Everything is changing thanks to new technology, and that includes the design and development of buildings. Technology now gives designers the most accurate data required to pull together the most amazing structures.
The building’s use, the climate, the materials, anything that could impact the needs and nature of the structure must be considered. Alongside Oasys, specialists in column design software, we travel around the world to look at the top most advanced buildings.
The tallest: Burj Khalifa: Known as both the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Dubai, this structure is the tallest in the world, standing at an incredible 2,722 ft. Starting construction in 2004 and finalising the project in 2008, many decisions had to be made to ensure that this neo-futurism structure was able to serve its purpose, acknowledging that it would be a free-standing building and understanding the hot climate it would be situated in.
Water is pumped to skyscrapers like the Burj Khalifa through an underground water network. This water is sea water that has been turned into fresh water by desalination plants. When the water hits the Burj, it is distributed to every corner of every floor on every level. However, with 163 floors, this can become a complicated process, which shows us just how special the Burj Khalifa actually is in terms of design.
It was noted by the building’s architects that using one pump for the skyscraper’s water supply would require extreme pressure to cover the structure’s towering heights. To counter this problem, they came up with a plan to help the water flow up the building in different stages.
The building holds multiple 200,000-gallon tanks up and down the structure, which receive water from a reservoir located on the 40th floor. This reservoir is connected to the water line in the tower’s basement. As the water reaches the top, the water then travels back down under its own weight — it is said that 946,000 litres of water are supplied per day which also helps the building stay cool in the hot climate.
It is vital that the building is kept cool, due to its location. Therefore, another water supply — an ice-chilled water system which is the first of its kind to be used in the Middle East — has also been implemented to enable substantial energy savings.
Built for the elements: Taipei 101: The Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world before being surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in 2008. But the structure has held other records too. Up until 2016, the structure had the fastest elevator on the planet, which could travel from the 5th to 89th floor in 37 seconds!
The Taipei sits among Taiwan’s already impressive array of buildings, like the traditional Fort Provintia and the futuristic, comic-book-worthy Tuntex Sky Tower. But what makes it so spectacular? Starting construction in 1999 and ending in 2004, the Taipei has 101 floors (if the name had not given it away) and is 1,666 ft in height — but the environmental factors that took over its design has changed the way we build for good.
With typhoons and other natural disasters a fairly regular occurrence, buildings in Taiwan must be built to stand the potential damage. When it comes to Taipei 101, the structure can withstand high winds of 134 mph, which is due to the model prioritising resistance through the use of curtain walls, protected glass and high-performance steel. The walls can provide heat and ultraviolet protection by blocking external heat by 50%.
The building consists of 36 columns of steel, eight of which are known as mega columns which have 10,000 pounds of concrete per inch. Within Taipei 101, there are outrigger trusses every eight floors which connect to the columns within the exterior to ensure secure resistance from probable natural disasters in and around Taiwan.
Solar-powered: Apple Park, Campus 2: Pioneer of technology and one of the world’s biggest influencers, Apple recently relocated its offices. Worth a staggering $234.7bn, the company, which is now one of the biggest on the planet, was able to invest a further $5bn into a new building and move its tremendous workforce into a circular futuristic structure. The new office-space, which opened in April 2017 midway through construction, is made up of 175 acres — and is even bigger than The Pentagon.
The building sports an incredible roof design, made entirely of solar panels. The solar panels are capable of generating 17 megawatts of power (75% during peak daytime) and the company has aims to make the complex entirely powered by renewable energy in the future. Another four megawatts are powered through the use of biofuel and natural gas within the complex, using Bloom Energy Servers which are popular within the Californian region, with Google, Yahoo and Wal-Mart using them, too.
In-keeping with its efficiency, the building was designed to utilise HVAC, natural heating, ventilation, and air control. To achieve this, air is allowed to flow freely between the inside and outside of the building, which can help assist for nine months of the entire year — highlighting the importance of such features in the DNA of design.
Technology will only continue to grow, and with it, the scope of builds will become ever more complex and incredible. For example, London is set to have 13 new skyscrapers by 2026 — we know that these will be designed to uphold the ethical requirements for a modern-day structure.