Steven Holl Architects’ Horizontal Skyscraper Wins American Architecture Award

Steven Holl Architects has received an American Architecture Award for 2011 for the Horizontal Skyscraper-Vanke Center in Shenzhen, China.

The awards, administered annually by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Center for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies honor “new and cutting-edge design” and aim to promote “the best of new architecture and urban design.”

Suspended on eight cores, as far as 50 meters apart, the Horizontal Skyscraper’s structure is a combination of cable-stay bridge technology merged with a high-strength concrete frame. The first structure of its type, it has tension cables carrying a record load of 3280 tons.
The Horizontal Skyscraper is an innovative example of the large-scale, hybrid use building, which challenges the usual developer typologies. The building hovers above the landscape, freeing it for public use and for a unique scheme of ecosystem restoration. With over 45,000 of the 60,000 square meter site planted, and the addition of the building’s green roof, the total planted area of the project is roughly equal to the site before development. By lifting the building off the ground, the project is both a building and a landscape, a delicate intertwining of sophisticated engineering and the natural environment.
The project employs some of the most forward-thinking sustainable design strategies. It utilizes greywater recycling, rain water harvesting, green roofs, dynamically controlled operable louvers, and high-performing glass. 1400 square meter of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the building provide 12.5 percent of the total electric energy demand for Vanke Headquarters. Renewable materials are used throughout the Vanke Headquarters for doors, floors, and furniture.
Previously the Horizontal Skyscraper has been honored with several other prestigious awards including the AIA Architecture Honor Award, the Green Good Design Award, and it was named Best Green Project in the Good Design Is Good Business Awards.

In October 2011, The Chicago Atheneaum, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies will present a special exhibition of all awarded buildings at an annual symposium, “The City and the World” in Buenos Aires and in conjunction with the 13th International Architecture Biennial. After the symposium, the exhibition will travel through Europe.