Technology is causing everything to evolve and the way we’re building is changing too. In this digital age, architects and project managers are able to make more informed decisions about the structure of the building, taking into account many different factors including climate, materials and overall building use.
Oasys, who provide building design software, look at some of the most advanced buildings across the globe:
The Burj Khalifa, Dubai
This building stands as the tallest structure in the world at an astonishing 2,722ft and is also known as the Burj Dubai. With construction beginning in 2004 and completed by 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 located in.
The city of Dubai relies heavily on desalination plants. These retrieve sea water and turn it fresh, which is then pumped to skyscrapers, such as the Burj Khalifa, through a series of underground water networks. 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.
When deciding on a pump that could be used in the Burj Khalifa, architects decided that one pump would be dangerous because forcing water high up would take extreme pressure, which could then lead the pipes to explode. To counter this problem, they came up with a plan to help the water flow up the building in different stages.
Beginning at the tower basement, water flows up to a reservoir station on the 40th floor, which then continues to a series of 200,000-gallon tanks until it reaches the top of the building. 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.
A priority for many designers and architects in Dubai is keeping the building cool. 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.
Taipei 101, Taiwan
Next up is the Taipei 101, situated in Taiwan. A platinum certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) build, it was once the tallest building in the world before the Burj Khalifa surpassed it in 2008 - but the Taipei 101 did not only compete in height. 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 island of Taiwan is home to other spectacular edifices, too. From traditional builds, like Fort Provintia, to ultra-modern constructions, like the Tuntex Sky Tower which looks as though it belongs in Batman’s Gotham City. But what makes it so spectacular? Starting construction in 1999 and ending in 2004, the Taipei has 101 floors (if its 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.
Architects in Taiwan must make consideration for the frequency of natural disasters, including earthquakes and typhoons. 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 per cent.
What is the building made of? Taipei 101 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.
Apple Park, Campus 2, California
Apple, one of the largest tech companies in the world, has recently moved premises. Worth a staggering $234.7 billion, the company, which is now one of the biggest on the planet, was able to invest a further $5 billion 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.
What makes Apple Park, Campus 2 so special? The entire roof is made of solar panels, which has allowed it to become one of the most efficient buildings in the world in terms of energy saving. The solar panels are capable of generating 17 megawatts of power (75 per cent 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.
To achieve natural heating ventilation and air control, 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 its design.
As further technology advancements are made, it’s likely that new outstanding buildings will be created - and adapted to today’s needs. 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.
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