SOM Chicago wins competition to design the Wujiang Greenland Tower

SOM Chicago wins competition to design the Wujiang Greenland Tower

The Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has announced their victory in an international competition to design the Greenland Group Suzhou Center in Wujiang, China. The 358-meter tower’s efficient split-core configuration demands a double-take, as the “curved, tapered form unifies the office, hotel and residential uses within a single volume.”

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Ross Wimer, SOM Design Director states, “This design is the result of a serious interdisciplinary collaboration in our Chicago office. Like a high performance car, the digital modeling of aerodynamics was critical to the shaping of the building. The design team included structural and mechanical engineers from the very beginning and their input helped to define all aspects of the tower.”

© SOM | Crystal CG

Standing along the Taihu Lake on a 37,000 square meter site in the Jiangsu Province of China, the 75-level mixed-use building features a 30-story tall operable window that corresponds with the hotel and residential floors. This window has a significant impact in the environmental performance of the lakefront development.


Half of the program is placed on each side of the lobby and is interconnected with structural steel braces, increasing the efficiency of the building structure and creating a dramatic lobby space.


The atrium maximizes daylight penetration and facilitates mixed mode ventilation in the lobbies and public spaces while acting as a source of fresh air supply throughout the tower. The building is oriented to harness the stack effect and prevailing winds via the east and west facades of the atrium.


Luke Leung, SOM Director of Sustainable and MEP Engineering, adds, “The design of the Greenland Group Suzhou Center utilizes an atrium as the ‘lung’ of the building to provide ventilation and will incorporate a series of high efficiency measures with the objective to achieve a 60% savings in energy consumption compared to a conventional US high rise and a 60% reduction in potable water use.”

Image credit: © Kumaat Consulting & Innovation Inc.

Major high performance energy saving strategies include a high performance façade, utilizing cooler outside air at higher levels for natural ventilation of the atrium, natural light harvesting using daylight responsive controls, lighting energy optimization using efficient fixtures and occupant controls, energy recovery systems, demand controlled ventilation, and an onsite energy center with combined heat and power plant to capitalize on the overall load diversity of the development.

© SOM | Crystal CG

The Greenland Group Suzhou Center is the sixth collaboration with the Greenland Group and SOM Chicago.

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Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "SOM Chicago wins competition to design the Wujiang Greenland Tower" 18 Jan 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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