The plot is located in the north-western part of Beijing and is defined by streets on two sides:
A still-to-be-built main road in its north connecting the Second Ring Road (encompassing the ancient city centre) with the National Library area, and a smaller street in the west leading to the north gate of the Beijing Zoo.
By concentrating the building in the east side of the plot, it receives wider east-west facades which are favorable to an office building, even in China where south orientation is almost a must.
RhineScheme decided to take advantage of the particular plot features by positioning a large public square at the street corner. An open – and relatively protected – sunken plaza bounded by a simple landscape design will create a place for meeting and relaxation, giving a distinct name card to the owner-investor and to its cultural matrix.
The first three floors and the first underground floor of the 60-meters-tower are for retail and catering, while the remaining twelve levels provide office space. As an answer to the quite particular company culture, the main semipublic functions such as bar-restaurant, exhibition area and conference hall are placed in the top floor. Other areas for meeting and communication are appropriately located close to several overlooking terraces.
The company’s identity is reflected in the skin of the building which makes a clear distinction between (semi-)public areas and the places for work. Since IPPH mainly deals with publishing, the office facades create the vivid image of a book shelf, with bigger and smaller, thinner and wider volumes.
The project centers on the concept of cultural exchange, and on a well-going interrelation between different functions and users and between public, semi-public and private spheres.
The construction will be realized in two major steps, with the first two stages (82,500 m2) finished.
The long and narrow plot (480m x 65m) and its relationship with Dongfeng Avenue with high commercial value have defined the strategy and inspired the masterplan. The comb-like composition of the buildings creates a series of U-shaped courtyards which are open to the avenue. They have been designed with care to achieve a comfortable scale and atmosphere for visitors to stay in the area and to maximize the commercial value.
After a multitude of variants, the design finally solves the program by linking 7 buildings – 4 towers + 3 low-rise volumes – to a linear block in their back that contains mainly the parking. In this way the parking building has direct connection with the towers.
If Changchun is a city with important automobile industry and automobiles have changed the city and the city becomes highly dependent on automobiles, this project takes the challenge and accepts the automobile as one among several design elements.
Main design motif has been the break-down and downscaling of the massive program into a series of distinct but interrelated volumes with a variety of public squares in-between, which in their interplay create a dynamic spatial composition.
The office program is distributed into four towers, one of them raised to 100 meters height including a hotel to become a landmark for the area, visible from far distance along both the Fourth City Ring Road and Dongfeng Avenue.
The lower buildings, up to 8 stories high, and the lower levels contain the canteen and restaurants, meeting facilities, logistics and call center, retail etc. All the lobbies are facing the main road; the office spaces themselves are open for future modifications with flexible partitions and a carefully designed core to optimize the usable space.
The entire design is based on proportion, balance and serenity, suitable for the North of China and for a city that is obviously marked by industrial production and by an urban structure both influenced by Western culture. Clean geometry and limited material selection were strategic to achieve this goal.
Likewise, the used materials convey a desire for a certain dignity that fits to the privileged site. Granite, steel and glass are the major surface materials, hoping that the years pass by without a significant loss of beauty, and giving the kind of natural permanence that architecture is able to provide.wo
The tower is made up of 3 different volumes separated by landscaped terraces that provide excellent amenities for users and offer panoramic views.
These volumes are enclosed by a thin glass façade. Vertical steel frames protruding from the glass skin are creating a dynamic pattern and work as sun-shading elements.
Several incisions will open the building to the outside, providing the offices with green gardens, balconies and terraces, which offer a more delicate and welcoming appearance in opposition to the regular skin.
The tower’s podium opens up and becomes permeable as it reaches the ground: A big opening with commercial activities and lush vegetation, accessible to the public, as well as a smaller private entrance for the offices.
The middle volume containing renting offices is the most regular one. It anticipates the changing needs in workplace with large, open spaces that allow flexible use.
The top volume appears to float above the rest; it houses headquarter functions and large open air gardens that cascade over the top levels of the tower with amazing views of Xiamen.
These ‘hanging gardens’ are covered by steel frames that act as a pergola for sun protection, at the same time defining a clear shape of the tower for its urban image.
