There’s just no stopping Skidmore, Owings + Merrill. They are the (as nominated by Jetson Green) Green Skyscraper Firm of the Year. I blogged about them in regards to the zero energy Pearl River Tower, which absolutely blows me away. Have you seen the thing? I also blogged about them on 9/11 because they designed the green Freedom Tower, which is going to be an architectural beacon of freedom and innovation for decades in the future. When it comes to sustainability and architectural excellence in skyscapers, SOM is the number one firm. That’s hands down.
SOM has an enormous portfolio of work in China and they are working on over 15 skyscraper projects there right now. Interestingly, it’s easier to be innovative in China because the climate lends itself to such behavior. Firms in the US are reluctant to take on commercial/security risk. They don’t want to tick off neighbors or trade unions either. China on the other hand wants to push the envelope. They have cheap materials and a desire to build green structures. They are a command economy, so there’s not much public outcry, even if the building is outlandish. Plus, global recognition helps their situation. I get heaps of search queries on my blog everyday for a post I did on the Pearl River Tower–that’s global recognition.
I’ve included some pictures of buildings that SOM has designed for construction in China. There’s too much to say about each, but one thing should be noted, however: these buildings are all going to be done in 2007-2008. There’s a quick turnaround time in China–they have the attitude to get things done. Notice the delay for buildings like this in the United States and query whether that has anything to do with (in comparison) innovation, politics, determination, or drive.
Nanjing Greenland will have irregularly-spaced slots for green space that "march vertically up the facade." Jinao Tower will be built with less steel than a traditional skyscraper. It will be built around a diagonal grid bracing system (similar to the one used for Hearst Tower of New York). Jinao Tower also features a double-skinned surface for solar shading and insulation. Each SOM buildling is chock full of innovation.
SOM Company Site
Not Innovative? SOM’s Skyscraper Projects in China Tell a Different Story [Architectural Record]