The new headquarters for Giant Group, the leading bicycle manufacturer in the world, is an architectural exercise not just in brand building but cultural construction almost fifty years after the company’s founding.
Located in the heart of the Central Taiwan Science Park, the project occupies a narrow site nestled amongst the leading IT manufacturers of Taiwan. The program consists of a 15-story office tower and a 3-story cycling culture museum, connected by an underground parking garage, with a total gross floor area of approximately 33,000m². The soaring tower and curvaceous museum form a dynamic composition that stands out from the neighboring blockish manufacturing facilities.
The tapering tower form corresponds with the program arrangement, with the public and amenity areas in the podium followed by the R&D labs and offices, and culminating in the executive suites at the top. The exterior wall design takes full advantage of its unobstructed surroundings with floor-to-ceiling glazing on three sides and a generous 4.5m floor height to allow in ample natural light. Appropriate shading on each façade is provided by the architecturally expressive undulating slab covers with the deepest overhang on the south side in the form of balconies. The balconies also afford each office floor with an outdoor place of respite with views towards downtown Taichung. A series of zig-zagging ramps lead from the plaza level to the connecting bridge on the second floor then on to the bicycle storage room on the third floor and terminate at the outdoor deck on the podium roof.
The cycling culture museum features approximately 3,700 m² of dedicated exhibition space on two floors, while the third floor is utilized for special exhibition and office purposes. A lofty atrium greets the visitors upon arrival and a grand stair between two oval exhibition halls leads up to the second floor. The fluid interior spatial sequence and circulation pattern fully complement the architectural design. On the south side of the building, the Giant logo is composed of perforations in the metal panels and is backlit at night.
The choice of aluminum panels as the dominant façade material draws inspiration from the use of aluminum as the main material for bicycle frames. Budgetary concerns meant the design had to use a minimum number of expensive double-curved panels to achieve the desired appearance. Careful geometric manipulation and analysis during the design stage was followed by a series of mock-ups and inspections to ensure a satisfactory outcome. In terms of structural systems, the tower utilizes steel construction while the museum makes use of thin shell reinforced concrete construction.
In order to achieve a fluid appearance, the architects’ Rhino design model became part of the contract documents. BIM was then used by all disciplines to facilitate coordination while the exterior wall subcontractor used 3D coordinates position each embed anchor to ensure the stainless steel sub-girts for the cladding panels could be accurately installed. The open joint aluminum panels were then fastened to the secondary framing with final minor adjustments done in the field.
The landscape design is conceived as a natural extension of the architectural design. Elements such as the flowing pebble paving patterns and a set of curved exterior stairs that integrate with the surrounding architecture. The highlight of the outdoor spaces is the activity plaza that is buttressed by the two buildings and ideally configured for exhibitions and performances. The plaza is reached from the sidewalk via a pedestrian/cyclist bridge formed by z-shaped bent steel plates.
In sum, the architectural design of the project evokes the speed of cycling and the raw material of the bicycle frame to create a distinct temple of cycling culture uniquely suited for the new headquarters of Giant Group.
J.J. Pan and Partners is an architectural and planning firm dedicated to providing creative solutions in the design and planning of human environments. Founded in January, 1981 by Mr. Joshua Jih Pan, the firm is based in Taipei, Taiwan with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. The firm combines talented design capability and diversified technical experience into a comprehensive, world-class service package for clients in Taiwan and around the globe.
The firm has demonstrated the highest levels of professional expertise, especially when handling state-of-the-art, complex and large-scale projects. Such accomplishment is also affirmed by the numerous awards for design excellence that the firm has received. In recognition of a career of distinction, Mr. Pan was elected a Fellow by the American Institute of Architects in 1994 and was awarded the Taiwan 19th National Award for Arts in 2015.
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