The building is designed to have minimal impact on the environment. It incorporates sustainable strategies through both passive and active energy-saving measures.
The illumination concept which has been developed at the same time is emphasizing the different day and night views of the facades.
The closed part of the envelope serves as huge projection screen during the evening hours.
To make it more attractive for potential buyers, this high-rise building should integrate service facilities that other developments in the vicinity do not or cannot offer, furthermore have a strong and unique, icon-like image easy to remember by name and by its shape.
These requirements and goals find an answer in an innovative building concept: The Cloud.
A building which creates at the same time individuality and community feeling by its arena-like interior that provides a positive, optimistic working atmosphere and that integrates attractive services in its podium and on its accessible and passable roofscape.
Compared with any kind of typical office tower, this building offers excellent possibilities of self-projection.
Compared with neighbouring business parks, the Cloud creates a dense business atmosphere, and by fostering communication and exchange it provides the basis for creativity. It is the best expression of commitment to employees and city development.
But not only the envelope is innovative; it is the spatial concept as a whole: Every office is like an individual townhouse – surrounding a central atrium, with individual access from different galleries. The program provides a great flexibility of spaces which can rapidly and efficiently adapt to changes.
The cloud concept is innovative, creative, communicative, open-minded, future-oriented, self-confident and sustainable in itself.
Foremost aim of this architectural and landscape proposal has been to create an architectural landmark that solves all functional aspects and serves the citizens, strong enough to be an adequate counterpart to the monstrous station building.
A whole string of hybrid buildings is lined up in front of the station, offering a very urban mix of uses and a (semi-)public interior atmosphere along a sequence of functions. Pedestrians can walk through the cluster and pass by shopping-malls and retailers, restaurants, cafés and tea houses, service and cultural facilities, exhibition and show rooms, hotel lobbies and such of business apartments and offices. A system of pedestrian paths is crossing and interconnecting the buildings and the main plaza, making it a permeable connection from the city to the station, equipped with open green spaces for the public and for the users of the buildings.
The overall idea is to form a ‘window to the city’, by the buildings’ architectural shape, by their function and in their façade design. A building volume forming the elements ‘frame and window’ is floating above a two-storey podium with a variety of uses for the public. The ‘windows’ – more or less transparent – will enhance the visibility and interaction between plaza activities and interior universe of each building. Moreover, these ‘windows’ can be used as multimedia screens serving for information, entertainment, and public events. They will indicate significant locations for public urban activities and welcome guests and visitors.
The railway station itself is focus and starting point of future development, with its plazas facing the south-western and north-eastern urban areas as linkage and connection. Both plazas serve as entrance to the city and functional hub for several traffic systems, but with different characters.
The squares will be vitalized by an attractive use of the encompassing buildings, and by their sophisticated landscape. Around the (Western) Main Square a sequence of smaller plazas and landscape features will be implemented to interact with various traffic elements, like subway access, bus terminal, taxi stand, car parking, ‘kiss & ride’, etc. The entity of squares is serving as forum and platform for numerous urban functions and activities, emphasizing the stay qualities along with the function as traffic hub.
The linear structures of the plazas are anchoring the Railway Station as their central element. A water axis is the connecting element between the two plazas. As ‘slow lane’ with rather calm character it is contrasting the ‘fast lane’ for traffic affairs. Tree groves serve as spatial structure and frame setting to create proportionate and human-scale spaces. Finally, a sequence of green spots and pocket parks are implemented as rest areas during the day, supported by an adequate lighting concept at night.
The first design proposal creates a dense and efficient architecture concentrated along an urban axis. The city hall itself is connected to the urban road system through a representative street. The solution allows to give land area back to the city that can be used for parks, cultural centre etc.
A governmental building is created that is linked to Chinese culture, but also expresses Yingkou’s aspirations of being a modern city and reference in China.
Three main elements are symbolizing traditional Chinese culture: Podium and roof reminds of traditional Chinese constructions; a monumental volume emphasizing the middle expresses the representative character of the building. By contrast, the building’s functions are quite contemporary.
