Architects are hyper-focused on energy efficiency in new construction, and glass plays a major role in that goal. A new approach to glass building design in the Beijing Greenland Center may help conserve energy while providing a unique appearance. Chicago-based architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) recently designed a glass building that uses trapezoidal glass panels to control the way sunlight enters the building.
Glass building designs display creativity
The Beijing Greenland Center is a 55-story mixed use commercial and residential space. The building’s glass façade was inspired by a bas relief technique and features angled trapezoidal panels with alternating orientations. The visual effect, when viewed from the ground, makes the building appear somewhat like a cheese grater. Thanks to the self-shading façade, the building’s solar heat gain is reduced. SOM aimed to reduce the building’s energy consumption by 30% compared to its similarly situated flat-façade neighbors, but the jury is still out on exactly how energy efficient the new design is.
SOM has been involved in a number of innovative glass building designs that experiment with shape and positioning to control solar gain without sacrificing light transmission. SOM has designed a number of glass buildings in China, including the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, the Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Zifeng Tower in Nanchang, the Hebin Theater Performing Arts Center in Guiyang, the Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 2 and the China World Trade Center 3A in Beijing, among others.
The company has also produced a number of landmark glass building projects in the United States, including 680 Folsom in San Francisco; 1 World Trade Center in New York City; 7 World Trade Center in New York City; the John Hancock Building in Chicago; Burr Street Elementary School in Fairfield, CT; Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland; CA and the New United States Courthouse in Los Angeles, CA.
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Photo Credit: SOM, via FreeImages.com