SOM Wins International Competition in China to Design Sustainable Skyscraper

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP has won an international competition in China to design one of the most environmentally-sustainable buildings in the world, the Chicago-based architecture and engineering firm announced today.

SOM -- in cooperation with the Guangzhou Pearl River Engineering Construction Supervision Corp., and Guangzhou Design Institute -- will design Pearl River Tower, a 69-story corporate headquarters, for the CNTC Guangdong Company. The tower will be located in Guangzhou China, a subtropical port city of 6.6 million located 182 kilometers from Hong Kong.

"This project represents our commitment to sustainable design," SOM Managing Partner Thomas Kerwin said. "It also represents our commitment and spirit of mutual collaboration with China's design professionals, government and industry in pushing sustainable design best-practices."

Sleek and cutting-edge, Pearl River Tower will be an instant icon. SOM's design and engineering teams sought to create a visually-appealing building that produces as much energy as it consumes.

"The tower will absorb its environment and use it to its advantage," said project design architect, Gordon Gill of SOM. "It is a high performance instrument shaped by the sun and the wind."

The tower boasts an array of design and mechanical features. Winds directed into openings on the mechanical floor would power turbines that operate the tower's heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Solar collectors convert the sun's energy into electricity. Energy consumption is diminished by maximizing natural day-lighting, reducing solar gain in air conditioned spaces, retaining rainwater for consumption by HVAC systems and using the sun to heat the hot water supply. Stack venting, heat sinks and slab cooling cool the building.

SOM Consulting Design Partner for the tower Adrian D. Smith said the design "embodies the strategies of energy conservation and energy production we have endeavored to integrate into supertall projects for over a decade."

SOM was selected over seven design firms from four countries. CNTC Guangdong Company President Xiang Jin Cheng said the design "is the prototype for the intelligent building of the future -- highly efficient, sustainable and self sufficient."

Groundbreaking is scheduled for July 2006 with occupancy in fall 2009.

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