Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 

The Structural Design of Tall and Special Buildings:
CTBUH 2nd Special Edition: Tall Sustainability
(Volume 17, Issue 5, Pages 853-1002, Dec 2008).


The Structural Design of Tall and Special Buildings
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Click here to view the papers.

The papers contained in this year’s CTBUH 2nd Special Edition of the The Structural Design of Tall and Special Buildings continue the theme and dialogue started at the
CTBUH 8th World Congress in Dubai
—that of ‘Sustainability in the Context of Tall’—and extend it to embrace numerous building disciplines, in keeping with the intention to make the CTBUH special edition a multidisciplinary publication. We thus open the journal with Gordon Gill’s vision of ‘A tall, green future’, demonstrating some of the architectural thought behind the groundbreaking environmental work that his practice, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects, is producing for sustainable cities around the world. The next paper shifts to the other end of the building programme and gives us the contractor’s perspective on actually making these designs a built reality, with ‘The builder’s role in delivering sustainable tall buildings’ from Michael Deane of Turner Construction.
     
Michael’s conclusion, based on Turner’s experiences, that if you get the team and systems right and in place early enough, sustainable design does not have to come at a cost premium yet can bring significant financial benefit, should serve as a major wake up call to those still sitting on the sustainable fence in the building industry.

There are two papers in the special edition focussed on sustainable structural engineering. The first, by Prof Mahjoub Elnimeiri and Prairna Gupta at the Illinois Institute of Technology: ‘Sustainable structures of tall buildings’, gives an overview of some of the possibilities for the structural engineering profession to contribute to greater sustainability, highlighted with some telling case studies, whilst Kyoung Sun Moon, a professor at Yale, gives us a detailed analysis of reducing the volume and content of material in tall building structures: ‘Sustainable structural engineering strategies for tall buildings’— surely one of the most significant ways structural engineers can contribute to overall building sustainability.

The conservation and creation of energy in all buildings, not just tall buildings, is accepted as a key to counteracting the effects of climate change. Though many studies have been done on the potential for harnessing energy in tall buildings (for example, through the harnessing of wind energy at height, deftly explained in Peter Irwin and RWDI colleagues’ paper: ‘Wind and tall buildings—negatives and positives’, very few studies have embraced the concept of the enormous differences in environment that can occur between the top and bottom of a tall building. Luke Leung and Peter Weismantle’s paper on ‘Sky sourced sustainability: the potential advantages of building tall’ is perhaps the most ground-breaking of all the papers contained in this special issue as, on the back of their experiences detailed-designing the Burj Dubai and other supertall towers at Skidmore Owings and Merrill, they take us through an eye-opening journey through the temperature, pressure and humidity variants experienced by the envelope of a single building, and how this can potentially be put to good use in the building’s operation.

Further detailed studies follow in the second half of the special edition, focussing on a particular aspect/discipline of tall buildings. Dario Trabucco’s insightful work into elevators and service cores: ‘An analysis of the relationship between service cores and the embodied/running energy of tall buildings’ presents an interesting study of the factors that have affected service core design historically, and how the core can contribute positively or negatively to the carbon footprint of a tall building now, whilst Dong-Hwan Ko and colleagues at the Illinois Institute of Technology present a study on the effective use of daylighting in tall buildings, especially with respect to the LEED version 2.2 requirement: ‘Assessment and prediction of daylight performance in high-rise office buildings: daylight factor and the LEED 2.2 requirement’. Peter Swift and Matthew Stead of AECOM take us through the complex implications of increasing sustainable strategies in tall buildings on the acoustic performance of interior spaces with their paper ‘Tall acoustics and the challenges of sustainability’. What many of these papers show is the interconnectedness of many of these issues—and the knock-on effect of one disciplinary decision on another.

The final paper in the journal, Lester Partridge and Eoin Loughnane’s (also of AECOM) ‘Committed carbon—upgrading existing buildings’, reminds us of a vital facet in the struggle to counter climate change. Whilst most of the building industry’s attention seems to be focused on new build and the buildings yet to be conceived or constructed, the contribution to climate change of the millions of existing buildings, often with their inefficient MEP systems and inappropriate skins, is all too often neglected. This is clearly a mistake, since the single biggest difference globally would be made tomorrow if the inefficient energy operation of the existing building stock was tackled in a significant way. This is especially true of the existing tall building stock, with their large volumes of committed embodied energy and the difficulty often associated with dismantling/demolishing such buildings. Partridge and Loughnane’s case study on the upgrade of an existing tall building in Sydney, Australia presents an illuminating picture of the possibilities and benefi ts, and is an avenue that most, if not all, tall building owners will have to consider at some stage in the future.

Above all, this special edition on Tall Building Sustainability captures a snapshot of current ‘best practice’ in most disciplines and, as such, will hopefully be a useful insight to all readers connected with tall buildings, irrespective of profession. For us, it is the start of the dialogue rather than the end, on these issues. We hope you shall not hesitate to dialogue with us in response!



Antony Wood   Editorial: Tall sustainability - an urban imperative? (p 853-856)
Antony Wood

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Gordon Gill   A tall, green future (p 857-868)
Gordon Gill

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Michael Deane   The builder's role in delivering sustainable tall buildings (p 869-880)
Michael Deane

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Mahjoub Elnimeiri   Sustainable structure of tall buildings (p 881-894)
Mahjoub Elnimeiri, Prairna Gupta

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 Kyoung Sun Moon   Sustainable structural engineering strategies for tall buildings (p 895-914)
Kyoung Sun Moon

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Peter Irwin   Wind and tall buildings: negatives and positives (p 915-928)
Peter Irwin, John Kilpatrick, Jamieson Robinson, Andrea Frisque

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Luke Leung     Sky-sourced sustainability - the potential environmental advantages of building tall (p 929-940)
Luke Leung, Peter Weismantle


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Dario Trabucco   An analysis of the relationship between service cores and the embodied/running energy of tall buildings (p 941-952)
Dario Trabucco

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    Assessment and prediction of daylight performance in high-rise office buildings (p 953-976)
Dong-Hwan Ko, Mahjoub Elnimeiri, Raymond J. Clark

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Peter Swift   Tall building acoustics and the challenges of sustainability (p 977-988)
P. B. Swift, M. J. Stead

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Lester Partridge   Committed carbon - upgrading existing buildings (p 989-1002)
Lester E. Partridge, Eoin J. Loughnane

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