Building type:




Project Status:


Gross Area:

214000 Sqm


LEED v3 BD+C (Core & Shell) Platinum

Climatic zone:



Thumbnail Pearl River Tower / 0 © Tim Griffith
Thumbnail Pearl River Tower / 1 © Tim Griffith
Thumbnail Pearl River Tower / 2 © Tim Griffith
Thumbnail Pearl River Tower / 3 © Si-ye Zhang
Thumbnail Pearl River Tower / 5 © Si-ye Zhang
Thumbnail Pearl River Tower / 6 © Tim Griffith


Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)’s design for the 71-story Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China, was selected in a 2005 competition.

The 309-metres-tall high performance building was designed with energy efficiency as its top priority. Its design philosophy combines active and passive sustainable measures to reduce its impact on the local electrical grid, reduce carbon emissions, and provide the most comfortable interior environment possible for its occupants.

The 214,000-square-meter Pearl River Tower redefines what is possible in sustainable design by incorporating the latest green technology and engineering advancements. The soaring tower's sculpted body directs wind to a pair of openings at its mechanical floors, where travelling winds push turbines that generate energy for the building. Other integrated sustainable elements include solar panels, a double-skin curtain wall, a chilled ceiling system, under-floor ventilation, and daylight harvesting, all of which contribute to the building’s energy efficiency.


2015 Award of Excellence: Sustainable Design Category – Structural Engineers Associations of Northern California

2014 Commercial High-Rise Architecture, China - International Property Awards

2014 Green Good Design Award – Chicago Athenaeum

2014 Architizer A+ Award: Office Building High Rise, Finalist

2014 Most Innovative Project: Mechanical Systems Design – American Society of Civil Engineers

2013 Best Innovative Green Building – MIPIM Asia

2013 Best Tall Building Asia & Australia: Finalist – Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)

2012 Excellence in Engineering – ASHRAE – Illinois Chapter

2010 Green Building Design Award - Chicago Athenaeum

2008 – Green, Carbon-Lowering & Environmental Category: Gold Award – Spark Awards


Innovative cooling system

Shading system

High efficient façade


Water-saving sanitary appliances

Low-emitting materials and finishes

High efficient lighting

Daylight sensors

On-site renewables

Daylighting maximised


Driven to create one of the world's most energy-efficient skyscrapers, SOM incorporated the latest sustainable technology and engineering know-how into its design of the 309-meter-tall Pearl River Tower. The design embodies the idea of humankind existing in harmony with the environment.

The tower's sleek, aerodynamic form was developed through a careful understanding of solar and wind patterns around the site. The design optimizes the solar path and utilizes the sun to the building's advantage. The tower's sculpted body directs wind to a pair of openings at the mechanical floors, where turbines generate energy for the building.

Other integrated design and engineering elements include solar panels, a double-skin curtain wall, a chilled ceiling system, underfloor air ventilation, and daylight harvesting. Collectively, these attributes will achieve significant energy savings and will reduce the tower's dependency on the city's infrastructure.

Pearl River Tower is designed to be one of the world’s highest-performing super-tall buildings. These high-performance sustainable features include:

Exterior façade and Integrated photovoltaics (PVs)
The tower is one of the first super-tall buildings to be certified as a LEED Platinum building by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) – the highest level of sustainable design recognised by the internationally recognised organisation.
The tower’s design incorporates a dynamic high-performance building envelope. The façade system is oriented to optimise the use of daylighting while controlling solar loads. And integrated assembly provides superior thermal performance and high-visual transmittance that increases daylighting to the interior spaces.
A low-E coated, insulating glass unit, with 240mm cavity between the two layer of glass, forms the exterior. Motorized blinds/sunshade devices within the cavity provide solar shading and glare control. A building management system controls the tilt angle of the blinds automatically in response to solar intensity, solar altitude and azimuth angles. Frit glass with external shades and automated internal blinds are used on East and West elevations.
PVs are integrated into the building’s external shading system providing a dual benefit – they produce about 200,000 kWh/yr while protecting the building’s façade from the solar gain.

Vertical Axis Wind turbines (WAWT)
Energy is generated by vertical axis wind turbine systems integrated into the building’s design and structure. The tower’s curvilinear form enhances performance by funnelling air through turbine inlets in the façade. The power is converted to electrical energy and used by the building.

Radiant cooling coupled with underfloor air ventilation
A radiant-cooling ceiling system delivers sensible cooling directly to the space, de-coupling directly the sensible cooling load from the latent cooling load.
The radiant cooling panel system is combined with direct outdoor air system (DOAS) and underfloor air delivery that provides improved indoor air quality and air change effectiveness. High-efficiency filters are provided to improve the quality of air entering the building. This approach reduced the building’s floor-t-floor height from 4.2 to 3.9 metres – essentially saving five stories of construction.
The energy saving associated with the reduced airflow and radiant ceiling system is arguably the most sustainable aspect of the tower’s design.

Daylighting reflectors
Within the ground floor lobby, the curved white fritted-glass ceiling and hanging metal panels are designed as a series of deflectors so that daylight can be redirected deep into the lobby space, reducing electrical consumption due to artificial lights.

High-efficiency lighting and Daylighting-responsive controls
The high-efficiency fluorescent lighting fixtures in the tower use specially engineered, curved white radiant ceiling panels as reflectors to diffuse light evenly and efficiently into the office space. There are daylight controls and occupancy sensors on the headquarters floors that maximize daylight and reduce electrical consumption. Luminaries placed less than six metres from windows use automatic dimming controls.

