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January 2019


Luma Bendini

Old vs. New: wind effects around 6 iconic buildings

More than 2,000 years of history. Six iconic constructions. Let’s analsze how different structures affect wind behaviour and their surroundings.

Parthenon, Athens

432 BC
Height: 14 m

Modular columns made transport easy and also have great seismic performance properties. The free-standing columns with structural beams are not the first structures of their kind, but it’s definitely a milestone for the construction of open spaces and robust structures.

1-parthenon- athens-cfd-simulation

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), Istanbul

Year: 1616
Height: 43 m

The tall slender towers are called minarets, and are a trademark for mosque architectures. In Turkey, wind storms are responsible for many cases of minarets’ damages. So, its preservation became a safety issue in many locations. In November 2013, one minaret was discovered to have shifted five centimetres and it was submitted for restoration.


City Hall, Stockholm

Year: 1923
Height: 106 meters

Buildings from 30 to 50-metres in height have enough potential to create wind effects such as the Downwash Effect – when the building acts like a funnel, pushing large volumes of wind downwards and creating an uncomfortable area for pedestrians. Standing at more than 100 metres tall and housed in a cold Nordic capital, that’s not a good scenario to face around Stockholm City Hall.


St. Mary Axe (The Gherkin), London

Year: 2003
Height: 180 m

The overall cylindrical shape allows for wind to move around the buildings without being forced downwards. The fact that the tower has a larger circumference in the middle, reaching its max diameter at the 16th floor also helps minimise winds at its smaller base.


Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Year: 2010
Height: 830 m

The wind force increases as the height of the tower increases. By changing the profile of the building (there are 3 different plane shapes) the boundary layer of wind that is formed around the building is turbulent. The design of the tower confuses the wind force.


Shanghai Towers, Shanghai

Year: 2014
Height: 632 m

Its twisted form reduces wind loads by 24%, offering significant savings in overall building material. That’s $58 million in savings. Those involved in the development of Shanghai Tower are well known for studying building aerodynamics in order to increase cost efficiency while maintaining comfort and safety.


Useful links:

An introduction to wind climate assessment

How to perform a wind simulations with Ingrid Cloud

Ingrid Cloud Demo

How accurate is a wind simulations?