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Aurecon chosen to engineer iconic Vietnamese skyscraper

Landmark 81 - Photo credit: Atkins

Photo credit: Atkins

07 December 2015 - The skyline of Ho Chi Minh City is getting a new focal point, as the tallest building in Vietnam will soon be sited in the Asian metropolis.

Global engineering consultancy Aurecon is handling a host of work on the new Landmark 81 development, with construction scheduled to start soon.

Reinforcing its position as one of the world’s leading engineering consultants for supertall buildings, Aurecon has announced a significant contract win to support the construction of Landmark 81 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Upon completion, the 461.2 metre-high building will be the tallest skyscraper in Vietnam and the sixth tallest in Asia. Landmark 81 will be the focal point of the Vinhomes Central Park development, a multi-purpose urban development commissioned by local company Vincom Group, which will include residential, retail and leisure spaces.

Aurecon is managing all engineering work related to the building services as well as the lighting and the facade of Landmark 81. The project is currently at the detailed design stage and Aurecon is developing its plan for the building in close co-operation with the developer, Vincom Group, as well as architect, Atkins; structural engineer, Arup; contractor, Mace; and other key partners.

Tuyen Bui, Country Manager – Vietnam at Aurecon, said the company was looking forward to strengthening its relationship with Vincom Group as the project progresses.

“As Aurecon continues to grow in Asia, we want to build long-lasting relationships with key clients in this region, and Vincom Group, as Vietnam’s largest developer, is a valued customer,” he said. “In fact, Vincom Group’s strategy is in alignment with our own, in that the company wants to grow rapidly in this region and extend the services it offers to its customers. Our work on Landmark 81 has brought together several of our teams to work across three engineering disciplines, and the project is a great reflection of the broad array of expertise we have in-house.”

Building services design

Included in Aurecon’s remit are all services in the building, including HVAC, electrical, fire protection, plumbing, lightning protection and the elevator system. With tight time pressures on the project, Aurecon was given just three months to develop detailed designs for the building services. The company developed its designs in the Revit platform, which not only allowed it to create the most efficient programs for the project but also to map their performance using 4D BIM, charting their progression over the building’s lifetime.

Thinh Truong, Aurecon’s project leader on the building services portion of the Landmark 81 project, said the job brought together many of Aurecon’s regional offices.

“Although this project is really the first supertall building in Vietnam, we’re confident with the scope of our involvement in it, mainly because we have such strong experience from so many other supertall developments in other countries,” he said. “Our Vietnamese engineers are leading the work, but we’ve had great support from our colleagues in Australia and Middle East. As a company we feel very proud to be contributing our skills and expertise to a project that will become such an eye-catching addition to the skyline of Ho Chi Minh City.”

The building services design includes a number of notable challenges for the team at Aurecon. For example, for the first time in Vietnam, a central air conditioning system will be integrated into all residential apartments, removing the local condensing units outside individual apartments to deliver a smoother look. The HVAC system also has to meet Green Building standards, so waste heat from the air conditioning units will be recovered and used elsewhere, including in the heating of hot water. Furthermore, in the three basement levels, Aurecon has created a 36,000 m2 system that includes concrete plenums and jet fans along the dividing walls. This set-up eliminates the need for traditional ductwork in the ceiling and increases the available headroom.

For the plumbing, risers to every apartment are positioned facing the building corridors, and they also align vertically in all floors, simplifying maintenance. The firefighting system includes a design where the podium and three basement levels can utilise water tanks from neighbouring buildings. These are gravity-activated, saving on the expense of the pumping system and offering a safer design.

Lighting and facade design

In terms of lighting, Aurecon’s work covered all requirements for both the facade and the surrounding landscape, and there is a strong emphasis on energy efficiency. For example, all the luminaries use LEDs for better efficiency, while the plan for the exterior includes suggested use of solar-powered lighting. This will not only reduce overall energy consumption but also minimise the need for wiring. A lighting management system will control the usage and level of lighting and includes daylight sensors so lighting is only on during hours of darkness.

Angela Woo Scott, senior lighting designer at Aurecon, said it is important to consider both the functional and aesthetic advantages of each lighting option.

“Lighting such an outstanding building is about achieving the right balance and ensuring a functional yet striking end result,” she said. “We have worked with the developer and architect to create a set-up that highlights the elegance and luxury of the development without being excessive.”

Several of the facade-mounted luminaries presented a challenge for the lighting team, but as Aurecon was also handling the engineering of the facade, the two internal teams were able to work together to find a solution. Aurecon’s work on the facade was awarded later in the project, but despite the tight timeline, the company was able to deliver a proposal that met all requirements, including some challenging features — such as the all-glass wall entrance that will comprise a 26 metre-high glass and stone system with minimal framing members.

Steve Daniels, global facade leader at Aurecon, said the more challenging features called for intelligent design.

“We mixed clever designs for the challenging aspects of this project with efficient solutions for the more straightforward aspects, and the optimisation and standardisation of the overall solution proved the key to our success,” he said. “All of the systems were detailed in close coordination between our Vietnam, Dubai and Singapore offices. Our expertise also took account of all necessary thermal, lighting and rain water safety elements. This was a true team job.”

The Landmark 81 is scheduled to complete in 2017. It will include a five-star hotel, serviced apartments, residential apartments and retail space over a total floor area of 241,000 m2.

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