Westin New York Hotel

Among the most exuberant new towers to arrive on the New York skyline is the Westin New York Hotel on Times Square. Standing 45 stories and incorporating 863 rooms, the distinctive building is a flamboyant as its location, soaring above traffic and colorful billboards of Times Square in the Broadway theater distinct of Manhattan.

The design is conceived as a symbolic fusion of earth and sky spliced by a curving beam of light. Finishing in a skyward-pointing flourish, the western “sky” half of the tower is sheathed in vertically striped glass in intense steel-blue and pale purple. The eastern portion sits a few stories lower than its partner. It visually anchors the building to the ground by the horizontal stripes of shimmering bronze and copper glass that depict the earth. Between the two sculptural segments, the great 108 meters long Beam of Light runs up the facade facing 42nd street and bursts out the top of the building to pierce the sky.

Closer to the ground, the shaft of the tower sits on a chunky base clad in a colorful abstract design. this portion of the building contains the 126 executive club rooms and suites before is drops down the to street level, which there is a glass area. The energy and the vibrancy of the exterior is continued inside on a smaller scale. Here the distinctive color palette and geometric and abstract shapes seen on the outside are reworked and incorporated into textile and wall murals.

There is a bold abstract art, sleek black furnishings, contemporary furniture, and rooms are finessed with luxurious materials. Along with guest rooms, the hotel has bars, a pastry shop, and cafe, together with a spa and fitness center, more than 30 state-state-of-the-art meeting rooms, and no fewer than three ballrooms. Also part of the project is at ground level is E walk-a huge complex compromising stores, restaurants, a blues nightclub, and a movie theater.

Opened on October 2002, the Westin New York, which was designed by the architecture practice Architectonic, forms a key part of the regeneration of the previously run-down Times Square neighborhood. Along with theatergoers, the hotel serves a large business clientele which is drawn to the several million square feet of new office space that has been added to this area in recent years.

Facts

  • The hotel exterior is wrapped in 8,000 sheets of glass, back painted in different colors.
  • Standing 162 metres tall, this tower was the largest new-build hotel to open in Manhattan in 17 years.
  • There are more that 40 theaters within a few minutes’ of walk of the hotel.

Thunder Horse Oil Platform

 

Despite an almost universal recognition of the need to find alternatives to fossil fuel, the world’s insatiable demand for oil and gas continues to gain pace, driving oil companies to search fresh reserves under ever more challenging conditions. The Thunder Horse Platform in the Gulf of Mexico is an astonishing example of how this challenge has stimulated engineers to build increasingly massive and sophisticated structures.

The oil field, discovered 240 kilometers south of the Louisiana coast by BP in 1999, is the largest ever found in this region, but tapping into this rich reservoir poses problems that can scarcely be imagined. The oil lies buried under 6,000 metres of rock and mud beneath the sea 1,830 metres deep. When drilled for such a depth, oil emerges at a pressure of 17,400 psi and at a temperature of 135 degrees Celsius-conditions never previously encountered on any offshore rig. It was these extreme demands that led to innovative floating oil platform in the world.

With a deck size of three soccer field, the platform is essentially a giant raft that floats on submerged watertight pontoons.The main structure, supported on four corner columns, is a rectangular steel box measuring 136 metres long, 111 meters wide, and 10 metres high. It contains living quarters for a workforce of 139, while operational equipment is housed in modules alongside the helipad and drilling derrick on the open deck. Licked into a network of submarine pipelines, Thunder Horse is designed to produce up to 250,000 barrels of oil and 5.6 million cubic metres of natural gas a day, but, unlike most offshore rigs, it incorporates a range of innovative features designed to minimize environmental harm. Sand is bought up to the surface by pumps, then shipped to shore for cleaning and recycling, while waste water, instead of being flushed into the ocean, is mixed with seawater and then injected back into the oilfield to maintain the reservoir’s high pressure.

