Supertall | Megatall

How High Can We Go?

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Drawing from the unique design experience at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) as architects of the next world’s tallest tower and several others under construction, Supertall | Megatall: How High Can We Go? highlights the design, sustainability, innovative technology, programming, and contextualism that defines supertall and megatall towers. The book is a mixture of under construction and design-only projects divided into several chapters that are organized according to their special characteristics: Innovative Systems, Harnessing Energies, Designing an Icon, Extending Ecologies, and Achieving Megatall. Each project, completed between 2007–2020 at AS+GG, is discovered through context, program, form, research and development, and performance, highlighting the stories, challenges, and lessons learned.

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) is dedicated to the design of high-performance, energy-efficient, and sustainable architecture on an international scale. The firm approaches each project, regardless of size or scale, with an understanding that architecture has a unique power to influence civic life. The firm strives to create designs that aid society, advance modern technology, sustain the environment, and inspire others to improve the world through a holistic, integrated design approach that emphasizes symbiotic relationship with the natural environment—a philosophy coined as “global environmental contextualism.”

This approach, which takes into consideration building orientation, daylighting, generation of wind power, solar absorption, and a site’s geothermal properties, represents a fundamental change in the design process, in which form facilitates performance. It’s predicated on the understanding that everything within the built and natural environment is connected, and that a building’s design should stem from an understanding of its role within that context—locally, regionally, and globally. Such a pluralistic approach acknowledges the interaction among building systems as well as between those systems and the natural environment and seeks to improve each individual system’s performance.

AS+GG’s practice includes designers with extensive experience in multiple disciplines, including technical architecture, interior design, urban planning, and sustainable design. Architects also have expertise in a range of building types, including supertall towers, large-scale mixed-use complexes, corporate offices, exhibition facilities, cultural facilities and museums, civic and public spaces, hotels and residential complexes, institutional projects, and high-tech laboratory facilities. The firm was founded in 2006 by partners Adrian Smith, Gordon Gill, and Robert Forest. Today there are 100 employees in offices in Chicago and Beijing.