Revolutionizing Future Tall Buildings with Performance-Based Wind Design

Session: E: Designing with the Wind

Sean CliftonProject image

Sean Clifton
Senior Principal, Magnusson Klemencic Associates

The design process for tall buildings has seen significant advancement in the past few decades, as computing power and capabilities have exponentially increased, allowing for parametric design and advanced analytics. However, until now the design of tall buildings for wind forces has remained relatively simplified and limited to a series of static loading conditions. Recent groundbreaking advancements in Performance-Based Wind Design (PBWD) are revolutionizing the way tall buildings are designed, using dynamic analyses that allow optimal use of structural and cladding materials. This approach is an extension of the process used to design tall buildings for high seismic demands around the world.

The first building designed using PBWD is under construction in the booming city of Austin, Texas and several other buildings are completing the design process throughout the United States. The design process utilizes advanced wind-tunnel testing to inform wind-storm time-history records, which are then simulated analytically to verify the performance of the building and each structural component. Through detailed component modeling, material optimization can be achieved, taking advantage of inherent ductility and overstrength, resulting in less reinforcement, concrete, and steel. This optimization saves construction cost, reduces embodied carbon, and can result in more useable floor space.

The cutting-edge process can be further expanded to consider optimization of cladding systems as well as implementation of advanced supplemental damping technologies in previously impossible applications to improve building performance. PBWD is the future of how tall buildings will be engineered to resist wind forces creating smarter and more efficient buildings that have lower embodied carbon impact to the environment.