High Rise Residential Building Complex in Beijing

In the past, a good living environment in China implied ample space between buildings filled with trees and grass. High-rise buildings have been regarded as a symbol of modernity and luxury. A typical building consisting of such residential units is shown in Figure 8. Jiang et al (1999) made a detailed analysis on the design and found that such a design is not sustainable in terms of energy efficiency and Chinese culture. The study showed that the best design would be made up of low-rise buildings with varying-sized courtyards. This would avoid a harsh winter wind, let the winter sun in, and promote the use of natural ventilation.

Figure 6 Wind distribution around Stata Center at the ground level (dark - low velocity and light - high velocity)
Figure 7 Wind distribution around Stata Center (zoom-in): (a) with a glass roof and (b) without a glass roof (dark - low velocity and light - high velocity)
Highrise Center Green

Figure 8 Beijing Star Garden - a high-rise residential Figure 10 The unit layout in the four new towers allows more development effective natural ventilation in the summer (north is up)

Figure 8 Beijing Star Garden - a high-rise residential Figure 10 The unit layout in the four new towers allows more development effective natural ventilation in the summer (north is up)

Figure 9 Wind distribution on the building site: (a) original design, and (b) design with four proposed towers to the north (to the right) (red indicates high velocity, yellow - moderate velocity, and blue - low velocity)

Figure 9 Wind distribution on the building site: (a) original design, and (b) design with four proposed towers to the north (to the right) (red indicates high velocity, yellow - moderate velocity, and blue - low velocity)

As is the case with many downtown areas with skyscrapers, high-rise buildings sometimes create a wind tunnel effect that is very uncomfortable to pedestrians. The proposed design for Beijing Star Garden forms a wind tunnel effect on the site with prevailing winter winds from the north. Figure 9a shows the wind distribution on the site with a north wind from the right. There are a few places that have very high wind speeds (see red arrows in Figure 9a). The developers did not adopt our suggestion of lowering the building height and creating courts to eliminate "wind tunnel" problems and enhance contact between neighbors. Instead, they sought to change the shape of the four towers in the north to eliminate high wind spots. The new design used a different building shape to deflect the wind to the westward direction. Figure 9b shows the airflow distribution with a north wind under the new design of the four towers that reduces areas of high winds.

Of course, wind is not the only factor in producing an energy-efficient building design. Changing the tower shape may have an impact on the desire to have south-facing windows. This can be achieved through architectural design, as shown in Figure 10. The thin structure also allows the use of natural ventilation in the summer. See Chapter 11, Case Study Two - Beijing Star Garden for more information.

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