Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH UK Event: Motorsport Technology Transferred to the Design of Towers
February 10, 2016
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LONDON – A packed audience of over 120 construction industry professionals came to hear how Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) – which has been used successfully for years in motorsport and aerospace – is being applied to the architecture and design of tall buildings and to discuss the opportunity for a more widespread application.

The event was hosted by CTBUH UK Chair Steve Watts, Partner, Alinea Consulting, with presentations by Nick Wirth, former F1 boss and design chief before founding Wirth Research, and Rob Rowsell, Engineering Manager at Wirth Research. 
Architecture, and specifically the design and development of tall buildings, is currently experiencing the same developmental challenge that the International Motorsport sector confronted around 8 years ago.  That challenge is – in a world of ever increasing demands for detailed information – the realization that the testing of a scale model in a wind tunnel may not provide all the detailed information required to positively inform the design and development process. ”Hi-Res” CFD is making valuable contributions towards proposed tall buildings within crowded cityscapes.  For example, recent high profile projects such as the 278-meter 22 Bishopsgate, PLP Architecture’s scheme in the heart of the City of London, have employed the technology.

City Planners are also becoming increasingly aware of the value of CFD. In many cases, they have started asking developers for independent CFD studies to verify the results of wind tunnel tests that are being presented as part of planning applications.
Nick Wirth, Owner & Founder, Wirth Research describes his experiences in aerodynamics and owning an F1 team.
Rob Rowsell, Engineering Manager, Wirth Research, discusses the transfer of CFD technology to other sectors
The day’s presentations provided a background to the development of CFD within the motorsport arena and its subsequent transfer to other specialist sectors, including architecture. Within the realms of architecture, CFD can assist with:

  1. Aerodynamic analysis of flows around tall buildings
  2. Master planning
  3. Pedestrian comfort studies
  4. Internal/External thermal models of naturally ventilated buildings
  5. Wind driven rain studies
  6. Pollutant dispersal studies
The speakers drew comparisons between the design challenges of managing air around fast moving racing cars on a crowded race track and fast moving air around buildings in crowded environments, concluding that the aerodynamic challenges were similar. They further demonstrated why the application of “Hi-Res” CFD is entirely relevant to the challenges of the built environment. Additionally, Wirth enthralled the audience by telling the story of his life as an aerodynamicist, owner of an F1 team, and chief designer for Benneton.
CTBUH UK Chair Steve Watts, Partner, Alinea Consulting, hosts the event discussion.
Over 120 construction industry professionals attended the event to learn about the applications of CFD technology

A lively Q&A session followed the presentations, with debates continuing over refreshments in the convivial atmosphere of the host’s premises, Grimshaw’s London studio. Attendants had a diverse set of questions. A sample of typical questions raised by the audience can be seen below:

    • Architects, engineers, developers, and planners are becoming more aware of developments in CFD, but what’s the difference between the CFD that we’ve known for years and “Hi-Res” CFD?
    • Is this higher level of science more relevant to the demands of creating tall urban habitats?
    • How do the results of CFD studies correlate with results from traditional wind tunnel tests?
    • Could CFD be used to model structural responses to wind?
    • Should there be a city-wide model to analyze wind effects on the urban habitat as a whole?

Many thanks to all those who attended, to the host, Grimshaw, and sponsor, Wirth Research.

