steven holl architects: horizontal skyscraper – vanke center


the building under construction
image courtesy of iwan baan

steven holl architects with partner li hu recently completed construction on their horizontal skyscraper –
vanke center located in shenzhen, china. situated over a tropical garden, the horizontal skyscraper
spans as long as the empire state building is long.

the building looks as if it were once floating on a higher sea which has now subsided.
the large structure floats under its 35-meter height limit propped up on eight legs. being suspended
on eight-cores, as far as 50 meters apart, the its structure is a combination of cable-stay bridge
technology merged with high-strength concrete frame – a first for a structure of its type,
with tension cables carrying a record load of 3280 tons.

the decision to develop one large hovering structure instead of several smaller floating ones,
was to create views over the lower developments of surrounding sites to the south china sea
and to generate the largest green space possibly, open to the public on the ground level.
the underside of the skyscraper becomes the main elevation from which sunken glass cubes or
‘shenzhen windows’ offer 360-degree views over a lush tropical landscape. the hybrid building
includes apartments, a hotel and offices for the headquarters for vanke real estate co. ltd.
a conference center, spa and parking lot are located under large green, tropical landscape,
characterized by mounds which contain restaurants and a 500-seat auditorium. there is also a
public path which covers the entire length of the building, connecting the hotel, apartment zones
to the office quarters together.

as a tropical strategy, the building and landscape integrate several new sustainable aspects including a
microclimate created by cooling ponds fed by a grey water system. a green roof with solar panels
has been incorporated into the design and uses local materials such as bamboo. a glass façade
protects against sun and wind via perforated lovers. the building is tsunami proof hovering piece
of architecture that creates a porous micro-climate of public open landscape. it is the first
LEED platinum rated building in southern china.


image courtesy of iwan baan


image courtesy of iwan baan


a microclimate is created through cooling ponds fed by grey water
image courtesy of steven holl architects


stairways up from the ground level into the skyscraper

image courtesy of steven holl architects


image courtesy of steven holl architects


image courtesy of steven holl architects


image courtesy of steven holl architects


image courtesy of steven holl architects


perforated aluminum louvers
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model

image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model

image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


aerial view – model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


structural breakdown
image courtesy of steven holl architects


horizontal skyscraper is as long as the empire state building is high
image courtesy of steven holl architects


a diagram indicating the views from the ‘shenzhen windows’
image courtesy of steven holl architects

  • Source: www.designboom.com
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