What damage can skyscraper air turbulence do?

The answer may be written in the wind, but here in Vauxhall wouldn’t you rather read it on paper?

Are the Mayor and Lambeth/Wandsworth council planners too happy to take developers’ word for it that clustering tall buildings at Vauxhall Cross/Nine Elms poses no wind turbulence risk? The district’s unusual, Thames-induced wind conditions are ripe for international academic study, not least because tall buildings may pose a security risk to the new US Embassy at Nine Elms, suggests a Vauxhall Society study.

Collapse of cooling tower at Ferrybridge

West Yorkshire, 1965, three of Ferrybridge C power station’s eight cooling towers vibrate then collapse and the other five are wrecked in 85mph gusts. The towers had been designed to withstand higher wind speeds, but were tested for average wind speeds over one minute, neglecting shorter gusts. The grouping of the cooling towers funnelled westerly winds into the towers themselves to create a vortex. Nobody hurt.

Read The Vauxhall Society’s paper here.


3 comments for “What damage can skyscraper air turbulence do?

  1. 9 February 2012 at 9:02pm

    I am left with a sense of urgency after reading, today, of the tragic incident reported by the BBC on the 11th March 2011, in Leeds, where a van was blown onto 2 pedestrians, causing death to one and serious injury to another. Local comment is that the high speed gusts have been occurring at street level since the 110m tall, Bridgewater Place was built. This is similar in height to the tall buildings proposed for Vauxhall and Nine Elms in London.

    At the Coroner’s hearing, the officials and developers in Leeds, are claiming that they have adhered to all the regulatory requirements in the planning process, however, herein lurks a serious problem.

    The regulations are flawed where it concerns tall buildings.

    The science of the urban wind effect of tall buildings, both individually and when built in groups, is well known, but those in official and responsible positions in the UK, are choosing to ignore the science, with serious consequences for the communities around these tall building developments and the downwind wake that extends well beyond.

    When will the authorities & professional developers wake up and take note of the science and take the responsible course of action to rectify the problems in the regulatory framework and policy?

    How many more should die in this tragic way before anything is done?

    What can anyone do?

    Quite simply, write to your MP and raise a call for Parliament to halt all planning proposals and applications in the UK, for buildings taller than 5 storeys. Only once the planning policy and regulatory framework has been properly upgraded to the 21st century and designs properly tested, should the consideration of such developments be allowed to proceed.

  2. 10 February 2012 at 10:25am

    These wind assessment studies don’t seem to be worth the paper they’re written on, as the Leeds experience (Bridgewater Place, 110 m, see links below)) shows with tragic consequences. And if that’s what one tall building can do, what will be the effect of a whole cluster?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-12717762 :

    http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-england-leeds-16968325

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