Swegon Air Academy seminar on “Tall, supertall and megatall buildings“ in St. Petersburg, Russia with Russell Gilchrist and Peter Simmonds were attended by 168 people, mostly HVAC consultants and engineers interested in hearing more about tall buildings. The definition of tall buildings states that a building with height of 200 meters is defined as a “tall” building, a building with height between 300 and up to 600 meters is called a “supertall” building and a building with the height above 600 meters is a “megatall” building.
The usage of tall buildings has changed in the last 10 years, a modern day tall building has many different functions. A modern day description is “mixed use” where at ground level there could be retail and food and beverage, possibly the first section of the building could be commercial, offices, the second section could be residential, with the lucrative high level section being a hotel. So now the tall building is not only taller but has many different functions, each function being specific. Together with the different functions we have different code requirements and with specifics such as life safety that are sometimes going into unknown territory.
Tall commercial buildings present a series of design problems that differ from those that are found in other projects in the built environment. These presentations will be of interest to owners, architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and other specialized engineers and consultants. The presentations not only focuses on the efforts of designers of the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, within the local climate conditions but also addresses the importance of the design team and their collective efforts and concerns that are the critical elements in determining the ultimate solutions to project needs of a tall building. Design issues are presented for tall commercial buildings which are very often mixed use, consisting sometimes of low level retail, office floors, residential floors and hotel floors but the matters discussed and the recommendations and comments that are developed, with various modifications depending upon climate conditions. As buildings get taller there are different climatic effects which vary over the height of a building. The façade becomes important, not only due to the building size but also how it responds to ambient conditions and how it contributes to the buildings heating and cooling loads. The façade also contributes to daylight harvesting.