Aerodynamic Skyscraper

Areodynamically Optimized Skyscraper Design

A six-month research is conducted by me on how aerodynamic performance-driven design for supertalls, with sponsorship from RTKL’s Kagan Fellowship. Measures in modifying the shape of the supertalls in order to improve their aerodynamic performance have been suggested by various scientific researches. Six form-modification strategies are derived from the measures suggested by the scientists, and incorporated into parametric design tools that produce a matrix of 60 prototypes, which are subjected to qualitative and quantitatively evaluation iterations to give the most optimized design, with considerations given to aerodynamic performance, structural robustness, program potential, and image attractiveness. Consulting from RWDI and the use of Autodesk Simulation CFD are involved in the evaluation process. Eventually the 60 prototypes are narrowed down to two design options that are further developed into hypothetical projects.
A multi-staged aerodynamic performance-driven design process is the most important result of the study. In addition, two valuable insights have been obtained: first, to inject a new inspiration into the design of skyscrapers, the Multi-Disciplinary Optimization methodology from the aerospace industry has been used. Second, parametric design that is able to generate interesting forms is backed by quantitative scientific analysis and reasoning. Instead of the Modernist “form follows function”, the philosophy of the new approach is “form follows performance”. This is the train of thought that I have found fascinating: aerodynamic performance, energy performance, and performances of other kinds, will instill new inspiration in design. When we bring in physics into architecture, in a way we are simulating the Nature. Look at what fantastic “architecture” the Nature is able to produce by being performance-driven (you can argue it is being adaption-driven, but I would argue that natural selection should not be overemphasized in the context of the discussion. For more discussion on this topic, please visit