The 150-meter office tower is located prominently in the hearth of Qianhai Economic Zone in Shenzhen. The office tower was designed as an owner-occupied headquarters, with the company’s flagship showrooms and public amenities at ground levels. Despite its iconic quality and the way that, from wherever it is seen, it tends to stand out from the background – as icons do - rather than settle in to it, its design was not driven by a desire to arrest attention or a simplistic formal concept. Instead, the design scheme emerged gradually as the design team of architects, structural and sustainable engineers, and other consultants proposed and analyzed, reworked, and refined, various solutions to the building’s many component parts and its energy-efficient environmental systems. The building’s shape and detailed design emerged from studying its interactions with the surrounding environment, Weiqiao Group’s corporate identity, and its desire for landmark headquarters, not only to admit natural light and air but also to ensure liveliness in the plaza in front of which it stands.
The design concept takes advantage of the tower’s location surrounded by Jinke Street and Huaxiu Street – two important main street axis in Bao’an - and adjacent right next to the Bao’An Bridge Network that leads directly to the nearby Bao’An Waterfront Park. The public bridge network is an important urban pedestrian and social connection between the Bao’An urban fabric and Qianhai Bay, where it is set to feature integrated tourist attractions and cultural interpretations, among various landscape design elements that celebrate Shenzhen as a garden city. The overall building volume has been split into two wings which are orientated and address the site location in two main sea and urban view directions. As a key urban gesture, the lower building wing has been twisted in order to establish a specific visual and physical connection between the new headquarters tower and the neighboring public bridge platform. Thus, the building creates a notion of site-specific belonging and how the given urban landscape could be continued vertically along the building’s façade volume. Moreover, with the introduced horizontal façade fins along the perimeter of the floor slabs, the sense of horizontality in relationship with the pedestrian bridge network had been further fostered and expressed. The large open public plaza in front of the office building is friendly welcomed and invited to enter between the building wings on the ground floor. Once inside the building, it has been transformed into a large vertical central atrium throughout the entire lower part of the high-rise tower. Several sky gardens and bridge connections have been arranged in order to establish a sense of belonging and a vertical green campus for all office employees and visitors.
At ground level, it was of great importance that the newly proposed headquarters appears much more than just an office building in the urban fabric. Commercial retail spaces and business support functions have been introduced and distributed between the underground, ground, and podium floors. The outdoor public circulation between those ground levels has been designed as a continuous vertical landscape that connects directly the public floors with the pedestrian public bridge network in Bao’An district. The building is set within a new public plaza – an urban shortcut or a place for people to just sit and relax.
The initial design request was for an interior that would provide a flexible workspace with consideration for potential future changes needed by the client. A structural design solution was chosen in order to provide maximum interior office space flexibility by introducing a building external diagrid for the lower part of the office headquarters. The diagrid structure can still provide more structural efficiency compared to a traditional column and beam building. The exterior structure’s primary task is to handle the gravity loads for the building while the building core absorbs the building’s lateral loads. With this radical structural solution, there is unlimited room for dramatic, column-free interior office spaces. The diagrid’s repeating crisscross pattern on the façade also adds a signature presence to the skyline of Qianhai Bay.
The great atria void creates a great opportunity to collect natural daylight, and clean air and generate a passive natural ventilation method by capitalizing on the principle of a solar updraft within the tall vertical 24-floor high central atrium void. Furthermore, the atrium and sky-gardens glazing panels that line the central void are designed with double super white Low-E coated glazing material that catches and holds light which reduces the reliance on artificial light. Multiple public gardens have been introduced in the atrium space. They serve and help as a social daily break-out space for the different department employees. Furthermore, they are populated with active indoor plants which serve to clean and replenish the internal air supply of the atria. At the sky garden level which visually separates the building volume into two parts, public functions have been introduced as tea houses and exhibition spaces that would serve the needs of Weiqiao Group and its VIP visitors.
The tower design creates a flexible off-center service core on each of the floor plan wings, at the lower part of the office tower, in order to allow for maximum flexibility and uninterrupted interior office space that could adopt diverse interior office layouts easily. The office floors have been arranged in sets of a 3 floors each. They have been connected in between with stairs located in the indoor atrium sky gardens. This special design arrangement would further help and stimulate the internal communication and collaboration between different departments which would be located at different floor levels.
The upper part of the headquarter office tower has been designed with the intent of the layout and program of those upper floors could be easily changed from VIP office spaces to executive suites for the management board of Weiqiao Group, in case there would be any need in the future. To ensure maximum comfort, living quality, and gorgeous sea panorama views each floor has been divided into two executive suites. Each unit has a dedicated personal elevator which could be taken directly from the underground car parking levels to the top floors in order to ensure maximum privacy and high living standards. The layout of a suit and its dedicated core has been designed with the idea to ensure maximum cross ventilation and to guarantee at the same time 180 degrees of unobstructed clear view.
This project was envisioned as a good opportunity to develop and incorporate several next-generation and efficient sustainability technologies into the design which consider the working comfort of its users first. JKP Architects sought to develop a façade system that maintains the visual qualities of an all-glass façade design: panoramic views, abundant daylighting, and refined aesthetics while responding to the demands of seasonally changing external climatic conditions. An innovative closed cavity façade was proposed with solar blinds positioned in the air gaps that feature minimized solar thermal transfer while providing acoustic separation between the office interiors and the busy outdoor surroundings. The CCF system prioritizes occupant comfort while reducing the whole building’s energy demand and carbon emissions. A radial cooling system has been selected for this project, instead of all-air-in, in order to decrease further the energy demand for the constantly required air volume. The big advantage of this cooling system is that it allows having higher floor-to-ceiling indoor office height, which allows more daylight to enter inside the office spaces. Highly efficient glass minimizes both heat gain and glare, resulting in more comfortable and sustainable work environments. The accessible roof terraces in the office headquarters help to reduce the heat island effect, increase the amount of green space on site and help to improve the natural ventilation. The exterior façade layer of the tower façade is outdoor horizontal fins that help to protect the interior space from long exposure to direct sunlight and reduced sun glare in the office spaces. Due to the large surface area of the façade fins, could also be allocated photovoltaic panels in order to collect the most efficient and natural energy source typical for the tropical climate conditions.
Weiqiao Pioneering Headquarters is designed to be a new landmark for the city that symbolizes future success and growth for Weiqiao Corporation and as a model of innovative sustainable development for all of China.