Arch 574: High-Rise and Habitat
Graduate Design Studio
Paul Armstrong, Fall 2018
Skyscrapers are important landmarks of the city and contribute to urban quality, density, sustainability, and livability. Mixed-use high-rises, which combine residential, hotel, and retail spaces, can make a positive contribution to Chicago’s Loop (Central Business District) in terms of iconic significance, urban vitality, and urban infrastructure. The project is designed to explore the relationship of the skyscraper to a complex physical, social, and environmental context while engaging issues of detail and construction in expressing architectural ideas and concepts.
The site is located on the north bank of the Chicago River in the 200 block of Chicago’s Streeterville District, immediately south of the NBC Tower. North Cityfront Plaza Drive to its western edge, North Water Street to its northern edge, and North Columbus Drive to its eastern edge define the site. This is an area of growing demand for housing and hotel accommodations. The location of the site establishes a natural node between public areas, the business district, and the Chicago River.
We examined the tower’s shape and twist-angle effects on the building’s response to “vortex shedding,” a pressure differentiation created by the movement of wind across a structural member. We used a Finite Element Method software (ANSYS) to iterate through different cross sections and twist angles, analyzing how these variables reduce the formation and shedding of vortices, which in turn reduces lateral loads and increases the conformability of the tower.