The Crazy Winds at the Flatiron Building in New York City | Wind Simulation

This video is about The Flatiron Building located in New York City. The video features wind simulations by SimScale a revolutionary cloud-based platform. You can create a SimScale account for free at

The Flatiron building was completed in 1902. It was designed by Daniel Burnham and originally called the Fuller Building after its builder. The colloquial name “Flatiron” sticks to this day because the building’s shape resembles an antique iron. The shape, as you’ll see later in this video – created quite a stir when it was built. The Beaux-Arts style of the building is iconic and a favorite of photographers and film makers. The building was a product of the Chicago School of Architecture and inspired by ancient classical precedent. The facade is organized in parts – like a Greek or Roman column with a base, middle and capital. The building is made of steel and clad in limestone and terra cotta. Ironically, it wasn’t appreciated by everyone for it’s unusual ship like appearance at the time it was built. And unless you’ve ever visited you wouldn’t know that the site together with the building generate strong winds. That because of its location. It’s sits between East 22nd and 23rd streets, splits Broadway and 5th avenue, and resides at the end of an open corridor created by Madison Square Park at the North. Wind was such a influencing factor when the building was built that engineers designed it to endure winds four times stronger than might generated on site. In fact police in the area were often times forced to tell men to stop loitering as they tried to get a glimpse of woman’s bare ankles as their skirts were forced up by the unpredictable winds. As you can see from the wind simulations made by friends at Simscale the winds generated on site are strongest from the north indicated in red. As these wind gusts reach the curved front edge of the building they create accelerated wind flow and vortices. The wind flow acceleration around the building is highlighted in this three dimensional close-up as indicated by the white and red volumes. The curved front tip of the building, as seen in the next color simulation, clearly creates high wind speeds. These, in turn, cause vortex to form and sudden wind flow changes that are particularly strong on the 5th avenue side. What’s really cool about these simulations is that they’re available to everyone. As you might imagine complex simulations like these are really expensive, especially for a small architectural firm like mine. But Simscale makes them available for free if you don’t mind your results being available to the general public. On their site you can actually view thousands of simulations from the community or adapt an existing simulation for your own use – and they run workshops regularly. If you’re an architect, engineer or designer Simscale can not only be used to predict wind loads, but also to ensure pedestrian comfort, validate ventilation and air conditioning, and review air quality and thermal comfort. All you have to do is sign up and upload your model. So, thanks again to Simscale for these really cool simulations that prove what the police knew 100 years ago – And also a big thanks free software that gives architects like me an incredibly powerful tool. I’m Doug Patt and we’ll see you next time.

This video was kindly sponsored by SimScale.

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