tallest tower in Chicago (provided it fits the standards of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, who arbitrate such matters.) Formally dubbed Wanda Vista, the $950 million tower will seek LEED Silver certification and is anticipated to open in 2019. The new renderings reveal a continuum of blue-green glass along the building's vertical profile. Gang said Monday the design is meant to mimic the reflection of light off Lake Michigan. The new design retains the massing of three tall, thin towers stepping toward the East, but gone are the balconies along the north and south facades. With more than 1.8 million square feet of real estate, the development will include 405 luxury condominiums and 169 hotel rooms. The Chinese real estate giants announced their plans last year without listing an architect; the design team was soon revealed to be local firms Studio Gang Architects and bKL Architecture. Chicago-based Lakeshore East, which has worked with bKL and Gang to develop the Lakeshore East neighborhood, owns a 10 percent stake in the project.

Skyscraper Expert Antony Wood Calls for a Facades Revolution

As the director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Dr. Antony Wood spends a lot of time thinking about the high-rise envelope, which he calls "its single most important interface to the external environment." For decades, hermetically sealed glass was the gold standard in facade design for tall buildings. With sustainability an increasingly urgent priority, things have begun to change for the better, says Wood. "But we have barely scratched the surface," he argues. "So much more needs to be done." Wood will issue his call to action next month in a talk and subsequent panel discussion at Facades+ NYC, the premier conference on high performance building envelopes. Wood mentions double-skin facades, green walls, and operable facades as among the most promising recent innovations in high-rise envelope design and construction. Double-skin facades like that pioneered in Foster + Partners' 1997 Commerzbank tower (Frankfurt), "perform as environmental 'switches' and provide for natural ventilation, while mediating the indoor temperature to a level that does not require 24/7 conditioning," explains Wood. "Projects like the nearly-complete Shanghai Tower, with its large atria and communal sky gardens, take this idea to the next level, and add to the idea of a 'high-performing facade' a social as well as a highly functional dimension." Green walls offer a range of benefits, from increased energy efficiency to aesthetic appeal and the reduction of the urban heat island effect. "We've also seen sophisticated mechanical, operable facades that adjust to solar conditions, such as at the Al Bahar towers in Abu Dhabi," says Wood. Other cutting-edge facades, like at Jean Nouvel's Doha Tower, incorporate historic building techniques to reduce thermal gain and thus improve efficiency. But while Wood finds the above encouraging, he does not think the AEC industry has gone far enough to meet contemporary social and environmental needs. "It's patently ridiculous that we talk about buildings have a design life of only 50 to 100 years," he says. "We should be designing for the ages, as there is very little practical experience in dismantling tall buildings—not to mention [it being] destructive to the environment and a waste of embodied energy—and modifications can be prohibitively expensive." Tomorrow's facades should incorporate interchangeability and flexibility as fundamental priorities. "We have to start designing and building for a future we cannot fully anticipate," argues Wood. "Durability is important, but adaptability is perhaps more so. Facades are the first line of defense in this cause." Wood identifies "a lack of collective will" as the principal obstacle to true innovation in facade design and construction. But he also envisions a way forward: through more research funding; more holistic design thinking; and a reorientation away from proprietary facade design. "A more sustainable business model would be ongoing consulting engagements that establish a meaningful feedback loop with clients and keep design one step ahead of demand, with an emphasis on interoperability and longevity," he concludes. To hear more from Wood and other experts in facade design and construction, register today for Facades+ NYC.

Shanghai Talks> Christopher Drew, director of sustainability for Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

Last September, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for its Shanghai symposium, entitled Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism. I conducted video interviews with dozens of architects, developers, building managers, and others on topics relevant to tall building design and sustainable urbanism. Among the many designers, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Christopher Drew, director of sustainability for Chicago's Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. In Shanghai's Jin Mao Tower, we talked about responsive design and environmental technology—everything from greenery and air quality to geothermal energy and the possibilities of net-zero skyscrapers. “It's not going to suddenly happen, it's going to happen incrementally,” he said of net-zero tall buildings. “I absolutely believe it's possible.” His comments on disaster and climate resilience were also revealing. In addition to buildings being resilient, Drew said communities need to be able to react to changing weather patterns—perhaps by relocating or changing local land-use and zoning patterns. Ultimately the sustainability director for the firm behind Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower and 215 West 57th Street in New York City was hopeful. “We do have a whole opportunity to build our way out of this, but we can't do it just on our own,” he said. “It has to be through collaboration with the supply chain … we also have to work with the legislators.” Watch more videos on CTBUH's website, and on YouTube. You can subscribe to the monthly video series here.

Chicago’s Willis Tower reportedly up for sale

Chicago's tallest building may be on the market, and it might even have a buyer. Crain's Chicago Business reporter Ryan Ori said Tuesday that the owners of the Willis Tower have hired Eastdil Secured to seek a sale of the 110-story tower. Real estate mogul Joseph Chetrit, developer Joseph Moinian and Skokie-based American Landmark Properties could fetch as much as $1.5 billion—a sum that would dwarf some of the eye-popping price tags from 2014. The current owners also broke records when they bought the tower in 2004 for $840 million. It's another sign of the real estate resurgence for downtown properties. Consider the $850 million deal to nab 300 North LaSalle Street, or the record-breaking sale of OneEleven. Completed in 1973 as the Sears Tower, the building was the world’s tallest for 23 years until Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers outreached Sears by a hair. Willis got its current name in 2009 as part of an agreement with London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings, though many Chicagoans steadfastly refer to it by its original name. Designed by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Rahman Khan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the building's powerful silhouette and distinctive expression of its bundled-tube structural system have made it a defining feature of the Chicago skyline. Willis is currently 84 percent leased. Its two largest tenants are United Airlines and law firm Schiff Hardin, who both have their corporate headquarters there. If the deal goes down, future owners would likely explore ways to lease new space—occupancy has risen in recent years as downtown neighborhoods have begun to attract more jobs and residents.