Clean Technology Tower: Elegant Mix of Biomimicry, Wind Design + Solar Power

Clean Technology Tower If you haven't noticed, Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill have been showing off some seriously green designs since leaving SOM* — this building is another such example.  One of their newest projects, Clean Technology Tower, builds on principles of biomimicry and utilizes technology and building systems to interact with the surrounding environment.  As you'll notice from the renderings below, wind turbines are located at the building's corners to capture wind at its highest velocity as it accelerates around the building.  The number of turbines in the structure increases as you climb up towards the apex, where there's a veritable wind farm!  Also at the top of the skyscraper, where winds are at a maximum, is a domed double roof cavity that captures air for the wind farm.  The dome itself is also clad in photovoltaic cells that harness the sun's energy.

Located near public and private transportation, Clean Technology Tower will house roughly 1.8 million sf of office and 300k sf of hotel space.  Although I'm not sure of the green skyscraper's precise location, Smith + Gill promises unparalleled views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River from the dome atrium.  Imagine working in a building where you can take the elevator to the top, watch the turbines whirl away, and see the entire city.  It doesn't get much better than that. 

*When Smith and Gill worked at SOM, I understand they contributed to the design of Pearl River Tower, which is also an innovative tower designed to capitalize on wind and solar power.  We also talked about Masdar Headquarters a couple of weeks ago, which is the world's first mixed-use positive energy building.  Find Smith and Gill, and you'll find innovative, green architecture. 

Clean Technology Tower

Clean Technology Tower

Clean Technology Tower

Clean Technology Tower

Clean Technology Tower Top


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  • Tetsuo

    “precise location” is pretty important. If that thing is in downtown Chicago then there will be lots of comparably sized buildings around it – very unlike the rendering above.

  • Dan

    Tetsuo makes an important point, the buildings location will determine the wind flow characteristics. A building will need to be designed to be site-specific in order to optimize wind capture (i.e. maximizing mass flow rate, while minimizing turbulent flow).

    CPD modeling programs exist that can simulate complex urban environment and thereby determine if indeed a chosen sight presents a suitable location for a given design.

    To make this kind of thing work, architectural form will be tightly constrained by the aerodynamics needed to make the structure yield wind energy.

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