Friday, September 14, 2007

Pearl River Tower

It is amazing to see how the headquarters of the Tobacco Company in Guangzhou was feeling responsible about our planet and selected a sustainable design over seven design firms from four countries. The new city of Guangzhou is located at the north end of the Pearl River delta in China. It is the capital and the sub-provincial city with economic, scientific, political, and cultural life. This ancient city, with more than 2, 800 years of history, was the best place to build a modern structure within a peaceful natural setting to show the beautiful side of the contrast between modern and traditional architecture.

The Pearl River Tower is a skyscraper that is under construction in Guangzhou, China. The intended office complex, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), consists of 303 meters and 69 floors, starting in 2006 and planned for completion in autumn 2009. The tower has the possibility of being one of the most environmentally friendly buildings. This building not only has an incredible aesthetically, but also has special energy conservation and arguably it will become China's first zero-energy skyscraper in 2009.

Roger Frechette, Director of MEP Engineering, and Russell Gilchrist claim this net-zero-energy skyscraper can generate more energy than it uses. As a fact, it will use three natural power sources to get its energy; sun, water and wind. In addition, the structure is being designed with energy conservation mentality and designers attempt to create an environmentally friendly building by including solar and wind turbines, humidity and rainwater collectors in the structure.

The goal of the design was to make an incredible ultra green tower with the most sustainability as possible. This mentality causes some major design mechanism in the building as follows: First, for reducing the structure’s energy use, designers decided to rotate the structure to the east and take an advantage of sunlight while the late-day sun on the large, southern horizontal contact are minimized. Second, four wind turbines -two per each floor- were designed on two mechanical floors to convert the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical energy. The wind turbines use the current winds from the south, which create the negative pressure at the north side. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill estimate the turbines will generate 15 times more electricity than a usual wind generator. Third, double layer curtain-walls prevent gaining heat in the south side of the building. Fourth, “a radiant cooling system allows for the buildings HVAC system to be 1/5 the normal size, and also improves indoor air quality since the air is not recycled within the building.” In addition, it gives the possibility for the building to save extra space in each floor and to have 5 more floors at the end. Sixth, the mainly attractive characteristic of the building is a financial part. Between the decreased costs with due attention to lower energy requires and additional space which is available for rental this building is an economy construction to build.

The Pearl River Tower has lots of benefits behind its amazing look. Sustainable building, or power independency, will save the expenses of energy in long term such as the price of coal, power electricity, nuclear energy and other alternative sources. They leave a lighter footprint on the earth as well as accumulate the natural sources. It will help pollution and make our planet a better place to live. By incorporating the most recent technology on the building this will obtain the attention of corporations around the world and encourage them to use the same system.

When Roger Frechette, director of m/e/p sustainable engineering at SOM said “We knew the tower was going to get built with or without us, so we felt we might as well design it and make it as sustainable as possible,” he made a good statement about their work since it is a responsibility of all people to save the natural sources and grid energy. As a fact, this modern building has this possibility to take a big step in commercial building design and it can be a good example and model for future building. I personally think an architect can learn from this design and cut the costs of the building to the lower range by using the natural forces, this way we can guarantee that people of all range will get more familiar with the advantage of green design and the philosophy behind it and as soon as we can imagine they will start using that.

No comments: