CPP Tests the Wind's Effects on Cladding, Structural Frames, & Human Comfort
The Torres El Faro (Spanish for “The Lighthouse Towers”) are twin residential high-rise buildings in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their unusual design includes four walkways, or sky bridges, that connect the towers at varying levels.
A key concern during the design phase was how the connections between the towers would affect their individual and combined structural responses to the wind. Would they amplify wind responses, essentially worsening the effects of wind, or would the towers shield each other from those effects?
The design team was also concerned about the potential for wind-induced swaying and its possible effects on occupant comfort, the wind loads on the buildings’ cladding, and the wind environment for those walking and lounging near the building.
To answer these questions, CPP experts created a 1:300 scale model of the Torres El Faro and their surroundings. By testing the models in a boundary-layer wind tunnel and measuring the wind loads at hundreds of points on the towers simultaneously, our wind engineers were able to accurately assess the wind loads and structural responses of the El Faro Towers. We also tested the wind conditions at key pedestrian-level areas to estimate the comfort of people in those areas.
The results were encouraging. The towers effectively protected each other from the effects of wind, damping the potential structural responses and allowing the designers to avoid the costs of additional structural materials. Based on those results, our experts could assure the team that occupants would not experience significant discomfort from wind-induced motion and mitigation measures, like architectural redesign or motion damping systems would not be needed.
For outdoor wind comfort, CPP testing found that the towers themselves would increase windy conditions in a few areas used for lounging and recreation. To mitigate these winds, CPP experts recommended the use of trees, bushes, and possibly a porous wind fence to protect the experience of those using the areas at risk.
The Torres El Faro presented complex wind-related concerns related to their unique structural design. CPP was able to resolve some of those concerns and, where the effects of wind were significant, CPP wind engineers could offer simple mitigation measures to protect the value of the project.