Architect Adrian Smith, co-founder of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), brought his extensive knowledge on sustainable design and supertall buildings to his keynote address at NeoCon 2014. Smith is best recognized for his work on landmark structures, including the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai and the world’s tallest structure, Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
The Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai was Smith's first prominent project, and also the first tall tower in China. He searched for a relationship for how the tower could relate to Chinese culture. By looking at Chinese Pagodas, Smith explored how they built the architecture and also how they constructed the buildings themselves, which at the time was with bamboo scaffolding. Smith referenced the bamboo with steel, which reverberates light and protects the building.
For the Zifeng Center in Nanjing, Smith took his inspiration from columns wrapped in stone dragons. He explained how supertall towers that are more than 100 stories tall are often mixed use, since they have too much space for any one project type.
Such is the case for the famous Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates. Smith brought in the cultural elements of Dubai with planned geometry and transitions into the horizontal. He uses a pavilion of clear glass with a double wall and shading devices to lesson the impact of the sun. As with many of Smith’s buildings, the Burj Khalifa has several sustainable features, such as solar collectors that heat water. There is also a place where water can hit cymbals in different locations to create a calming sound.
Smith is currently working on building the world’s next tallest building, Kingdom Tower, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as well as planning a self-sustaining satellite city in Chengdu, China.