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Built environment specialist Arup has received a Highly Commended Award in the Structural Engineering Project Division at the recent South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Most Outstanding Project Awards. The recognition was for the PwC Tower in Gauteng.

PWC Tower wins SAICE award for ArupTall building construction is relatively rare in South Africa. The company constructed the core using slip forming, a relatively common method for buildings over ten storeys internationally, but used locally mainly for forming chimneys and cooling towers until recently.

The spiralling form of the tower caused the gravity loads to create a clockwise torsional load on the building. This was balanced by columns along the façade that countered that twist. Parametric modelling was used to quickly and effectively explore a number of design solutions to find one that best balanced these loads, while also taking into account the connection between the structure, façade, aesthetics and floor plan.

The façade also posed technical challenges. Alongside the development of the structural form, parametric modelling allowed for various façade solutions to be considered at the conceptual stage.

It was decided to wrap flat glass around a twisting structure, optimised by factors such as glass utilisation, aesthetic alignment with the structure and integration of blinds with a sloping, slanting façade.

Because the PwC façade is concave and twisting, concentrated solar reflections were identified as a risk. A purpose-built script was developed to assess intensities of solar reflections. It calculated the magnitude of the solar concentrations in the open areas surrounding the tower and then tested feasible and practical solutions to mitigate the impact of the solar reflections.

“Our unique contribution to the PwC Tower was to make the complex, spiralling tower design buildable and economical. This was achieved by careful thinking on how best to balance loads and then refined through the use of parametric modelling. Our advanced parametric modelling software and systems enabled us to make quick assessments of a number of different structural and façade geometries - thereby enabling us to offer optimised and integrated solutions,” says project manager for the PwC Tower and Associate Director of Arup, Richard Lawson.

“We at Arup are extremely proud to be part of the team that has created this iconic building. To receive the Highly Commended Award from SAICE for our role as structural engineers is an honour. I congratulate all members of the project team from Arup, as well as the members of the project’s professional team who we have worked with since the inception of this amazing construction. We believe the key to the success of this award-winning development is the industry collaboration coupled with embracing technology that facilitates that collaboration.”

Image: http://waterfallcity.co.za/portfolio-item/pwc-tower-headquarters/pwc-tower-sep-2016-014/

Credit: Waterfall City

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