Engineering Resilience: Designing the World’s Tallest Buildings for a Changing Wind Climate


Engineering Resilience: Designing the World’s Tallest Buildings for a Changing Wind Climate

Melissa Burton, Principal, Arup Canada and a Fellow of Wind Engineering

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m., April 21, 2022   |   138 DeBartolo Hall

The unprecedented escalation of climate related disasters has underscored some of the deep structural flaws and inequities in our market-driven, urban societies. As the world adapts to the vulnerabilities presented by our changing climate, a new template for the kinds of cities we need is developing, one that requires more flexibility and resilience in the way homes, workplaces and recreational spaces are designed.

Wind engineering and the interaction that the built environment has with the wind climate plays a vital part in the design of modern tall buildings.  The human-scale details and the experience we as designers and occupiers of the built environment crave is a key ingredient to a thriving and resilient city.

This talk will focus on the design of tall structures with a focus on improving performance and resilience in the face of a changing climate.

Melissa Burton is a Principal with Arup Canada and a Fellow of Wind Engineering.  She focuses on the intersection of the built and natural environments. She started her career looking at how the wind climate affects the buildings we design and how the consequential reaction of the buildings affects the people that occupy them. She has been involved in developing climate models for wind codes and has most recently collaborated with the Charles Pankow Foundation to co-author a design approach and pre-standard for performance based wind design. She is also the lead author in the Resilience-based Design Initiative (REDi) – Extreme Windstorms guidelines.  She has a global portfolio of work having lived and worked in Hong Kong, London, New York and Toronto. She has worked on more than 50 tall towers over her two-decade career.