SKY SOHO in Shanghai, China. Marco Jacobs photo.



Located in the future Linkong Economic Park adjacent to Hongqiao Transportation Hub and in close proximity to Shanghai City Center, the mixed-use complex, comprising commercial offices and high-rise retail, is slated to be an iconic development and a key attractor for the region. The project is defined by four main towers composed of elongated elements tied together by a sinuous retail podium, walkways and bridges. Thornton Tomasetti provided façade engineering services, including the rationalization of the external surface geometry of the building ends to minimize the use of aluminum panels with double curvatures.

The envelope design is driven by high-performance thermal and acoustics criteria as well as the architect’s aesthetic requirements for a minimal and transparent façade. The building envelope consists of a fully unitized curtain wall system, which is a cost-effective and efficient solution to the large quantity of repeating façade elements that are required for the project. This solution also facilitates quality control as units are assembled off-site under factory controlled conditions, allowing for reduced work, simpler installation and greater on-site safety.

Sustainability features of the façade system include double-glazed units with spectrally selective coatings, thermal breakers and high performing insulation materials. Furthermore, external louvers at all levels are designed to minimize solar gains, mitigate glare and provide sun shading to the users which optimizes occupant comfort.

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Façade Materials & Systems

Curtain Wall

Our façade engineering teams advise clients on the best way to develop both conventional and innovative façade systems, applying our knowledge of structures, glazing technology, mechanical shade systems and thermal behavior. We provide design, detailing and engineering support for enclosures of any shape or size, from minimalist to high-tech. We also provide expertise in safety and security glazing, along with glass frits and reflective coatings.

Façade Materials & Systems

Glazing & Structural Glass

Glazing offers transparency that enhances a façade’s aesthetics and experience from both the interior and exterior. It provides light and a visual connection between the inside and outside. But designing with glass requires the deliberate balancing of light transmittance and the effects it has on energy performance and occupant comfort. Glazing design also requires careful consideration of material strength and safety. We provide a full range of design and engineering support for glazing and glass structures, from structural analyses to recommendations for aesthetics and energy performance. Our expertise in glazed-façade and structural-glass construction includes unitized aluminum frames, stick-built metal frames, steel cable supports, structural glass fin supports and glass stairs and balustrades.

Façade Materials & Systems


A variety of metals are used to wrap a building’s skin: aluminum, stainless steel, copper and zinc are notable examples. Each has its own special characteristics and can be used as rainscreen cladding, open screens, overhead enclosures or decorative elements with an array of possible shapes and configurations. We have used metals in a variety or project types, ranging from new façades to innovative re-cladding of existing structures. Our understanding of each material’s physical properties helps us provide designers with unique solutions that fulfill their design visions.