Emboss Tower

The undulating facade of this derives its aesthetic beauty from its structural purpose.

A rendering of the tower integrated into a cityscape

Emboss Tower incorporates a building skin that can increase the stiffness of the tower and alleviate wind load better than the traditional flat exterior many high-rises have employed since the birth of the Chicago School skyscraper architecture in the late 19th century.

In their design concept, Song and his team explore the function of structural skin through a curved, embossed surface that enhances the tower’s stiffness. To make the building laterally stiffer, the curved form integrates with the diagonally intersecting steel system — known as a diagrid — and the embossed surface around the diagrid.

The tower was tested extensively using 3D wind simulating software.

This design “confuses” the major wind, which reduces wind pressure on the building. In the tall tower design with increasing height, wind engineering of dominant lateral loading governs the design factors to secure structural strength and user comfort.


Univeristy at Buffalo

  • Jin Young Song, AIA, LEED (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Architecture | Project Architect)
  • Donghun Lee (PhD Candidate, Dept. of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering | Structural Engineer) 

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

  • Chung Yeon Won, AIA, LEED (Associate Director | Technical Designer)
  • Bonghwan Kim, PE, AIA, LEED (Associate Director | Structural Engineer)
  • Keojin Jin (Designer)

Arizona State University

  • James Erickson, PhD, MSc (AA Dist.) Assoc. AIA, LEED (Arizona State Univ. | Environmental Designer)