To achieve the architectural design concept, Hanking Center Tower incorporated an innovative ‘mega-braced’ tube structure. Composite columns were linked by steel diagonal bracing organized over multi-story modules around and through the tower.
“This closed-tube structure engages the entire tower depth in resisting overturning forces, much more efficiently than it would as two separate slender towers,” Ragan said.
By using steel bracing rather than the more common concrete systems, the skyscraper was designed to higher drift limits than what is allowed by Chinese code for concrete structures, which reduced the amount of steel needed for the tower by nearly 25 percent.
Because of the building’s unusual features, one of the biggest challenges the WSP team faced was the expert panel review process. The expert panel consisted of nine engineers and professors from across China who were tasked with making sure every possible contingency was considered in the design before construction began.
“The panel’s job was to come up with additional rules that this particular building needed to follow, beyond what was required by the building codes,” Ragan said. “I think we did a reasonably good job of anticipating the panel’s major concerns and proactively responding to them.”
Full-scale testing of select nodes where the braces intersect were carried out to satisfy the panel’s concerns and alleviate initial requirements that would have made the tower design less efficient.
With its striking design, Hanking Center Tower – which also received the Progressive Architecture Award in 2016 from Architect magazine – stands out among the many supertall skyscrapers that have emerged on the Shenzhen skyline over the past 20 years.
“It’s the sort of building people will definitely remember when they see it, so I feel lucky to have played a role in its design,” Ragan said.