In highly seismic environments, wind isn’t often front-of-mind. But, the simple flow of air, at force, can wreak havoc on the built environment—impacting the endurance and stability of high-rise buildings, canopies and unique structures like airport control towers and sculptures. Considering and designing for wind loading can have a huge benefit on the resilience, performance and ‘comfort’ of buildings and other structures.
Holmes is a keen supporter of the industry’s focus on reducing natural resources and developing a sustainable built environment. This has accelerated the adoption of lighter and more advanced materials, but also resulted in making structures more susceptible to wind than the historic heavy masonry and concrete buildings of the past. Studies in New Zealand’s own windy Wellington found that wind-induced motion sickness was reported in 29 buildings at heights of nine storeys and above—an effect which can be predicted and effectively mitigated through early-stage design solutions.
Just as naturally generated wind can impact structures, structures themselves can also alter the wind flow around them—in some cases resulting in wind at street level—a big challenge in urban development. Working collaboratively with the architect early in the project allows clever adjustment to the building form to be made to mitigate that risk, guiding the air away from street level and minimising the impact of the wind flow structures create.
On Auckland’s Commercial Bay development, our team at Holmes collaborated with the World’s leading wind specialist to manage the wind tunnel testing for this 39-storey mixed-use structure—which features a striking foil that tapers from level 35 to 39. Testing results identified the structure would be subject to large wind pressures generated by the strong winds blowing across the harbour. Our wind engineers are specialists in facing those kinds of challenges, working hand in hand with the design team to deliver structures equipped to cope with wind loads and provide comfort and longevity to their owners and occupants.
At Holmes, our wind engineering services cover:
- Environmental winds – the assessment of wind conditions around a building.
- Structural – early stage advice on the dynamic effects of wind for high-rise and complex structures.
- Wind tunnel testing – the management of wind tunnel testing.
- Façade – the assessment of wind loads on façade materials or components.
- Building monitoring – the measurement of wind induced movement and accelerations of an existing building.
- Other elements – including wind hazard assessment, operational wind issues, wind effects on smoke exhaust strategy, and wind dispersion of pollutants.