SOM Chicago Wins Competition to Design the Greenland Group Suzhou Center

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

“This design is the result of a serious interdisciplinary collaboration in our Chicago office,” says Ross Wimer, SOM design director states. “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-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.

According to the announcement, the tower’s form is optimized to harness natural forces in and around the site to maximize its performance and high performance design engineering has been integrated into its design.

In addition the announcement notes that the atrium is a key design feature of the building. It will be designed to maximize daylight penetration, facilitate mixed mode ventilation in the lobbies and public spaces, and act as a fresh air supply source for the tower. The building will be oriented to harness both the stack effect and prevailing winds via the east and west façades of the atrium.

High performance energy saving strategies include a high-performance façade, utilizing cooler outside air at higher levels for natural ventilation of the atrium, as well as natural light harvesting using daylight responsive controls.

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 percent savings in energy consumption compared to a conventional U.S. high rise and a 60 percent reduction in potable water use.”