Attendees network and continue discussions over refreshments after the event.
The event and ensuing netoworking session were held in Grimshaw's London studio.
First name Second name Company
Daniel Skidmore AECOM
David Cuckow AECOM
Ian Skelton AECOM
Robert Murphy AECOM
Edoardo Tibuzzi AKT II
Jeg Dudley AKT II
Jeroen Janssen AKT II
Lorenzo Greco AKT II
Rachel Coleman Alinea Consulting
Steve Mudie Alinea Consulting
Steve Watts Alinea Consulting
Haydn Thomas Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Natalia Maslennikova Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Nigel Earp Almacantar
Tim Neal Arcadis
Tom Gallagher Arcadis
Feras Al-Mukhtar Arup
Karim Dada Arup
Nigel Annereau Arup
Pablo Miro Arup
Steve McKechnie Arup
Simon Ziegler Blackland Capital
Jonathan Green BMT Fluid Mechanics
Alex Turpitt BMT Fluid Mechanics
Viktor Rohacs Bogle Architects
Gratien Regnault Bouygues UK
Jesse James Bouygues UK
Richard Elliott British Land
Joe Witchell Broadway Malyan
Stuart Bertie Broadway Malyan
James Shea Brookfield Multiplex
Jonathan Pascall Buro Four
Russell Doughty Buro Four
Pierre Saunal Create
Andrew Usher Grimshaw
Chris Spence Grimshaw
Diarmuid Bradley Grimshaw
Eduard Ross Grimshaw
Ewan Jones Grimshaw
Jacob Ebite Grimshaw
Joe Laslett Grimshaw
Jose Ricardo Sousa Grimshaw
Keith Brewis Grimshaw
Leandro Rotondi Grimshaw
Max Fawcett Grimshaw
Paolo Vimercati Grimshaw
Paul Fairey Grimshaw
Perry Hooper Grimshaw
Tom Chalmers Grimshaw
Ben Abel Hilson Moran
Dan Jestico Hilson Moran
Nigel Clark Hilson Moran
Vince Ugarow Hilson Moran
Sanjay Padhiar Hoare Lea
Javier Quintana Idom
James Andrew Influence Associates
Steve Carbert Jackson Coles
Nelio Freitas Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Simon Healey Mace
Matthieu Roure Meinhardt
Filip Kirazov Mott MacDonald
Viola Cambrie Mott MacDonald
Cheyenne Chong NBBJ
Charles deVoil Newforma
Jens Mueller QMUL
Simon Cloherty Robert Bird Group
Ruth Shilston RWDI
Aristodimos Komninos SOM
Rafail Bakolas SOM
Jess Paull Stephen Marshall Architects
Andrew Moore Sweett Group
Hong Ong Thornton Tomasetti
Les Postawa Thornton Tomasetti
Michael Roberts Thornton Tomasetti
Rebecca Jones Thornton Tomasetti
Ricardo Matel UHA London
Aidan Connell Waterman Group
Andrea Valentini Waterman Group
Bartosz Borowiak Waterman Group
Charlie Bowles Waterman Group
Enrique Moragas Waterman Group
Mayank Mehta Waterman Group
Mustafa Al-Rikabi Waterman Group
Patrick Gardiner Waterman Group
Temitope Adesanya Waterman Group
Tuan Huynh-Quoc Waterman Group
Voldemars Grodzis Waterman Group
Nick Plinston Wilkinson Eyre
Ben Leadsom Wirth Research
Chris Harley Wirth Research
David Dupont Wirth Research
Jerry Williams Wirth Research
Jon Winchester Wirth Research
Louise Wirth Wirth Research
Mark Fieldsend Wirth Research
Nick Wirth Wirth Research
Peter Soddy Wirth Research
Rob Rowsell Wirth Research
Simon Crompton Wirth Research
Gavin Wickens WSP Group
James Bertwistle WSP Group
Joshua Millar WSP Group
Mark O'connor WSP Group
Nhan Vo Zaha Hadid Archiitects
Alejandro Diaz Zaha Hadid Architects
Andrew Haas Zaha Hadid Architects
Marco Amoroso Zaha Hadid Architects
Marco Guardincerri Zaha Hadid Architects
Michele Pasca di Magliano Zaha Hadid Architects
Miron Mutyaba Zaha Hadid Architects
MohammadAli Mirzaei Zaha Hadid Architects
Pierandrea Angius Zaha Hadid Architects
Stefano Paiocchi Zaha Hadid Architects
Francesca Silvi
Georgio Albieri
Greg Atkins
Mattia Santi
Steve Cook