Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) is a multiple international award-winning architecture firm based in Chicago, Illinois, focusing on energy-efficient and sustainable mega tall and super tall buildings. With projects all over the world covering many uses, AS+GG is on track to completing the world’s tallest building. Taking a holistic approach to design, their idea of sustainability is not limited to the environment; it is about sustaining economies and preserving the culture of a society.
Here are a few of their notable works picked out of the ever-expanding basket of international projects.
1. 505 Church Street, Nashville, Tennessee
This LEED platinum standard 605 feet tall, 38 storey building, will be one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable mixed-use buildings in the world. Meeting the Energy Use Intensity goals of 2030 challenges for architects, the building has a unique form that torques towards the top. The curtain walls tailored to the exposure to the sun for different sides save energy. A double skin facade on the south-west cools the interiors and traps energy to heat the interiors in winters. The building features an underfloor air-conditioning system that increases the comfort level of people more than the conventional overhead system.
2. Al Wasl Plaza, Dubai
A 150-metre diameter Plaza with a domed trellis in the middle of the Expo 2020 in Dubai has a 360-degree projection surface and 65-metre height. The dome being translucent, the projection is visible from both sides. Techniques to control temperature under the dome ensure a comfortable environment for the visitors.
3. Astana Expo City 2017, Kazakhstan
The two-phased development of the 174 hectare Expo 2017 with the theme ‘Future Energy’ is aimed at possible ways of developing alternative energy sources and renewable fuel for transportation. The first city to run completely on renewable sources since the Industrial Revolution, a smart grid draws the power that the buildings generate, and distributes it.
4. Baku Landmark Development, Azerbaijan
A 30,000 sqm mixed-use building with an iconic shape that relates to the city; the outer sculptural protective shell references ancient Baku fortress walls and controls heat gain. The atrium between the exterior wall and the building is an interactive landscaped space for occupants. The higher floor offices, of this LEED Platinum-certified building, connect the outer wall through bridges. It uses various energy-efficient strategies like water reuse, lighting control, and renewable energy options, etc.
5. Central Park Tower, New York City
Standing tall at 1550 feet, the world’s tallest residential building located on the Billionaire’s Row has extraordinary views and floor plans. The structure is well hidden providing the occupants with floor to ceiling windows. The focus of the living areas are the panoramic city views and entertaining spaces are positioned to maximize this aspect.
6. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago, Illinois
A 20,000 square feet architecture centre exhibiting the impact of Chicago’s design legacy on skylines around the world. The centre houses large scale models of famous skyscrapers, world-famous river and walking tours, educational material and interactive exhibits.
7. Chicago Decarbonisation Plan
Staying true to their philosophy, AS+GG’s plan aims to not simply replace existing carbon production numbers, but to provide a sustained development program for the future. Using renewable energy to decarbonise the city and upgrade the existing building stock and urban fabric that consumes more energy than required.
8. Dancing Dragons, Seoul, Korea
The 23,000 sqm dragon inspired pair of 450 and 390-meter high landmark towers, whose skin acts like the scales of fish and Korean mythical creatures, have facades with diagonal cuts that make them breathable. Careful reference to Korean culture reflects in the concepts of canopies jutting out like in the pagodas, at the base of the tower and the geometry of the building.
9. Elphinstone Mills + Jupiter Mills, Mumbai, India
A 60 and 75 storied, mixed-use towers, located in the heart of Mumbai, are a LEED platinum standard design having outdoor terraces for each floor. The building’s orientation reduces solar heat gain and improves the comfort levels inside. A series of atriums connect to the central atrium through which air gushes down to the wind turbines to power the building.
10. Imperial Tower Competition, Mumbai, India
Designed to be the tallest tower in Mumbai at 116 stories and 400 meters tall, the design is driven by the principles of aerodynamics. It is slender and softly curved to “confuse the wind” and drastically minimizes the wind load on the structure. The North-South facing terrace gardens break up wind currents. In the humid climate of Mumbai, the facade reduces heat gain and diffuses sunlight. Prefab kitchen and bathroom ideas are being explored.
11. Jeddah Tower, Saudi Arabia
Competing against himself, Adrian Smith, the architect of Burj Khalifa, managed to out-do himself at least by a 173 meters in height. The 530,000 sqm structure, still under construction near the Red Sea, is technologically advanced and organic as well. A mixed-use development with the world’s highest observatory; the building has a high-performance exterior wall that reduces thermal load and the series of notches create shadows on the other part of the building, turning them into terraces to enjoy the spectacular view.
12. Mumbai Master Plan, Dharavi, mumbai
Having interdependent relationships between commercial and residential sectors, Dharavi needs infrastructure or architecture solutions concerning both social and economic dynamics of the space. The mixed-use, 590-acre architectural solution is what holds the communal relationship and improves the life of the community. The project not only facilitates shelter and business spaces but also promotes sustainable practices like stormwater management, food generation on interlinked rooftop gardens, proposes plans for long term economic growth, health, and prosperity of the people.
13. The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago, Illinois
A Performance venue with a flexible theatre and glazed two-story lobby, the 35,000 square feet of space sets a trend in theatre architecture with a focus on sustainable and adaptive design. Neatly tucked between the existing white tent and the parking garage, the facade uses electrochromic glass to reduce glare and heat. The faceted curve of the face creates dynamic reflections that engage people, heightening the theatrical experience.
14. Vancouver Residences, British Columbia
Vancouver’s Ecodensity Charter driven 8400 square meter project is a high-density residential development which is designed to improve the city’s “eco-footprint”. Designed as sustainable units with open terraces, community gardens, landscaping around the building, fitness centre, and multipurpose rooms, etc., Permeable paving surfaces improve water penetration and thick foliage along the pathways give maximum shading.
15. Willis Tower Greening Project + Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
A 140,000 sqm greening project to retrofit the iconic landmark into a more energy-efficient building; and a five-star hotel drawing energy saved from the old tower. The tower’s green roofs at high altitudes reduce the heat island effect and stormwater runoff and provide the greatest views.
After nearly 40 years at SOM, Adrian Smith left to start his firm at the age of 62, saying he wants to work for 15 or 20 more years and he couldn’t do that at SOM which has a mandatory retirement age of 65. Partnering with Gordon Gill and Robert Forest, Smith founded a practice that competed and was chosen over SOM and other renowned architecture firms to win projects of grand stature around the world. The designer of the world’s tallest building definitely made the right choice.