Meixi Urban Helix Structure in Changsha, China
A spectacular viewing platform visible from afar is the architectural highlight of Meixi International New City, a city expansion of Changsa, China. The conical double helix with a height of 98.5 ft provides a 360-degree view, including the Meixi reservoir, which covers a 4,305,564 ft² area.
|Investor||City of Changsha, China|
KSP Jürgen Engel Architects
Weiske + Partner GmbH
Beratende Ingenieure VBI
KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten together with Weiske + Partner structural engineers developed different ideas for the project in 2013. The decision was made in favor of the helix in its present form. The engineers from Weiske + Partner used FEA software RFEM for the structural analysis of the spatial structure.
A pedestrian-accessible 20-foot-wide ramp spirals upward around the exterior of the inclined columns. At the lookout height of 99 ft, the helix has a total diameter of 289 ft. A reverse ramp on the interior of the columns leads pedestrians back down to the base of the structure. The structure has a total length of less than 1 mile and ends in a public park.
The ramps consist of bending and torsion-resistant steel pipes which are supported at the face of the 32 steel columns. Because the ramp is supported on both the interior and exterior of the columns, the eccentric loads are largely compensated. Therefore, the columns were designed as relatively slender and economical hollow box sections. The tapered columns consist of a wider base diameter and are fixed at the footing to a circular foundation on large bored piles.
The lateral support of the helix structure includes filigree tension cables spanning between the columns. The cables' flat inclination reduces the horizontal stiffness of the structure, resulting in smaller seismic load reaction forces.
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Programs Used for Structural Analysis
Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements
Stress analysis of steel surfaces and members
Design of steel members according to Eurocode 3
Design of reinforced concrete members and surfaces (plates, walls, planar structures, shells)
Dynamic analysis of natural frequencies and mode shapes of member, surface, and solid models