BIG has won a competition to design a pair of towers that make up gently leaning volumes tapering towards the sky in Shenzhen, China.
Called Qianhai Prisma Towers, the tower complex is comprised of two high-rises, featuring a 300-meter-tall residential tower and a 250-meter-tall office tower, which will complete the new Qianhai Bay development in Shenzhen.
Situated in the Guiwan District within the metropolitan city of Qianhai, the Qianhai Prisma Towers will flank each side of the Shenzhen Hong Kong Plaza which is also known as the “green belt” – marking the entrance to the neighborhood.
Both towers add new workspaces, residences, and more than 20,000 square meters of multi-level public spaces that will be positioned steps from an integrated regional transport hub and the Qianhai Bay.
Rendering from park
The design language of towers is defined by gently leaning volumes that taper towards the sky. This also adds a subtle gesture for structural efficiency while creating verdant openings between the volumes and a generous ground-floor public realm.
The towers are enriched with lush biophilia on the balconies and ledges that contrast the glass facades, while the façades shimmer subtly throughout the passing of the day.
Rendering from QIANHAI Bay
“Timeless simplicity and inviting openness”
“Both towers are conceived as simple prismatic building envelopes split open to make room for public space on the ground where they stand,” said Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG.
“The open seams and gaping corners allow the green spaces to ascend from the ground to the sky leaving wedges for outdoor gardens and terraces for the life of the people living and working within,” he continued.
“With its timeless simplicity and inviting openness – the architecture of the two towers is firmly rooted in the urban values underpinning Shenzhen – a vertical modern city of 1000 parks,” Ingels added.
On the ground floor, the towers are opened up to create a dynamic and welcoming urban living room while connecting the towers to the “green belt” and nearby shopping mall.
The team adds a meandering biophilic pedestrian skybridge to act as a canopy, providing shade and protection from the rain. This canopy also connects the shopping mall, the retail podium, and the surrounding neighborhood.
“Peeking through the building envelope openings, cascading green terraces are introduced from the street level and up to the roof, where office workers and visitors can enjoy 360-degree views of Qianhai Bay,” BIG said in its project description.
The BIG team also integrates PV cells in the slightly tilted office tower’s West and East façade spandrel to maximize the PV efficiency.
A view from urban room
Considering local climate conditions, the team designs a double-skin closed-cavity façade (CCF) that is used for the most exposed orientation of office tower. Thanks to this façade system, the towers are aimed to achieve and improve thermal performance.
To allow natural ventilation, the apartment tower units have operable ventilation inlets built into the window frames.
The residential tower, which has a tripod footprint of the 130,760 square meters, comprises a radial array of three rectangular volumes that step up at different heights.
The residential towers offers multiple views towards the city and the ocean while creating “sky garden” terraces and a roofscape.
Between the volumes, the team opens up “a subtle crevice of green balconies” from the ground level to the roofs.
Rendering from Crown
“They celebrate the connectivity to the transit infrastructure”
“From the interior of the tower, the corners peel open to create outdoor terraces on every floor,” said BIG. “The west tower wall extends slightly skywards to reiterate the leaning gesture – delicately joining the remaining three walls/envelopes to create a sculptural addition to the skyline,” the office added.
“As the tower footprints open to the ground, they celebrate the connectivity to the transit infrastructure, retail and adjacent buildings,” said Martin Voelkle, Partner in Charge, BIG.
“Pedestrian walkways connect multiple stories to provide seamless transitions between the towers and the surrounding public programs, forming a pedestrian network that leads up to the Qianhai Bay Waterfront Park,” Voelkle added.
The team adds wayfinding on the ground floor, taking inspiration from the Qianhai Bay, oftentimes appearing as a series of ripples while facilitating the flow of people through the entrances in and around the towers.
Amphitheater, tree-shaded social spaces and an under-porch bar are designed on the ground floor office tower, which will acts as the public realm.
Rendering from a day
In response to the climatic characteristics of the region activities are located under the canopy, trees and overhangs of the building. Rainwater will be collected via the sloped curtain walls, utilized for irrigation system and maintenance of the public space.
Both towers are strategically positioned between the two intercity railways; the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Intercity Railway is at the east side of the site, and the proposed Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Express Railway will be at the west side of the residential tower.
BIG stated that “an adjacent below-grade retail corridor will provide both towers with direct access to the Transportation Hub via the below-grade lobbies.”
To complement the accessibility of the transport hub, an additional 966 long-term bicycle parking spaces will be available for building occupants.
Rendering from entrance
Construction will begin on the Qianhai Prisma Towers in 2025. The Qianhai Prisma Towers will be BIG’s second project in Shenzhen following Shenzhen Energy Mansion’s completion in 2017.
BIG recently completed IQON, the 130-metre residential skyscraper in Quito, the Ecuadorian capital. BIG-designed large-scale 3D-printed homes are currently under construction in Austin, Texas.
Name: Qianhai Prisma Towers
Size: Residential Tower: 130,760 m2; Office Tower: 110,697 m2
Location: Qianhai, Shenzhen
Client: Shenzhen Metro
Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Martin Voelkle, Douglass Alligood
Project Manager: Flora Bao
Project Architect: David Holbrook
Design Lead: Ricardo Palma
Team: Amie Yao, Bianca Blanari, Chris Tron, Eric Li, Florencia Kratsman, Jacob Li, Margaret Tyrpa, Mama Wu, Ryan Duval, Shu Du, Sungmin Kim, Yanan Ding, Yao Tong, Yimin Wu, Zhonghan Huang.
Collaborators: CADG (local architect), BPI (Lighting), ARUP (Fire Safety), Buro Happold (Traffic, Sustainability, VT), RFR (Façade, BMU), Thornton Tomasetti (Structure), Turenscape (Landscape), CADG (Architecture, MEP), Atchain (Visuals), RJ Model (Physical Model).
All renderings © Atchain.
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