• Document: Building in Beijing. Steel provides the support for two new high-profile atriums in China s capital.
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international projects Building in Beijing By Mark Sarkisian, P.E., S.E., Neville Mathias, P.E., S.E., and Aaron Mazeika, P.E. Steel provides the support for two new high-profile atriums in China’s capital. I It’s no secret that China’s economy has been on the rise in recent years, and prominent structures have been going up at a rapid pace. And as expected, this con- struction surge has provided some unique structural design opportunities, especially in the country’s larger cities. Two recently completed projects in Beijing, both designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, illus- trate this phenomenon. The first, the New Beijing Poly Plaza, is a composite office tower incorporating the world’s largest steel cable net-supported glass façade. The second is Beijing Finance Street, a mixed-use development consisting of 700,000 m2 (7.5 million sq. ft) of framed office, retail, and residential space. The centerpiece of this development is a retail mall enclosed by a 300-m (980 ft) skylight supported by architecturally exposed steel trusses. New Beijing Poly Plaza Taking a look at the New Beijing Poly Plaza, of the atrium are comprised of minimal glass mem- the project is prominently located at a major branes supported on two-way cable nets in order intersection along Beijing’s second ring road, to maximize visual and solar transparency. In order northeast of the Forbidden City. The site’s pri- to accelerate the construction schedule—and to mary orientation is northeast towards the intersec- accommodate the complex geometry of the build- tion and beyond to the client’s existing headquar- ing form—SOM selected a composite structural ters building. The triangular form minimizes the system employing both reinforced concrete and perimeter surface area exposed to the elements, structural steel. The base building structural sys- while a series of atria provide additional interior tem consists of three reinforced concrete cores surface area to give office areas maximum access acting compositely with structural steel moment to daylight. The result is a simple “L” shaped office resisting frames. Floor framing consists of struc- plan that cradles a large atrium. The exterior walls tural steel trusses at 13.5-m (44.2 ft) spans and rolled sections at 9-m (30 ft) spans. Moment resist- ing frame beams and columns used ASTM A913 grade 65 steel imported from Europe, while locally produced steel was used in gravity framing. An Exotic Solution? While conceptually simple, cable-net systems may still be considered an exotic solution for the structural support of glass curtain walls. However, the completion of several major walls around the world has established a proven track record of an achievable scale and level of transparency. Planar two-way cable systems support and stabilize glass façades through the resistance to deformation of the two-way prestressed net. Gravitational loads from the glass elements are carried through the attachment nodes to the vertical cables, and up to a transfer structure in the base building above. Lat-

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