After a construction period of six years, the multi-functional Greenland Central Plaza complex in Zhengzhou was completed in December 2016. In the preceding architectural competition in 2010, the design by gmp was awarded first prize and the architectural practice was commissioned to carry out the project. In total, the multi-functional complex comprises about 746,200 square meters of gross floor area.
Zhengzhou is the capital of Henan province, and is experiencing continuous growth; it is currently estimated that, by 2020, the metropolis at the Yellow River will have over 11 million inhabitants. In order to prepare for this development, a new railway station has been built in recent years to the east of the city to create a central traffic interchange. In terms of urban design, the Greenland Central Plaza complex lies at the end of an urban axis that connects the city center with the new railway station. Like the gates to a city, the verticality of the Greenland Towers contrasts with the horizontal buildings of the railway station, with a linking plaza stretching out between the towers. At a height of 284 meters, the symmetrical twin towers are significantly higher than the other high-rise buildings in the vicinity and, as a new landmark in the skyline of Zhengzhou, are visible from afar. The sculptural design is reminiscent of the curved topography of Henan Province with its hills and valleys that have been carved out by the winding Yellow River over thousands of years. Just as the river structures the landscape, rhythmically inserted sky lobbies provide a structure to the silhouette of the slender towers like meandering ribbons.
The 63 stories of the Greenland Towers accommodate primarily offices. One tower comprises about 232,000 square meters—a large area for a high-rise building, which is due to the very large area per floor of 4,000 square meters. The advantage of this layout is that it enables generous, large-scale office units with flexible room division. At the base, L-shaped plinth buildings with shop and restaurant facilities, as well as a cinema, are located to the side of both towers. Owing to the fact that the plinth buildings are physically separate from the towers, there is unimpeded access to the generously designed lobbies of the towers from all four sides; on a daily basis, nearly 12,000 people make their way through these lobbies to the upper floors of each tower. Efficient vertical access is provided by 56 elevators with a maximum speed of up to 7 meters/second. The plan layouts of the towers have been arranged in windmill fashion; the column grid of 10.5 meters lends itself to very flexible layout organization. All offices benefit from natural ventilation via concealed openings in the facade profiles, which represent integral elements of the project. Every 8 floors, at the opposite corners of the rotation-symmetrical layout plans, there are two-story high sky lobbies; the next higher sky lobby in each case is then offset by 90 degrees. The sky lobbies provide public amenities in the vertical development. An unusual feature in a high-rise building of this size: the sky lobbies offer employees the opportunity to use an outside terrace at high level and, from here, to enjoy the view across the cityscape of Zhengzhou. The upper stories of the Greenland Towers, with a 15-storey sky atrium, are reserved for an exclusive use. Next to the atrium, spread across three stories, lies the so-called "Sky Commerce" with restaurants, shops, and a spa, which are accessed directly from the lobby on the first floor via an express elevator. The top-most parts of the towers are made up of luxurious offices in the north tower and exclusive club facilities and apartments in the south tower.
With art exhibitions and concerts, the sky atrium is a popular public venue at a height of 240 meters, and sets new benchmarks for vertical urban life in China.
Formed in 1965 by Meinhard von Gerkan and Volkwin Marg, the architects’ practice gmp is taking on responsibility for a project from its outline design idea through to the construction and interior design. Over a period of more than 50 years all gmp-partners and their team’s completed more than 410 projects to date and won over 380 first prizes in architectural competitions. Most famous is their airport architecture: Berlin-Tegel was opened as a drive-in airport in 1975, which is until today renowned as a blueprint for this typography and started gmp unprecedented history of success.
The practice’s architectural approach is characterized by the Vitruvian criteria: solidity, durability and beauty. Beyond this approach, the practice always complies with the different certified guidelines applicable in different cultural spheres, as agreed with the respective client. gmp is currently involved in several projects around the world, operating in more than 16 countries.