High-Performance Design of Tall Buildings in Extreme Cold Climate

Yahya Jan
President, Design Director
NORR Group Consultants International Limited, Dubai

To design a supertall in extreme cold winter environments, extra attention is required for high-performance façade design, stack effect, and de-icing system for energy savings and safety. For the northern-most supertall in the world, the team of Lakhta Center project paid close attention from design stage to simulation and testing stages to ensure the latest building technology and design knowledge was applied to the project.

Such as, for maximum energy savings with the facade system, 'triple layer', 'low-E coated', 'argon gas filled' glazing units were used. Additionally, the glazing units are the world’s largest cold-bent panels, in order to quickly and economically achieve the spiraling twist of the tower.

To ensure safety from falling ice, designing the de-icing system for the spire was one of the most challenging aspects of the project. This was achieved through various simulations and physical climate wind tunnel tests, to select the best finish material, optimize the design, and develop the automated heating system.

Due to the great temperature difference between indoor and outdoor, and the client’s desire to implement natural ventilation in the project, stack effect was a critical issue to resolve. This was mitigated through zoning and low air permeability.

Lakhta Center stands as a new prototype for tall building design, and through post occupancy reviews will become the bench mark for future tall buildings in extreme winter climates.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation