Skidmore Owings & Merrill

The proposed high rise boasts a giant hollow shaft to ventilate the building

China will be home to yet another towering steel skyscraper, and this new one set to rise in Wujiang looks straight out of a Sharper Image catalogue. The Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill have stolen the competition yet again with a design that conflates sustainability with a sleek, high-performance façade. Renderings show a 358-meter-tall tapered high rise shaped like an oversized eye of a needle and marked by an immense atrium and light well.

This hollow shaft carved into the slender Greenland Group Suzhou Center is designed to supply the building with natural light and act as the "lung" of the structure, ventilating the interior with fresh air. Equipped with a utility system programmed to optimize and respond to natural energy sources, the building is expected to achieve a 60 percent savings in energy consumption compared to a typical U.S. high rise.

Contrast the Suzhou Center with a recently completed SOM design for a concrete high-rise in Kuwait, and you’ll see that the green-lit proposal in Wujiang contributes to the rocketing rise of a new breed of Chinese architecture. International architects and designers continue to rush into China with enticing proposals to sculpt the Chinese cityscape completely anew with shiny pinnacles of engineering and emblems of technological prowess. Wujiang will join other neighboring cities in becoming crystalline expressions of a nation with eyes unequivocally fixed on the future.

All images courtesy the architects. This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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