Structural Design Innovations for Tall Buildings

Peng Liu
Director
Arup, Beijing

One thing is certain about the future of the structural design and construction industry: technology is rapidly occupying a more prominent role. How the technological revolution takes shape, though, is still unclear. Will artificial intelligence make designers obsolete? Further, will it be possible to achieve synergy between exponential computational power and human ingenuity to create sustainable, livable, and beautiful future habitats? How does infinite data processing affect human creativity, intuition, experience, and compassion? By drawing upon lessons learned from leading the cutting-edge of structural design, methodologies, and technologies for over 50 years, a trajectory is plotted for the tall building industry from today to 2070 using case studies including the original World Trade Center, the recently completed 4 World Trade Center and new supertall developments currently under construction in Southeast Asia.

Lessons in structural success management include such key issues as establishing a thorough assessment of risk, establishing robust performance criteria, understanding the construction capabilities for each locale, new processes for design coordination (including implementing virtual reality into the design process), and providing thoughtful direction from design through to construction. The evolution of digital design informs a discussion on the innovations being driven by supertall construction, particularly the integration of tall buildings into increasingly dense and complex sites.