Pivot to China:
How Jin Mao Portended Future Supertalls

Tue, Apr 13, 2021
Jim Mao, 1999

Mark Sarkisian,

PE, SE, LEED®AP

Structural and Seismic Engineering Partner, SOM

Mark Sarkisian is the structural and seismic engineering partner in SOM's San Francisco office. He holds fourteen U.S. and international patents for high-performance seismic structural mechanisms and environmentally responsible structural systems. Mark has designed more than 100 major building projects around the world, including the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the NBC Tower in Chicago, and two supertalls, Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, and Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait.

Mark will discuss the structural design of SOM’s Jin Mao Tower, which when completed in 1999 at 420 m / 1,380 ft. was first of the trio of supertalls in Shanghai’s Pudong business district. Its multiple functions, with offices on the lower floors and a luxury hotel and observation deck above, established the mixed-use typology that would characterize many Chinese supertalls in the next two decades. Mark will explain the innovative foundations and seismic design of Jin Mao and the concrete core and mega-column structural system that accommodated the dramatic central atrium that rises through the hotel stories.

Mark received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and M.S. in Structural Engineering from Lehigh University. He is the author of Designing Tall Buildings: Structure As Architecture (Routledge, 2011; 2016) Mark frequently lectures on the creative integration of structural engineering and architecture and teaches an integrated studio focused on collaborative opportunities in design. He has also received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Clarkson University.

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