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Rolansberg Project (Hanking Center), Shenzhen, China

Hanking Center, Shenzhen, ChinaDesigned in collaboration with the architectural firm Morphosis, this tall, thin and irregular shaped massing helped make this project one of the most complex and interesting in the firm’s history.

Key aspects of the project:

Core offset from tower: The core of the building is shifted outside of and separated 10 m from the office floor plate – and only narrow walkways were envisioned linking the core to the remaining tower mass. This could create two incredibly slender towers, with insufficient lateral strength and stiffness.

Typhoon wind loads and significant seismic loads: The tower had to be designed to resist large typhoon wind loads (with lateral loads equivalent to a 2,500 year seismic event), and also had be designed for seismic loads, which creates the challenging paradox where the stiffer the structure becomes to address high wind loads, the higher the seismic loads for which it must be designed.

Striking faceted form: In addition to the offset core, the tower has a subtly faceted form that necessitated a sloping structure – which must be carefully addressed in the design, as sloping heavily loaded columns induces large lateral loads at the ‘kink’ levels.

Very tall: With 73 floors and a height of 350 meters (1,148 feet), Hanking Center will become the 32nd tallest building in China and the 60th tallest in the world upon completion. It will also be the 25th tallest in the world that is exclusively as an office building use.

Innovative solution: In response to these key design aspects and in close collaboration with Morphosis to maintain design intent, H+P devised an innovative ‘mega-braced’ tube structure:

  • Composite columns are linked by steel diagonal bracing organized over multi-story modules around and through the tower. The result is a closed tube structure that achieves a high degree of efficiency by engaging the entire tower depth in resisting overturning forces.

  • The structural concept was fully integrated with the architectural design. This included fitting bracing through floor plans without compromising lease spaces, and also maintaining the minimal floor links envisioned by Morphosis between the tower and core, through the use of light steel bracing at selected levels.

  • The solution devised by WSP USA, formerly Halvorson and Partners, also deftly addresses the issues of lateral loading and stiffness, as by using steel bracing (in lieu of the more common concrete systems), the structure could be designed to higher drifty limits allowed for steel systems by Chinese code. This offered significant savings to structure and helped maintain relatively light sizes given its height. The structure is designed using the latest performance based seismic design approaches using non-linear time history analyses, and received expert panel approval.