Skyscraper of the Day: Meet The Tianjin CTF Centre

Tianjin Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre is a 530 meter tall supertall skyscraper in Tianjin, China, it is the eighth tallest building in the world and holds the distinction of being the tallest building with fewer than 100 floors.

The tower is designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merril, a firm specializing in supertall skyscrapers since the mid 20th century. The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre is located in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA), an outer district of Tianjin, China. The design uses undulating curves to subtly express three programmatic elements while presenting a bold monolithic expression on the skyline. The skyscraper houses office space, luxury serviced apartments, and a hotel. By stacking reducing floor plates, the tower tapers dramatically to minimize the surface area exposed to wind, sun, and moisture. The gently undulating curves of the façade subtly denote the integration of the three distinct programs within a singular smooth object. Research by the SOM has shown that lateral forces due to vortex shedding can be controlled by tapering the vertical profile of the tower and softening any sharp corners in plan. The façade reinforces the curvature of the tower form and creates a shimmering texture over the building’s surface. The crystalline-like curtain wall stretches from the suspended glass canopies at each of the lobbies to the dematerialized, megacolumn-looped crown and presents a bold expression of a comprehensive, integrated design on the Tianjin skyline.

The gently curving glass skin conceals eight sloping columns that lie behind the primary bends of the elevation. Integral to resolving gravity and lateral loads, these sloping columns increase the structure’s stiffness in response to seismic concerns. Strategically placed, multi-story wind vents combined with the aerodynamic shape of the tower dramatically reduce wind forces by reducing vortex shedding.

The 389,980-square-meter project has been designed to LEED® Gold standards. Sustainable strategies include a high-performance envelope, optimized daylighting, and green landscaping.

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