Transforming Tall Building Design

Dale Sinclair
AECOM, London

Although we use increasingly intelligent digital tools, the way we design tall buildings has not radically changed since the design and construction of the Empire State building in 1930. The design process begins heuristically, creating risk due to the volume of decisions emanating from the designer’s head. This presentation examines the number of decisions made during the design of high-rise buildings, considering how to reduce and optimize these. Simply, if better decision-making can be facilitated, time can be focused on designing the items that matter, including setting the vision for the building. With small net-to-gross differences making or breaking the viability of a proposal, getting the core right early on in a project is a differentiator.

Product manufacturers use configurators to allow customers to customize products. Leveraged in the design of buildings, these tools would allow client decisions to be more effectively pushed into pre-engineered, fabrication-ready core components, such as stairs and toilets, allowing more robust options to be developed, tested and eliminated early in the design process, reducing the number of design iterations. A core configurator, linked to digital libraries and aligned to automated building services designs, can be used to provide faster and more robust concept designs that rise to the complexities and challenges of developing cores on high rise buildings. This would enable subsequent project stages to be undertaken faster, yet deliver better and more robust information.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation