Steel Institute of New York/USA
ODA Architecture + Werner Sobek, New York/USA
Services by Werner Sobek
Concept design, structural design, façade design, daylight design and sustainability planning
ODA Architecture, New York/USA
Orbit Tower is a 44 stories office building located in Midtown Manhattan, whose design won the first prize in Metals in Construction 2017 Design Challenge. The main objective of the competition, hosted by the Steel Institute of New York, was to design a high-rise office building featuring an innovative hybrid structural-façade system that can significantly reduce the amount of embodied energy, while meeting the highest standards in terms of energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality. The 220 meter-high hyperboloid volume is divided into four suspended 10-storey blocks interspersed with open city garden levels. The column-free elliptical floor plate allow for unobstructed quality views throughout the envelope and the abundant natural light, penetrating through the fully-glazed skin, masters a cutting-edge Class A office space. The dynamic shading device designed for this project consists of perforated steel sheets woven together by a custom shape-memory hinges that enable the component to work like an origami, opening and folding automatically according to the exterior conditions. In the summer, the unfolded geometry creates an overhang, differentiated according to each panel exposure that reduces the amount of solar radiation hitting the façade and alleviates the energy demand required for cooling. In winter, the folded shape allows for solar heat gain, thus lowering the heating energy demand. The application of highly efficient triple glazing, together with the absolute minimization of façade members, provides a top-grade thermal comfort in the interior spaces and a significant reduction of the building energy demand. Crowning the volume is a permeable mechanical screen of piezoelectric fiberglass stalks, generating as they sway in the wind.