CITIC Tower: the Engineering of the Tallest Building in Beijing

Peng Liu
Arup, Beijing

The 528m tall CITIC tower is the tallest building in the city of Beijing and also holds the record of the tallest building in high seismic zone around the world. The elegant, curved elevation of CITIC Tower is a result of balancing of architectural form, structural efficiency and commercial needs.

Inspired by Chinese traditional drinking vessel “Zun”, the CITIC Tower has an enlarged top, which locates much more leasing area to more valuable top floors and adds extra value to client. The perimeter mega frame is highly efficient for lateral resistance for this “Zun” shape tower. The central core is concrete with steel plates embedded in critical locations which significantly improves the seismic performance of the core walls. This composite configuration makes the CITIC tower one of the most cost-effective high-rise buildings. The max. core wall thickness is only 1.2m which releases more effective floor areas. At ground floor, only four composite mega columns are located at corners to create a grand entrance lobby with 55m wide column free elevation. The structure was designed with cutting-edge parametric structural modeling and advanced finite element analysis to ensure its safety under different earthquake scenarios, which was also verified by a shaking table test. Due to the limited site area the CITIC Tower has seven stories basement which was supported by bored piles at 40m below ground through 6.5m thick raft.