This project began in a series of watercolor paintings that were being made when we were given a brief for a hybrid building of offices, cafes, and shops on a zoning restricted plot in Beijing. The setback angle for light to an adjacent residential site created a north slope that coincided with the geometry studied in the paintings. This developed into north light spaces with gently curving translucent roofs. A counterpoint rhythm in the geometry of the paintings was carried into the overall building form, giving it slight variation across the north light elements. Gardens occupying the gaps between elements offer green spaces of relief in this 28,000 sqm building. The south elevation of textured structural concrete is carved for south light variation of the interiors.
The design for the hybrid building has five central points:
Urban Porosity and Gardens
Ecology, Gardens, and Fountains
Varying qualities of light give this office and retail building a unique geometry and shape dynamic spaces. The north light curves — in response to code setback requirements — provide soft and evenly diffused light to the interiors on the upper floors. On the south facade, sculpted cuts bring light to the office spaces and to retail below grade.
The north light curves have been developed with translucent, white glass. The structure consists of four layers: a glass exterior laid over truss, secondary tubes, and an interior translucent Newmat membrane.
The exterior concrete structure helps to allow for flexibility in interior space. The top levels of the building will house flexible open office space. The aluminum-stained concrete is OSB formed, contrasting the smooth, matte finish of the north light curves.
Shops and cafes at grade are shaped around reflecting pools and gardens, giving the building urban porosity and pedestrian scale. Rainwater recycling in the pools and state-of-the-art ecological systems amplify the sustainable quality of the building.
Ecological Innovation +
– Natural light
– Ecological Okalux Insulating Glass
– Green spaces and pools featuring recycled rainwater and state-of-the-art ecological systems
- Steven Holl Architects
Steven Holl (design architect, principal)
Roberto Bannura (partner in charge)
Chris McVoy (partner)
Jongseo Lee (senior associate in charge of facade)
Yiqing Zhao, Yuanchu Yi, Yun Shi (project architect)
Tsung-Yen Hsieh, Seo Hee Lee, Jinxin Ma, Shih-Hsueh Wang, Flora Wu, Yang Yang Xu (project team)