Green tower helps to shape China’s Shenzhen superscape

China’s determination to build more sustainable business precincts post pandemic is reflected in a new commission to Zaha Hadid Architects for the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base

As China emerges from the global pandemic in a better state than many of its industrial competitors, more proof of its determination to shape the contours of the sustainable and healthy 21st century workplace comes with plans to develop the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base.

The base will be an important business and financial centre in Shenzhen serving the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, and integrating clusters of corporate headquarters within a global technology hub accommodating 300,000 employees each day.

Including venues for international conferences, exhibitions, cultural and art programmes, the base will incorporate residential developments, a transportation centre, botanical grasslands, and a coastal zone with wetlands.

Integrating city and nature

Leading architectural practice Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA has won a design competition to build a new mixed-use tower complex at the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, featuring extensive sustainable solutions. The design of Tower C integrates the city and nature within a central green axis, creating what is described as a ‘superscape’.

Tower C responds to its location at the intersection of the city’s planned north-south green axis and the city’s east-west urban corridor. The design, explains ZHA, connects with an adjacent park and plazas, which transform into a terraced landscape extending upwards within its two towers. Consequently, the public are invited into the heart of the building where cultural and leisure attractions are housed in sweeping bridges that tie the towers together and offer panoramic views of the city.

New public space

Served by the expanding Shenzhen Metro network, Tower C’s stepped podium integrates with the park to create a new public space for the city. Uniting the park’s landscapes with the civic plazas of the tower’s lower levels provides direct pedestrian access and daylight to the public transport interchange below ground. Prioritising pedestrians, the tower’s design also includes extensive bicycle parking and charging facilities.

Informed by 3D modelling tools developed by ZHA, and which are said to optimise efficiencies in architectural massing, orientation and facade-to-floor ratios, Tower C’s design is described as a multi-dimensional vertical city of two towers at nearly 400 metres, providing column-free naturally-lit office space, shopping, entertainment and dining amenities, together with a hotel, convention centre, and cultural facilities with exhibition galleries.

The double-insulated, unitised glass curtain wall of the structure’s design steps the glazing as vertical channels for self-shading and incorporates ventilating registers within the channels that draw outside air through operable cavities. These provide natural and hybrid ventilation with effective environmental control for each floor, says ZHA.

Adapting in real time

Connected with the district’s smart management systems that continually monitor external and interior conditions, indoor environmental controls will adjust in real time to reduce energy consumption, with high-efficiency equipment and chiller plant optimisation within the district’s central networks. The design will also incorporate water collection and recycling, as well as photovoltaics to harvest solar energy for the district.

According to ZHA, aquaponics gardens on all terraced levels will filter contaminants from the local environment. Indoor pollutants and particulates will be minimised. The project’s procurement will also target embodied carbon reductions and recycled materials, the architect adds.

Andrew Samson is editorial director of SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange.
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