Shenzhen Headquarters Group
The ideas of this project can be called “innovative” in an Asian context which is still favouring the idea of individual self-projection opposite to social responsibility.
Task was to design a group of four headquarter high-rise buildings, in which each of the four companies had to find itself and nevertheless had to subordinate to the idea of a common appearance and a shared public space.
Its qualities: a strong, unified neighbourhood with livable urban atmosphere and with the shared identity of a group. The message: A design ahead of time can come along in a modest, unobtrusive manner.
Location & Task
The group of high-rises is located in the newly developed “High-tech Headquarter District”, part of Nanshan City District, one of the most vivid and populous districts of Shenzhen.
4 high-rise buildings had to be planned, for 4 different high-tech research companies. The towers should have a height between 150 – 180 meters. The individual towers should have 50, 60, 70 and 80,000 sqm GFA above ground.
Any of the 4 companies had its own requirements. But the uses were quite similar. We could imagine them more or less as regular office towers. Commercial functions had to be provided in the podium levels.
We decided for an approach that uses the same design parameters for all 4 buildings, and create individual shapes only by variations of the same basic language. In our belief, the four towers would have to look like a family, or better like 4 brothers or 4 sisters, in which none of the siblings feels underprivileged, even though they have different sizes and heights … and market value.
The façade concept then strived for a contemporary re-interpretation of Mies van der Rohe’s design principles. Still today, constructors are amazed by Mies’ buildings through their impressive simplicity, their refined details, their interplay of light and shadow, and by their timeless elegance.
A new interpretation of Mies’ approach had to bring something contemporary as addition: A sustainability concept. Energy gains from sunlight are incorporated in the façade by cladding the vertical folded glass elements with photovoltaic panels.
But also LED screens are integrated that can create exciting illumination of the building.
From the basic idea of vertical lines, of glass and folding elements and multiple uses, different façade typologies have been developed for:
– Office uses / – Dormitories / – Green (wintergarden) façades / – Podium Levels / – Technical Levels / – Roof Gardens & Sky Terraces.
Architecture & Integration into the City
The architecture is calm, logical and reasonable; it is however not monotonous. And it incorporates elements that satisfy the need of each company to have its own, individual building with recognizable façade features.
The 4 cuboids with identical footprint (of 40*50 meters) have been sculpted to distinct shapes by cutting each of them in a unique way.
By terraced volumes, the façade is sub-divided into sections of different heights that further contribute to the individual shape of each tower.
The tower tops – place for spacious roof gardens – are forming the glazed corona of each building, clearly visible from far away.
The family of buildings forms a square in its middle. From the middle, following the three storeys podium, there is a cross of pedestrian streets – lined by commercial facilities. A rather European urban setting forms the common “living room” of the development.
The important connection with the entire district is however taking place on the 3rd level. An elevated pedestrian street with easy public access from the street or through pedestrian bridges connects the project with the neighbouring plots.
The elevated street is aligned by commercial and by semi-public uses like canteens or auditoriums which make this level a vibrant and attractive place, not only for the office employees.
To sum up
The concept has rules and can evolve. It is simple yet complex. It is economical and rich in optical individuality.
This is how the project can become distinctive within a noisy sea of outbidding vanities.