You’ve probably noticed how much the world is changing in terms of technology and digital advancements. But, did you know that the way that architects are building is changing, too? Architects and project managers are now 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.
So, what are the most advanced buildings and where do you need to visit to see them? Oasys, experts in retaining wall solutions and structural technology, investigate:
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
If you’ve ever travel to Dubai, take time to visit the Burj Khalifa. Commonly referred to as the Burj Dubai, it is the tallest structure in the world at an astonishing 2,722 ft. 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.
Dubai is a city that is reliant on the desalination of plants. This is to retrieve sea water and turn it into fresh water that 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 discussing the design of the building, architects decided that one water pump alone would be dangerous. This is 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.
Heading up from the tower basement, the 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.
Did you know that Dubai was in the desert? Because of this, it’s important that the building remains 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
Taipei 101 was once the tallest building in the world before the Burj Khalifa was built. 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 is where other amazing buildings are situated 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 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.
Architects in Taiwan must consider that the country is prone to natural disasters. 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%.
So, what is the building made of? The building 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
The next building on our list is home to tech-giant, Apple. 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.
Why is the building unique? 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% 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.
Natural heating, ventilation and air control were prioritised when designing this building. 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.
As advances are made in technology, it’s possible that we’ll see more buildings that are transformational in the design field. For example, London is set to have 13 new skyscrapers by 2026 — we know that these will be designed to uphold the ethical requirements of a modern-day structure.