Entering the main building though its promising golden gate, the effect of the grand lobby is similar to that of an amethyst geode: rough and strong stone on the outside, marvellous crystals on the inside.
Not much different from the main building, the lateral ‘secondary office building’ and the ‘public affairs building’ are made of white stone towards the outside and glass with different transparencies to the interior courtyards. Both building parts are covered by a fifth façade: a metallic reflective roof that protects against rain and sun.
The second proposal refers to the layout of Beijing’s Forbidden City and gives it a modern interpretation.
The way buildings are designed and arranged in the Forbidden City reflects the world-view of the Chinese: The union of human being and nature based on balance and harmony, as well as a philosophy that reflects on the functions buildings are intended for. This style of architecture expressed in the Imperial Palace has been emulated all over China.
In a contemporary application of the ancient principles, buildings are expanding all over the plot providing a variety of courtyards and intimate plazas. On the one hand those buildings have different functions and sizes; on the other hand they show similarity in the language of their façade. Unifying element is an arcade, which interconnects the building parts and links them to the main building. The arcade’s secondary function is to open the ground floor to the surrounding nature.
The general building arrangement follows Chinese traditional culture: The main office building is the highest and biggest building in the centre of the cluster, with a lower building to the south that acts as reception of the entire complex. Both volumes are linked by a glass roof which incorporates the conference space.
Whereas the left side traditionally means promotion or higher-ranking (hence accommodates the ‘secondary office building’), the right side means demotion or lower-ranking (and is the location of the ‘public affairs building’).
Program spaces on the first 6 floors are: a subterranean parking garage, retail, cinemas, and restaurants. The floors 7-64 are mainly office areas provided for the various companies, separated by green atrium spaces programmed for restaurants, relaxation, conference facilities, etc. A sky-garden with restaurants and shops on the rooftop will be open to the public.
The ecological concept combines: natural ventilation and cooling and passive heating through a double-skin façade and sky gardens, ground cooling and stack ventilation, sun tracking photo voltaic panels embedded within the outer building envelope, electro-chromic glass for sun shading.
The LED multi media façade within the inner office envelope will be the social interface with the public and is intended to show live chats, videos, images, adverts and news.
Metal in a warm charcoal grey is used for windows and secondary cladding elements, e.g. for hidden air conditioning units.
The project includes a 9-level newly constructed office tower, the façade of which follows the same design principles as the refurbished buildings, making it an inseparable part of the whole development.
A mix of human scale and green technology forms the corporate image and the chance to give the company a thriving, prosperous impetus. The headquarter tow¬er emerges vertically as image and landmark of the whole plot. It resembles a jet turbine: generated by a radial plan, narrower at the base, widening on the floors above before tapering to its top, giving a distinctive outline on the masterplan.
The building is curved vertically and horizontally. Without sharp edges it is hard to catch the real scale of the building, giving it a sense of lightness compared with the surrounding high-rises. The tower appears more slender than a rectangular block of equivalent size. Moreover, the aerodynamic form – like wings of an airplane – is minimizing wind loads on the structure and cladding. The shape allows much of the area to be landscaped, providing a valuable outdoor area in the heart of the masterplan. The base of the building is a circle, surrounded by a sunken plaza.
The distinctive tower has been designed as a ‘green building’ that resolves walls and roof in a continuous skin. A fully glazed double-façade – highly insulated and with integrated sun-protection – is opening up the building to light and views. Atriums between the radiating fingers of each floor are linked vertically in a spiral. In this way a series of informal spaces – as refreshment points or meeting areas equipped with cascading greenery as winter gardens – are created inside the building.
The tower is naturally ventilated, as fresh and filtered air is drawn up through the double-façade and the spiraling light wells (functioning as the building’s “lungs”), reducing the need for air-conditioning and central heating. Light wells and building shape maximize the amount of natural light throughout.
The exterior cladding is made of glass panels of various transparencies. The office areas are equipped with a double skin with central ventilated cavity containing solar-control blinds.
Last not least, the tower generates a strong night-time image thanks to its ‘vibrating’ façade.