Wuhan Greenland Center in Wuhan, China. Rendering courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, photos courtesy Greenland Group.

Wuhan Greenland Center



Thornton Tomasetti provided façade and structural engineering services to the design architect of the Wuhan Greenland Center. The 125-story tower will consist of 202,000 square meters of office space, 60,000 square meters of luxury apartments and a 61,000-square-meter five-star hotel. The 600-meter-plus mixed-use structure will be the tallest building in China and the third tallest in the world.

The structural system consists of a composite concrete core with locally embedded steel plates, a combination that increases strength and enhances ductility. Outrigger trusses, as well as belt trusses, are placed at the mechanical levels and connect to the core or super columns. The floor system is a composite structure, consisting of concrete slab, metal deck and steel beam. This structural system is very popular, particularly in East Asia where concrete prices are much cheaper than steel. A composite column with embedded steel provides strength and ductility, and the composite floor system accelerates the construction process.

To reduce wind resistance and vortices action that builds up around super tall towers, the building features a tapered body and a domed top. A tapered structure reduces the forces at the top of the building, which results in reducing the overall wind forces and overturning moments.

The building’s all-glass façade wraps around a geometrically complex building shape featuring severe curvature. Using the 3D modeling tool Grasshopper, Thornton Tomasetti performed parametric modeling analysis and reconstruction of the façade surfaces, allowing for the practical development of curtain wall solutions for the façade’s warped surfaces. A penalization study was conducted to evaluate warpage, slope and pitch of the current configuration of façade panels, and to optimize for constructability and cost efficiency.

The exterior façade consists of three distinct façade types, each with its own design strategy. The majority of the façade is the “body,” which occurs at the office and hotel floors. For this portion, the architect aimed to develop an economic panelization strategy by stepping and rotating planar glass panels. The “dome” at the top of the body will be made entirely of slumped glass to achieve the smooth look of the architect’s design intent.

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