Three SOM projects—Poly International Plaza, Beijing Greenland Center, and the Center for Character and Leadership Development at the United States Air Force Academy—won seven awards at the 2017 Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) Conference, held from April 11-13 in Oklahoma City. Designed to publicly acknowledge outstanding achievement in design and construction, the AEI Professional Project Award (PPA) program educates students and professionals on the integrated approach to architectural engineering.
Poly International Plaza in Beijing won in five categories, including the Award of Excellence, AE Integration; Award of Excellence, Mechanical category; Award of Merit, Structural category; Most Innovative Project over $100 million; and Best Overall Project over $100 million. Inspired by Chinese paper lanterns, the design of the main tower’s exterior is formed by a continuous diagrid pattern, with a jewel-like faceting that shimmers as it reflects the sky. The exoskeleton structural system forms an outer thermal envelope around the office spaces, which are enclosed within a second glazed interior envelope. The long-span structural design not only opens up the interior, creating a column-free work environment, but also employs a highly sustainable approach to address the climatic and air quality challenges particular to Beijing.
Winning an Award of Merit in the Mechanical System Design category, Beijing Greenland Center is situated on the city’s northeast side, equidistant from Beijing’s bustling core and the Beijing Capital International Airport. Sustainable, elegant, and efficient, the project includes 173,000 square meters of workspace and retail. The 260-meter-tall, 55-story tower is clad in an intricate, trapezoidal glass curtain that creates a woven texture of light and shadow. The repeating glass modules undulate, providing self-shading that improves the building’s environmental performance.
Also winning an Award of Merit in the Mechanical Systems Design category, the U.S. Air Force Academy's Center for Character and Leadership Development employs a variety of passive design strategies to maximize mechanical efficiency. The structure's 105-foot glass skylight serves as a natural chimney, expelling hot air from automatic vents at the top of the structure. The insulated glazing and high performance coating of the skylight walls additionally reduce heat transfer, while solar frits concentrated at user height reduce glare. The skylight also affords the facility large amounts of daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting.