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Office tower “Leeza Soho”

Think Big, Act Sustainable

Zaha Hadid Architects

Soho China is the country’s largest developer of office space and it secured a prime site when the government auctioned off plots in the new Fengtai Financial District, located in the southwest of Beijing, between the Second and Third Ring Roads. For Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) there was a double challenge: to straddle a subway interchange and to create a model of innovative design and sustainability that would anchor a master-planned community. Leeza Soho is the fourth collaboration between this architect and developer, for a total of 1.4 million sq. m, and it opened at the same time as ZHA’s 700,000 sq. m Daxing Airport. A high-speed line will run north linking the two airports, Lize and the capital’s CBD.

Leeza Soho conceals its complexity within an ellipsoid of stepped panels punctuated by two sine curves of clear glass that draw light into the world’s tallest atrium. This envelope links two independent structures that flank the subway tunnel running diagonally through the site. Sky bridges at levels 13, 24 and 35 span the atrium, which rises almost the full 207-m height of the twin 46-story towers and rotates 45 degrees to align with the traditional north-south axis and street grid of Beijing. Each half of Leeza Soho has its own structural core and peripheral columns. Reinforced concrete expresses the fluid, curvilinear lines of the building, while wide-flange steel is employed for the long-span bridges and the tension rings around each floor plate. Entering the atrium from below, or from the garden that ripples out from the base of the building, visitors are sure to gasp. The vertiginous space soars and twists, pulling in natural light and air, while seeming to ascend to the heavens. A functional void is infused with poetry and shows off the structural drama of the towers. It is sure to be intensively used, for the site is well served by buses and the tunnel connects two subway lines. There are two subterranean levels of...

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