Adapting Skybridge Design, Construction, and Programming to Accommodate Wind Demand

Anton Davies
Principal
RWDI, Toronto

Skybridges have become a popular feature of modern architectural design in tall buildings. They can unify daily life across a development, improve egress for greater resiliency, and offer visually stunning spaces and amenities. But even as skybridges deliver bold architectural designs, they pose significant wind related design challenges which require a high level of analysis and coordination among design team members.

This presentation focuses on key aspects of the design and construction of skybridges. From a perspective of structural design, a complex wind response analysis is required to understand the dynamic interaction between skybridges and the supporting towers, load sharing among linked towers, and differential displacements at ultimate wind events. Assessment of wind-induced motion discomfort in the occupied spaces of skybridges is also a critical aspect of their performance. From a construction standpoint, the feasibility of such projects may depend on the magnitude of wind-induced tower displacements and the anticipated wind conditions at the site, particularly when skybridges are assembled on site and hoisted from below.

Functionally, many of these links incorporate external programming for pedestrian use. When the roof of a skybridge is occupied, the designer must be aware of the effect of wind and sun on the space's comfort and usage. The presentation draws on experience with a range of skybridge projects in which significant structural links have been incorporated between tall towers, including The Gate Shams Abu Dhabi; The Address Residence Sky View, the Dubai Pearl, and One Za’abeel in Dubai; Raffles City in Chongqing, China; and Concord Cityplace Parade in Toronto.