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Greenland Group Suzhou Center Skyscraper | SOM Chicago

Natural Light Skyscraper the winner proposal for the Greenland Group Suzhou Center competition, in Wujiang, China designed by SOM Chicago

The Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) proudly announces that it has won an international competition to design the Greenland Group Suzhou Center Tower, in Wujiang, China. The 358-meter supertall tower will become the defining visual landmark for both the new Wujiang lakefront development and for the city as a whole.

Greenland Group Suzhou Center - Aerial view

Ross Wimer, SOM Design Director states, “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.”

Greenland Group Suzhou Center - Night view

The 75-level building is designed to accommodate a complex mixed-use program including office, service apartments, hotel and retail on a 37,000 sm site. Sited prominently along Taihu Lake in the Jiangsu Province of China, the building’s curved, tapered form unifies the office, hotel and residential uses within a single volume. The tower features a 30-story tall operable window corresponding to the hotel and residential floors, that helps drive the environmental performance of the development.

The tower’s form is optimized to harness natural forces in and around the site to maximize its performance. High performance design engineering has been integrated into its design.
Bill Baker, SOM Structural Engineering Partner, comments, “This unique tower expresses the strength of the building in a way that is both interesting and structurally functional.”

The Wujiang Greenland Tower’s composite core and outrigger structural system use proven cost-effective construction techniques, while its unique split-core configuration of the upper floors increases the efficiency of the building structure. By placing half of the building core program on each side of the lobby and interconnecting them with structural steel braces, the combined core becomes more effective than a typical center core system while also creating a dramatic tall lobby space within.

The atrium is a key design feature of the building. It maximizes daylight penetration, facilitates mixed mode ventilation in the lobbies and public spaces, and acts as a fresh air supply source for the tower. The building is oriented to harness both the stack effect and prevailing winds via the east and west façades of the atrium.

Major high performance energy saving strategies include a high performance façade, utilizing cooler outside air at higher levels for natural ventilation of the atrium, natural light harvesting using daylight responsive controls, lighting energy optimization using efficient fixtures and occupant controls, energy recovery systems, demand controlled ventilation, and an onsite energy center with combined heat and power plant to capitalize on the overall load diversity of the development.

Luke Leung, SOM Director of Sustainable and MEP Engineering, adds, “The design of the Greenland Group Suzhou Center utilizes an atrium as the ‘lung’ of the building to provide ventilation and will incorporate a series of high-efficiency measures with the objective to achieve a 60% savings in energy consumption compared to a conventional US high rise and a 60% reduction in potable water use.”

SOM Managing Partner Jeffrey McCarthy states, “This exciting new commission embodies SOM’s interdisciplinary commitment to elegant high-performance design. The Greenland Group Suzhou Center is designed not only for efficiency of construction and operation but to make a strong skyline statement about Wujiang and its bright future.”

The Greenland Group Suzhou Center is SOM Chicago’s sixth project with the Greenland Group. The firm’s work began with Zifeng Tower, formerly Nanjing Greenland Financial Center, in Nanjing, China and was completed in 2009. Five additional supertall projects designed by Wimer for the Greenland Group are the 56-story Zhengzhou Greenland Plaza in Zhengzhou, China, the 59-story Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Central Plaza, Parcel A in Nanchang, China, the 56-story Nanchang Zifeng Tower in Nanchang, China and the 55-story Greenland Dawangjing Supertall Project in Dawangjing, China.

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