Shanghai West Bund AI Tower: A Digital Strategy for Intuitive Connection

Shanghai West Bund AI Tower is changing the skyline of China’s largest city and setting a new standard for smart buildings in its urban area. WSP was involved from concept design through to construction on this 510,000 sq m mixed-use development, providing smart consultancy services as well as building services engineering and vertical transportation.

The scheme forms part of a new, world-class urban community on the banks of the Huangpu River, and will include high-end office space, as well as an arts centre, shops and luxury hotel. It aims to break new frontiers for business and innovation in Shanghai, and the client wanted a smart strategy to match.

Our first step was to sit down with the property management team to identify areas where smart technology could add value. It quickly became clear that the key challenges they had faced in the past arose from internal MEP systems operating in isolation from each other and that a more connected network would significantly boost operational efficiency.

WSP’s solution was to digitalise the AI Tower’s different systems, from lighting to hot water, and bind them together on a single Internet of Things (IoT) platform. High interactivity between devices, systems and people has brought myriad benefits, from avoiding multiple different maintenance schedules to gaining real-time understanding of what’s happening inside the building. If a fire alarm is activated on a corner of the 14th floor, for instance, a CCTV camera at that location will be automatically triggered, allowing for quick confirmation of whether or not it is a real fire without sending a team to the site.

Importantly, building operators can easily see what different parts of the tower’s complex system are doing at any one moment via an intuitive, 3D visualisation interface created using BIM – an additional design innovation from our experts.

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The building’s digital platform is also used to significantly enhance the user experience. Via a mobile app, people can access real-time information such as indoor air quality, carpark spaces and level of congestion in the lobby, allowing for more efficient planning. Depending on operational needs, the system could also be further programmed to enable users to control the temperature setting of their local air conditioning units.

Shanghai West Bund AI Tower has achieved both LEED-gold and China 3-star rating, and elements including an ice storage and ground source heat pump system are expected to garner energy savings of over 35% compared with an average building. Daylight and occupancy sensors will maximise natural light and fresh air, reducing power consumption while boosting wellbeing.