BP discovered this oilfield by sending the drill-ship Discovery 534 to sink a “discovery well” in 1999. Enough oil was found to have the drill-ship Discoverer Enterprise send down an appraisal well. Discoverer 534 then found more oil further north, BP started building the production platform. Despite risks that the oil estimated were wrong or the oil prices were collapse, the potential profit is enormous. Thunder Horse is expected to hand at least 1 billion barrels of oil over next 25 years and, after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, prices rocketed, making Thunder Horse’s “black gold” worth $70 billion on that day.

Thunder Horse PDQ was evacuated with the approach of Hurricane Dennis in July 2005. After the hurricane passed, the platform fell into a 20 degree list and was in danger of foundering. The platform was designed for a 100-year event, and inspection teams found no hull damage and no leaks through its hull.

Facts

  • Designing and building the platform took 15 million man hours.
  • Thunder Horse displaces 143,000 tons of seawater.
  • The platforms impact on the environment is lowered as it recovers waste heat, reducing the energy bill.

Hangzhou Bay Bridge

The Hangzhou Bay Bridge-or, more pressingly, the Great Trans-oceanic Hangzhou bay Bridge-is a cable-stayed structure structure. when the bridge was completed in 2008 is was the first direct road link between Shanghai and Ningbo, in the Zhejiang Province. The bridge is the longest trans-oceanic bridge in the world. Construction work started on 2003 and toke nearly a decade of feasibility studies. The bridge is 36 Kilometers long with six expressway lanes in two directions, making it the second longest bridge in the world. The bridge is designed to last a hundred years and to carry traffic traveling at 100 kph.

The highway runs southwest from Shanghai to the city of Jiaxin, in Zhejiang Province, before swinging southeast, directly across Hangzhou Bay, to the city of Ci-xi, also in Zhejiang Province, then continuing southeast to the major city of Ningbo. Before the bridge was completed the route between Shanghai and Ningbo was 400 kilometers and after completion of the bridge the distance is just 80 kilometers!

One important economic consequence of this is that Ningbo, with its up-to-date container port at Beilum, will be able to compete on more equal terms terms with Shanghai’s vast docks at Pu-dong for international maritime freight. To the Ci-xi, large new industrial zones are being built to add to the already massive capacity of the Yangtze Delta region. Another economic plus is that tourism, especially in the domestic market, because the bridge has made a four hour long drive into one hour long which does attract more people for their weekends.

Facts

  • The Hangzhou Bay Bridge costed approximately US$1.42 billion.
  • When the bridge was opened, the traffic flow was expected to be around 52,000 vehicles per day, though in 2009 it was raised to 96,000 vehicles per day.
  • Two thirds of china’s national private investments originate in the Province of Zhejing.

30 St Mary Axe

The 30 St Mary Axe first emerged above London’s skyline in 2003, it was unlike any tall building that Londoners had ever previously seen. It almost instantly became known “the Gherkin,” and, although the likeness to a pickled cucumber might seem a touch far-fetched, the nickname does acknowledge not only the tower’s unique, organic shape, but also its proud claim to be “green.” The building’s well-known architect, Lord Foster, has described it as a “pine cone.”

The shape of the building allows the 40-story building to occupy a minimum of ground space. The diameter of the building is 50 metres at base level, it expands bulbous waist of 56 metres on the 16th before tapering towards its highest point. In fact, the buildings height of 180 metres is only 2 metres greater than its maximum circumference. This means that the most of the site is left free as public space, a valuable commodity in London’s densely built financial heart. The shape also offers less resistance to the wind, reducing the down-droughts and eddies that swirl around tall structures.

The buildings consume up to 30 percent less energy than an equivalent-sized office block of conventional design. Much of this saving is achieved through the tower’s “biomorphic” form, which reduces the reliance on artificial lighting and air conditioning. The atria that spiral up around the core open up the structure to sunlight and fresh air, which is drawn by natural convection through the diagonal raising levels. Windows can also be opened to allow natural ventilation of the building.

Facts

  • The building was officially opened in March 2004 and it can, in theory, accommodate about 4,000 people.
  • The building contains nearly 35 kilometers on structural steel.
  • The glass cladding consists of 5,500 panels, covering the equivalent of 5 soccer fields.