Wirth Research (WR) Founder and Technical Director Nick Wirth has welcomed the City of London’s proposal to introduce stricter new building guidelines for skyscrapers, but warns that more can still be done to improve the urban environment for pedestrians and cyclists in high-rise areas.
Last month, following consultation with Wirth Research and other leading industry practitioners, the City of London Corporation (CoLC) unveiled a revised set of guidelines for skyscrapers due to concerns about the potential for strong winds to knock people off their feet and push cyclists into passing vehicles.
The ‘wind tunnel effect’ caused by a concentration of high-rise buildings can generate fierce downdrafts, which can in-turn result in serious incidents if left unresolved. CoLC’s proposed new framework raises the level of analysis required of developers to demonstrate an acceptable wind microclimate.
While historically, wind tunnel testing has been standard practice for assessing the wind impact of potential skyscrapers, henceforth, new developments will require computer simulations of wind effect – one of Wirth Research’s specialist areas, with a market-leading offering in terms of model resolution down to 50mm – at the very beginning of the design process.
WR’s founder Nick Wirth is a former Formula 1 team owner and designer, and was previously the youngest-ever Fellow of the Royal Institution of Mechanical Engineers. A pioneer of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)* in motorsport, he has since transferred that knowledge and expertise to Wirth Research’s expanding portfolio in the built environment sector – with high-profile projects including Apple Park in California, 22 Bishopsgate and the award-winning Bloomberg European HQ.
Wirth Research has been collaborating in recent months with digital twin planning platform VU.CITY, providing CFD-generated wind analysis to help produce the world’s largest and most accurate 3D city models – with further exciting news to follow.