Wind engineering is a crucial part of many construction projects. At heights of 400 m and above, the wind flow is similar to that experienced by an airplane. Our aim is to reduce the building’s movement to a level that its occupants are unaware of, and the challenge increases in proportion to the height of the building. This is particularly true of residential buildings, where the criteria are much more stringent than for commercial buildings.
Our solutions include adjusting the shape of a building to make it more aerodynamic, such as introducing openings to allow the wind to pass through, or adding curves at critical locations along the facade to minimize the “vortex shedding” response which causes high acceleration.
Using wind tunnel analysis, WSP works closely with architects to refine the shape of a building. Additionally, the use of high-strength concrete and a range of structural systems can improve a building’s stiffness without obstructing the layout. Very tall buildings also require a damper to slow the movement, leading structural engineers to seek ways to minimize material in order to reduce the costs and the impact on lettable space of the damper.