Technology has made it possible for us to design, create, and maintain structures that were not feasible in years gone by. With the additional support of artificial intelligence, architects can make informed choices regarding the building’s structure. Variables such as materials, use, and climate can all be factored in quickly by modern technology.
Together with Oasys, who offer retaining wall solutions, we take a look at some of the best examples of advanced architecture in the world.
Apple Park, Campus 2
One of the most well-known companies in the world, tech titan Apple has moved to its new offices lately. Worth a staggering $234.7bn, the company, which is now one of the biggest on the planet, was able to invest a further $5bn 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.
This building’s unique trait comes from its roof. The whole structure’s roof is made from solar panels, which makes it one of the most efficient buildings the world has ever seen, in terms of energy saving. The solar panels are capable of generating 17 megawatts of power (75% 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.
The building’s design also prioritised the use of natural heating, ventilation, and air control (HVAC).To achieve this, 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 design.
The Burj Khalifa
At 2,722 ft, the Burj Khalifa (also known as the Burj Dubai) is a sight to behold as the tallest structure in the world. Starting construction in 2004 and finalising the project in 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 situated in.
A series of underground water networks delivers fresh water, which has been processed be desalination plants from sea water, to the whole city of Dubai, the skyscrapers included. 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.
The group of architects who planned the structure realised that using one pump for the skyscraper’s water supply could prove dangerous, due to the need for high pressure to send the water higher up. This pressure could lead to the pipes exploding. To counter this problem, they came up with a plan to help the water flow up the building in different stages.
The water supply starts in the basement, then flows up to a 40th floor reservoir station. This station then pushes the water on to a series of 200,000-gallon tanks all the way to 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.
As a desert city, keeping buildings cool in Dubai is vital. 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.
The Taipei 101
The previous title-holder for the tallest building in the world, the Taipei 101 is a platinum certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) build. Up until 2016, the structure had the fastest elevator on the planet, which could travel from the 5th to 89th floor in 37 seconds!
Taiwan has a multitude of different structures to its name, from the traditional Fort Provintia, to the super-modern Tuntex Sky Tower. But what makes it so spectacular? Starting construction in 1999 and ending in 2004, the Taipei has 101 floors (if the 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.
Just as the Burj Khalifa’s architects had to consider the building’s need to be kept cool, the architects of the Taipei 101 had to consider Taiwan’s affinity for natural disasters, such as 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%.
The Taipei 101 has a structure that includes 36 steel columns. Eight of these are known as mega columns, and they 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.
Technology will only continue to grow, so we are set to see even more projects come to fruition that balance a design aesthetic with vital survival features. 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.