JAN 2019, Luma Bendini

Old vs New: wind effects around 6 iconic buildings

More than 2.000 years of history. 6 iconic constructions. Let’s analyze how different structures affect wind behavior and their surroundings.

Parthenon, Athens

432 BC
Height: 14 m

Modular columns made transport easy and 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.

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), Istanbul

Year: 1616
Height: 43 m

The tall slender towers, called minarets, are a trademark for mosques’ 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 centimeters and it was submitted to restoration.

City Hall, Stockholm

Year: 1923
Height: 106 meters

Buildings from 30 to 50-meter 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 creating a unconfortable area for pedestrians. With more than 100 meters tall and being in a cold Nordic capital, that’s not a good scenario to face around the Stockholm City Hall.

St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), London

Year: 2003
Height: 180 m

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

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Year: 2010
Height: 830 m

The wind force increases as the height of the tower increases, so 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

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