Chicago-based firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) recently won an international competition to design the Greenland Group Suzhou Center in Wujiang, China. Resembling the eye of a needle, the 358-meter skyscraper features a 30-story-high atrium and will become a defining visual landmark for the city.
Located beside Taihu Lake, the skyscraper will include offices, apartments, a hotel and shops. The tall atrium is a key design feature of the building. It maximizes daylight penetration, facilitates mixed mode ventilation in the lobbies and public spaces and acts as a fresh air supply source for the tower. The building is oriented to harness both the stack effect and prevailing winds via the east and west faades of the atrium.
Luke Leung, SOM Director of Sustainable and MEP Engineering, explains: "The design of the Greenland Group Suzhou Center utilizes an atrium as the 'lung' of the building to provide ventilation and will incorporate a series of high efficiency measures with the objective to achieve a 60% savings in energy consumption compared to a conventional US high rise and a 60% reduction in potable water use."