High-tech, comfort in the workplace and integration of surrounding nature are key factors in the redesign of a technological hub in Zhongguancun: the Digital Economy Innovation Industry Base by the Qucess Design architecture studio. With an old factory not far from the universities of Tsinghua and Beijing as departure point, the aim was to maximize and enhance the interiors in particular, to ensure good ventilation, brightness and air quality for the work environment. The designers translated and extended this philosophy into solutions welcoming green areas of nature. "The idea is that the presence of a garden around offices is a way to guarantee moments of relaxation, also just by gazing out of the window or as soon as the users step outside for a walk in the sun and air," Qucess Design explained. The outdoor gardens ‒ one of which, to the rear, is impressive in size ‒ are accompanied by a green space inside the building. Starting out from the reworking of the glass entrance area, the space was redesigned by subdividing it into four circular portions, generating the central oasis.
Once inside the Digital Economy Innovation Industry Base, you find yourself in its atrium, with the first plants and bushes, flooded by natural light thanks to the broad skylight. Here the flow of time can be perceived: the soft light of the twinkling stars filters down in the evening. This is also a way to pick up on traces of the old factory, evoked through the wide expanse of glass to look at the sky. This also creates a contrasting effect with the walls and part of the untreated roofing. The load-bearing structures of the two panoramic lifts also make their contribution: they are minimalist but eye-catching in their yellow colour. Two white spiral flights of stairs start from here, and these have been added to the previous layout for the purpose of easing the flow of people moving around.
Two gardens in different styles have been placed on the roof, springing from a desire to maximise space and develop a sense of welcome: the largest of the two features self-illuminating solar seating next to slender leaf- and feather-shaped installations. A creation combining eco-sustainability with technology which, in a certain sense, mirrors workers' lives during the internet era.
Location: Zhongguancun, Pechino (Cina)
Design company: Qucess Design
Chief designer: Li Yiming
Structural consultant: China Academy of Building Research Co., Ltd.
Completion: May 2020
Project area: 21.565 m2
Photography by Zheng Yan, courtesy of Qucess Design