Wind engineering Edinburgh Airport Control Tower; Wind engineering Edinburgh Airport Control Tower;

Wind engineering

Behind the structural ambitions of our cities, lie the skills of our wind engineers.

Behind the structural ambitions of our cities, lie the skills of our wind engineers.

As we build taller and longer structures, we must reckon with the forces of wind that affect their stability and endurance. We must also understand how such structures influence wind flow around them, creating microclimates and affecting the liveability of our cities.

Arup’s wind engineers use advanced analysis and design techniques to ensure feasibility, safety, durability and occupant comfort for structures that go beyond standard – including telecommunications towers, high-rise buildings, long-span bridges and sculptures.

We provide design and consulting services to architects, planners, developers and building owners worldwide.

Our involvement with all major centres of wind research and testing keeps us at the forefront of understanding. We also visualise and evaluate wind behaviour using sophisticated software tools, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and alternative methods of analysis.

Untested challenges

Early input by our wind engineers can help avoid costly, timewasting hurdles later in design or construction – for example, by influencing structural design to create forms that are inherently less prone to wind effects.

The Arup team that designed Stonecutter’s Bridge, the world’s second longest cable-stayed bridge, anticipated the challenges of building such a span while exposed to strong typhoon winds. Early analysis of wind patterns at site allowed them to develop strategies to tackle this challenge.

Likewise, slender sculptures, which are sensitive to wind loading, demand a considered approach. For the high, tapering forms of the United State’s Air Force Memorial, we developed advanced technology in damping to supress the aerodynamic instability that would otherwise be caused by high winds.

Our wind engineers are also called on to advise on cladding or façades where unusual geometries, surroundings or materials may make a façades susceptible to wind effects.

Comfortable environments

Wind can cause excessive dynamic movement in structures, and make tall buildings sway, disturbing occupants. Arup understands how design solutions and damping systems can ensure occupant comfort.

For the 600m Canton Tower, which houses restaurants, conference rooms and cinemas, we used extremely advanced analysis that combined wind tunnel testing and computer simulation. Based on the data produced, we assessed design options against special criteria that considered both building safety and human comfort.

Our wind engineers also consider the environment outside buildings. Wind can affect the flow of pollutants around buildings and the performance of ventilation systems, while tall buildings may cause excessive windiness in neighbouring streets and public areas.

We use our advanced understanding of wind behaviour to inform better design and planning. During the planning process for London’s Stratford City, for example, we provided detailed guidance about the microclimatic implications of interactions between wind and development.