Steven Holl Architects Presents New Publication: Horizontal Skyscraper

Steven Holl Architects and William Stout Architectural Books are pleased to announce the release of a new book, Horizontal Skyscraper. Richly illustrated with photographs, drawings, and watercolors, the book documents the design and construction of the Horizontal Skyscraper – Vanke Center, which opened in Shenzhen, China in 2009. Horizontal Skyscraper includes texts by Steven Holl, Lebbeus Woods, Yehuda Safran, and Li Hu. William Stout Books will host a book signing event for Steven Holl on December 20th from 5pm to 7pm at 804 Montgomery Street in San Francisco.

The Horizontal Skyscraper is an innovative example of a large-scale, hybrid use building, which combines living working, cultural and commercial programs while also creating a large public tropical garden. 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. A conference center, spa and parking are located under the large public landscape. 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 Vanke Center is a surreal hybrid — part building, part landscape, part infrastructure,” wrote Nicolai Ouroussoff. “It demonstrates what can happen when talented architects are allowed to practice their craft uninhibited by creative restrictions.”

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 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.

Horizontal Skyscraper / Steven Holl, with essays by Lebbeus Woods, Yehuda Safran and Li Hu / William Stout Publishers / 144 pp / 7 x 10.75 in / Soft cover / 978-0-9819667-2-4 / / $ 35.00 Publication date: December 2011