On Monday, April 30 the CTBUH United Kingdom Chapter held the event “Exporting Tall,” hosted by Arup at their central London headquarters. The event aimed to enlighten on the challenges and opportunities of designing tall buildings in countries outside the UK.
The evening featured presentations from William Algaard, Structural Director and Tall Building Leader, Arup; Jonas Upton-Hansen, Founder and Architect, UHA London; and Lawrie Nisbet, Managing Director and Lighting Architect, LDPi. The presentations were followed by an interesting and discursive Q&A session.
William Algaard began by using three recent projects to highlight the unique challenges posed by designing abroad. He expressed that a successful project fundamentally relies on close collaboration with local partners and that international firms are there to add value. This added value was demonstrated on tall building projects in Mexico (Torre BBVA), Colombia (ATRIO) and Taiwan, all of which are under construction or completed.
Jonas Upton-Hansen continued the discussion, focusing on recent projects in India. He highlighted the opportunities that emerging markets provide for smaller practices, allowing them to work on much large projects than the local market. However, the challenges of the working environment, including local code provisions (especially with respect to daylighting and natural ventilation) often force the design away from what might be done closer to home.
Lawrie Nisbet concluded the formal presentations for the evening. Lawrie spoke about the influence of the local surroundings on a project and about the difficulties in influencing a client’s preconceptions on how they envision their project.
The questions prompted interesting discussions on the payback of working abroad and emphasised the importance of having strong local collaborators.
The pre- and post-presentation networking drinks provided a platform for further discussion on building tall as well as getting to know one another.
The next event will be hosted by NBBJ architects and will focus on the influence sight lines have on the design of tall buildings in London.