Tall Buildings in India that are Gravity-Defying

Architects and designers are in constant pursuit of looking to reinvent the modern skyscraper with higher and more cutting-edge designs. The 300 metre high Supernova located at Noida's sector 94, or Mumbai's 420 metre 'The World Towers' are examples of awe-inspiring and gravity-defying structures. BuroHappold Engineering, an international integrated engineering consultancy firm, has been associated with many such tall structure projects. The firm shares what it took to build these gravity-defying super structures that are cost-effective, safe, and highly attractive places to live and work. Be it creating weather and seismic-proof designs, to incorporating modular construction methods that improve efficiency and reduce cost, a look at BuroHappold's five breathtaking projects ...

The World Towers, Mumbai, India

Located on 17 acres of land in the Upper Worli area of Mumbai, The World Towers is an ambitious project of the Lodha Group. The World Towers composed of three towers is uniquely curvilinear in shape. What stands out for The World Towers is the fact that one of the three towers will be the tallest residential building in the world. The World Towers, Mumbai is set to rise more than 420 metres into the skyline, with World Crest standing at more than 200 meters and the third tower soaring over 315 metres beside it. The project aims to reinforce Lodha Group's leadership in providing quality luxury residential developments in India.

According to BurroHappold, a key challenge for the team was to work on the super high rise construction, where local codes were inadequate due to the nature of the design. The team combined its extensive international experience with local knowledge and practices to build a base for the building services design. This resulted in solutions that met international requirements and best practices without diluting local requirements. Using passive design and building service strategies that were a first for India, BurroHappold realised a project that reflects Mumbai’s progressive outlook.

Supernova, Sector 94, Noida, New Delhi, India

The new mixed-use Supernova township comprising a series of tall and super high-rise buildings on the Yamuna River waterfront has been designed to withstand extreme weather. The main tower climbs 300 metres into the New Delhi skyline, overlooking a 29 storey commercial building and two 41 storey residential buildings. A glazed podium housing retail, cinemas and a hypermarket sits below a 240 metre high five star hotel.

Besides harsh climate, a good part of Delhi-NCR along the Yamuna floodplain lies on the seismic zone four and accordingly BuroHappold had to incorporate design elements that ensured Supernova’s eloquent structures would be able to withstand the extremities. The MEP engineers were tasked with developing systems that would not only work seamlessly with the architecture of the towers, but also meet strict design codes. So as to overcome the risks of harsh weather conditions, the team carried out wind tunnel tests to optimise the performance of Supernova’s tall buildings. Further strengthening the buildings, 3D Plaxis analysis was carried out by geo-technical experts to design the strongest possible foundations so as to resist high seismic and wind forces.

 West of 77 Apartments, Bengaluru, India

Offering stunning architecture, comfortable accommodation and great facilities, all at an affordable price tag West of 77 Apartments is a part of the Divyasree Technopolis mixed use complex, which incorporates commercial offices, residential villas and luxury apartments. West of 77 is a residential development that features five 14 storey apartment buildings and a clubhouse, providing the people of Bengaluru with liveable luxury in the heart of a thriving community.

BuroHappold was involved in the structural design and building services engineering for this project. Adhering to the clients brief on the concept of modularity, the team came up with a structural design that maximised repeatability in the building form. In addition, the client wanted to include prefabricated bathroom pods in all of the apartments, which further challenged the engineers to find structural options that would enable installation of the pods on every floor after the buildings were constructed. To solve this the structural engineers came up with a flexible yet cost-effective design strategy that used closed spaced walls in one direction, and long walls at the end of each wing with no peripheral beams. This maximised available height in the internal spaces, allowing easy installation of the bathrooms and also improving the interior environment for residents.

 Omkar 1973 Worli, Mumbai, India

The three towers with breathtaking views  reaching out over the city and to the Arabian sea beyond, is a part of the high rise, mixed use developed in Mumbai's Worli region. Comprising of high quality residential accommodation and numerous commercial spaces, such as health and fitness complexes, swimming pools and restaurants, the circular towers offers a unique addition to the cityscape. The central tower will also include luxury sky bungalows on the upper storeys.

According to BuroHappold, the height of the towers along with their complex form, led the design team to move away from construction methods typically seen in residential buildings in India. Also, the need for aviation approval necessitated height modifications to the original structural design. Last-minute layout alterations challenged the ability to work under pressure. The engineers responded quickly to adapt to the designs using solutions that caused minimal impact on all other aspects of the design. This ensured the planned installation of the services system was unaffected, and that the delivery time for the overall project was maintained.

111 West 57th Street, New York, USA

Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan and taking advantage of sweeping views of Central park, the 29,357 sqm 111 West 57th Street features residential apartments and a large retail component with shared recreation spaces and lobby. Employing latest technology to push the limits in engineering and fabrication, the design of the new tower has been conceived to bring back the essence of historic New York City towers. The structure, 13 metre wide and 426 metres tall, features textured terracotta ornamental and bronze detailing.

A key requirement for the BuroHappold team was to ensure that the facade is capable of supporting the heavy weight of the terracotta, especially given the building’s extreme slenderness. When completed, the building will not only become one of the thinnest skyscrapers in the world, but will also take its place on New York’s skyline as one of the city’s tallest and most iconic buildings.


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