Situated in CBD area, the project is encircled by so many high-rise buildings that it can hardly be seen on the arterial roads. In such context, we shifted the design focus from creating an eye-catching architectural form to providing a public space at the base. We captured the contradictions between the urban planning and the developers’ requirements, successfully guiding the developers to transform the core part of the site into a playful urban public space with a shortcut connecting the surroundings. Moreover, the unique glass dome offers unprecedented spatial experiences.
A perfect location, yet with blemish
The project is located near the Civic Center in Futian district, CBD of Shenzhen. Theoretically this is a good location, but unfortunately there are already many tall buildings in the surroundings so that the project can hardly be seen on the arterial roads. Besides, although this block is small, it’s owned by two banks. From the perspective of urban design, it suggests that through the overall design and development of the two parties, a “shared hall” should be built as an entrance at the center of the plot, to realize zero setbacks and ease the tension of land use. The two owners also hoped to achieve zero setbacks, but they were not willing to build a real “shared hall”, for fear of ownership problems of shared properties. These are the two major difficulties of this design.
The strategy of “retreating in order to advance”
We chose the strategy of “retreating in order to advance” to solve the contradictions in the project.
First, instead of discussing how to design an unconventional tower building that can compete with others in the surroundings, we chose to design two upright and simplistic tower buildings that blend into the entire central area, demonstrating a rational and humble attitude.
Second, we shifted the design focus from the tower building to the base of the building, trying to create a distinctive urban public space, a landmark of urban life in the densely built city center. Here we played an “edge ball” and changed the “shared hall” concept into a streamlined podium building that connect the two tower buildings together, yet with a public passage that is completely open to the city at the bottom. The passage is enlarged at the center of the site, forming a tall glass dome. The office people enter this dome, and then go to the lobbies of the two banks.
There is a skylight on the top of the dome. When sunlight shines in, the reflection and refraction of the glass produces a crystal-like light and shadow effect that is not available in ordinary straight-faced glass buildings, creating unprecedented entrance hall experiences. This entrance hall is completely open and provides a playful shortcut to shading and sheltering for people from nearby properties and public transportation stations. It has transformed from a “shared hall” to a real “hall shared with the city”. The two banks also avoided the management problems they were worried about due to unclear property ownership.
As a result, the interests of the three parties (two banks and the city itself) have been taken care of, and the entire project has gained its distinction due to the unique sculptural form and special light and shadow effects of this shared hall.
Some design ideas
1. The aesthetics of “harmony without uniformity”:
In spite of the simple form of the tower building, we made subtle treatments on the facade. Vertical shading louvers are adopted as the main element, but the louvers are twisted at 45 degrees on the top of the tower building and at the corners that receive the most solar radiation. The length is longer than the vertical part and its shading effect is better. Due to the twist, from certain light angles, the simple shading lines seem to have a dramatic effect, demonstrating the “harmony without uniformity” aesthetics.
2. Complex shapes and standard nodes:
Although the podium building has a large number of curved surfaces, it is almost impossible to find several pieces of the same glass. We still designed a standard node system to adapt to any shape and any angle of glass installation. The primary and secondary keel structure systems and the design which resembles the “gear” mechanism that absorbs the structural characteristics of “unit-typed curtain wall” together greatly improve the construction efficiency.
Conclusion: A city-friendly tower building
This building was photographed by an advertisement. The scene was a woman walking towards the screen from the passage of the shared hall, under the glass dome shimmering in the bright sunshine at noon. We had no intention of participating in the competition of Internet celebrity buildings, but hoped that this building would be city-friendly. For these super high-rise buildings, people can walk into them and feel the freshness and tolerance that they give to the city, instead of walking around from afar.
Founded in 1996, Zhubo Design is mainly engaged in architectural design and relevant design and consulting services ranging from architectural design to urban planning, landscape design, interior design, etc., and is committed to the comprehensive development of the industrial chain of design and architectural technologies. After more than 20 years of development, we have expanded design services including prefabricated architecture, BIM technology, green building, sponge city, intelligent building and so on.
Taking the architectural design as the core business, we increasingly expand our businesses. On the one hand, we pay more attention to the researchand application of advanced technologies and are awarded “National High-tech Enterprise”and recognized as the first group of “Prefabricated building industrial base”. On the other hand, we extend our reach on urban planning, civil design, landscape design, EPC, whole-process engineering and other consulting services.