Vertical transportation
Double-deck elevators have been installed to reduce the size of the building’s core and create a more efficient floor plate.

High-efficiency chiller system
Chiller heat recovery is used to recover the heat rejection from the chiller in order to produce domestic hot water.


Energy consumption:

N/A (N/A )

Consumption type:

Annual carbon footprint:

N/A (N/A )

Climate zone:


Min. temperature =


Max temperature =


RH =



No product info available



Guangzhou Pearl River Tower properties Co. Ltd



Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP , Guangzhou Design Institute


Acoustical consultant:

Shen Milsom Wilke, Inc.

Building services engineer:

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Green certification consultant:

Bureau Veritas

Lighting consultant:


Specialist consultant:

Rolf Jensen & Associates, Inc. , SWA Group , Fortune Consultants, Ltd. , RWDI , Highrise Systems, Inc.

Structural Engineer:

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP



Shanghai Construction Group


Thumbnail Zuellig Building

Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines | 2012

Zuellig Building

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Mixed-Use | LEED v2.0 CS


Thumbnail Taekwang Green Office

Subang, West Java, Indonesia | 2014

Taekwang Green Office

PT. Indonesia Environment Consultant

Offices | LEED v3 BD+C (New Construction)

Thumbnail TNT Centre

Hoofddorp, The Netherlands | 2011

TNT Centre

Paul De Ruiter Architects | Paul de Ruiter Architects

Offices | LEED v2.2 NC

Thumbnail VeluxLab

Milan, Italy | 2013




Thumbnail La Serenissima Office Building

Via Filippo Turati, 25, 20121 Milano, Italia | 2012

La Serenissima Office Building

Park Associati (Filippo Pagliani, Michele Rossi) | Park Associati

Offices | LEED v3 BD+C (Core & Shell)

Thumbnail Energy Park - Building 03

Via Energy Park, 20871 Torri Bianche MB, Italy | 2009

Energy Park - Building 03

Garretti Associati | Garretti Associati Srl

Offices | LEED v2.0 CS

Thumbnail Bullitt Center

Seattle, WA, USA | 2012

Bullitt Center

The Miller Hull Partnership | Bullitt Center Foundation


Thumbnail Ardeko

Boulogne-Billancourt, France | 2013


Baumschlager Eberle

Offices | LEED v3 BD+C (Core & Shell)

Thumbnail Isozaki Tower

Milano, Italia | 2013

Isozaki Tower

Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei | Manens-Tifs

Offices | LEED v3 BD+C (Core & Shell)

Thumbnail IBN Institute

Wageningen, The Netherlands | 1998

IBN Institute

Behnisch Architekten


Thumbnail Genzyme Center

Cambridge, MA, USA | 2004

Genzyme Center

Behnisch Architekten

Offices | LEED v2.2 NC

Thumbnail Foundry

London N1 7RU, UK | 2012


Cullinan Studio

Offices | BREEAM 2008 UK Offices

Thumbnail One Angel Square

Manchester, Manchester, UK | 2012

One Angel Square


Offices | BREEAM 2008 UK Offices

Thumbnail Brussels Environment

Brussels, Belgium | 2014

Brussels Environment

cepezed architects

Offices | BREEAM International New Construction 2013

Thumbnail Geelen Counterflow

6081 Haelen, Netherlands | 2015

Geelen Counterflow


Offices | BREEAM New Construction 2011 (UK)

Thumbnail 1200 Intrepid

Philadelphia, PA, USA | 2016

1200 Intrepid

BIG Bjarke Ingels Group

Offices | LEED v3 BD+C (Core & Shell)

Thumbnail Goito58

Rome, Italy | 2012


Chapman Taylor

Offices | LEED v3 BD+C (Core & Shell) | BREEAM 2015 International In-Use

Thumbnail One Carter Lane

1 Carter Ln, London EC4V 5ER, UK | 2015

One Carter Lane

Studio Ben Allen | Cundall .

Offices | BREEAM 2014 UK Refurbishment and Fit-Out | ITACA New and Existing Interiors v1


Via Umberto Forti, 1, 56121 Montacchiello PI, Italia | 2016

"Umberto Forti" Headquarters

ATIproject S.r.l.

Offices | LEED v4 BD+C (New Construction)

Thumbnail Prysmian HQ

Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy | 2017

Prysmian HQ

Maurizio Varratta Architects | DEGW .

Offices | LEED v3 BD+C (New Construction)

Thumbnail Engie Headquarters

Via Chiese, 72, 20126 Milano MI, Italia | 2018

Engie Headquarters

Park Associati (Filippo Pagliani, Michele Rossi) | Park Associati

Offices | LEED v4 BD+C (Core & Shell)

Thumbnail Diamond Tower - Porta Nuova Varesine

Viale della Liberazione, 20124 Milano MI, Italia | 2017

Diamond Tower - Porta Nuova Varesine

Proger s.p.a | GreeningLab Specialist in Green Building

Offices | LEED v3 ID+C (Commercial Interiors)

Thumbnail Edificio Uffici - Bernina

Via Bernina, 12, 20159 Milano MI, Italia | 2012

Edificio Uffici - Bernina

RED s.c.r.l. | GreeningLab Specialist in Green Building

Offices | LEED v3 BD+C (Core & Shell)

Thumbnail NOI Techpark

Via Alessandro Volta, 13, 39100 Bolzano BZ, Italia | 2017

NOI Techpark

Chapman Taylor

Offices | LEED v4 ND (Neighborhood Development)