Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Towards Zero Carbon –
High Rise Design within the Chicago DeCarbonization Plan
Tongji University & Illinois Institute of Technology,  Linxue Li, Zhendong Wang, Antony Wood & Peng Du
Primary Output

Towards Zero Carbon: High-rise Design within the Chicago DeCarbonization Plan

Research Report, 2013
126 pages

This report is the summary of a collaborative design studio that focused on building high-rises that are positive and sustainable additions to the city's skyline, using the framework of the DeCarbonization Plan, which was produced by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture in 2009. It is available for download here.

See CTBUH Lecture and Studio Kick-Off at Tongji University
See the Tongji University Studio Visit to Chicago
See Studio Final Review
See Other CTBUH Related Events

This was a collaborative design studio undertaken by the College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP) at Tongji University, with assistance from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) and Permasteelisa Group. Using the framework of the DeCarbonization Plan, which was produced by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture in 2009 in response to the challenges faced by the city today, this comprehensive design studio is aimed at designing tall buildings which are positive additions to the city’s skyline – visually, urbanistically, and environmentally. Travelling studio kindly supported by:
The zero-carbon project kicked off in November, 2013, when the students and faculty members visited the project site at Wolf Point Chicago, a parking lot at the junction of two branches of the Chicago River owned by the Kennedy family (see Figure 1). This information-gathering process was influential in determining the context for design, the programmatic brief for the building, and the design process to follow. Site studies embraced the local (the direct site context of the building), the intermediate (since a tall building has a physical relationship with places far and wide in a city) and the global (the country and American culture as a whole).
Figure 1. The project site at Wolf Point, Chicago
After their return to China, the students continued developing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the project based on a consideration of five different aspects of sustainability – water resources, waste recycling, vertical farms, low-carbon life, and wind energy.

Water Tower
Mi Kaipeng, Wu Qing, Wang Yifan, and Han Yujia

The goal of this project was to maximize on collecting rainwater and re-using grey water. This was done through studies on several different architectural models, analysis of different shapes, studies of different rainwater harvesting methods and studies of the wind direction in Chicago affecting the impact of the rain on the building.

"Loop" of the Loop
Liu Jinrui, Hou Xiufeng, and Zhang Ziyue

This design was started with the attempts to achieve zero carbon. To accomplish this we focused on the topic of waste recycling and how to take advantage of the resources accumlated from the process. As a result from our research we came up with a ferris wheel structure to create a complex.

Vertical Village
Feng Feng, Zhang Qianqian, and Qian Ren

The Vertical Village stands for a new topology of high-rise building in the future. It provides a unique structure system and a totally new lifestyle for residents living in city. The Vertical Village is the one who wants to break the rules of high-rise and creates abundant space in the sky.

Low Carbon Life
Zhang Xiang Chen, Hu Qiang, and  Lei Yu

The more effective approach to low carbon Chicago, we believe, may be to encourage low-carbonlife and to cultivate low-carbon consciousness, rather than to depend on some kinds of low-carbon facilities. We hope to encourage people to live a low-carbonlife.

Ventus Tower
Xu Mengya, Jia Tingting, and Xu Zhonghua

Ventus Tower consists of three towers which are arranged organically to capture and utilize the wind power in the Wind City Chicago. The towers rotate regularly each layer so that different wind channels are formed to avoid wind on the bottom and capture wind on the top.