horizontal skyscraper- vanke center | steven holl


the building under construction
image courtesy of iwan baan

steven holl architects with partner li hu recently completed construction on their horizontal skyscraper –
vanke center located in shenzhen, china. situated over a tropical garden, the horizontal skyscraper
spans as long as the empire state building is long.

the building looks as if it were once floating on a higher sea which has now subsided.
the large structure floats under its 35-meter height limit propped up on eight legs. being suspended
on eight-cores, as far as 50 meters apart, the its structure is a combination of cable-stay bridge
technology merged with high-strength concrete frame – a first for a structure of its type,
with tension cables carrying a record load of 3280 tons.

the decision to develop one large hovering structure instead of several smaller floating ones,
was to create views over the lower developments of surrounding sites to the south china sea
and to generate the largest green space possibly, open to the public on the ground level.
the underside of the skyscraper becomes the main elevation from which sunken glass cubes or
‘shenzhen windows’ offer 360-degree views over a lush tropical landscape. the hybrid building
includes apartments, a hotel and offices for the headquarters for vanke real estate co. ltd.
a conference center, spa and parking lot are located under large green, tropical landscape,
characterized by mounds which contain restaurants and a 500-seat auditorium. there is also a
public path which covers the entire length of the building, connecting the hotel, apartment zones
to the office quarters together.

as a tropical strategy, the building and landscape integrate several new sustainable aspects including a
microclimate created by cooling ponds fed by a grey water system. a green roof with solar panels
has been incorporated into the design and uses local materials such as bamboo. a glass façade
protects against sun and wind via perforated lovers. the building is tsunami proof hovering piece
of architecture that creates a porous micro-climate of public open landscape. it is the first
LEED platinum rated building in southern china.


image courtesy of iwan baan


image courtesy of iwan baan


a microclimate is created through cooling ponds fed by grey water
image courtesy of steven holl architects


stairways up from the ground level into the skyscraper
image courtesy of steven holl architects


image courtesy of steven holl architects


image courtesy of steven holl architects


image courtesy of steven holl architects


image courtesy of steven holl architects


perforated aluminum louvers
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


aerial view – model
image courtesy of steven holl architects


structural breakdown
image courtesy of steven holl architects


horizontal skyscraper is as long as the empire state building is high
image courtesy of steven holl architects


a diagram indicating the views from the ‘shenzhen windows’
image courtesy of steven holl architects


‘horizontal skyscraper – vanke center’ by steven holl architects, shenzhen, china
image © designboom

designboom recently visited the ‘horizontal skyscraper – vanke center’ by new york and beijing-based firm steven holl architects,
while in shenzhen, china. lifted and oriented to direct views towards the nearby mountains, ocean and lake, the structure hovers
above maturing gardens and groves of native bamboo trees. the undulating terrain is now blanketed with greenery, as it was conceived
in early renderings by the architect.

pathways crossing through textured patches of long grasses weave through the site under the branching extensions of the building
leading to the outdoor sunken amphitheater and a central subterranean lobby. steel staircases create opportunities for visitors
to enter the elevated interior of the offices, hotel and apartments.

see designboom’s original coverage of this project here.


uppward view of a branch of the building
image © designboom


the undulating landscape converges with the structure
image © designboom


stairway leading into the building’s interior
image © designboom


steel staircases lead into the building from ground level
image © designboom


pathway passing below structure
image © designboom


facade and louver detail
image © designboom


sunken amphitheater
image © designboom


louver detail at the end of facade
image © designboom


mounded earth meets the underside of the horizontal building and then drops off to reveal a suspended office space
image © designboom


pathway passes through vegetated gardens
image © designboom


pathway crosses under the branching structure
image © designboom


bamboo grove at base of pier
image © designboom


clusters of inclined columns support the structure in locations where the landscape is level
image © designboom


(left) view through the branching horizontal appendages
(right) building reflecting within pool
image © designboom

http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/view/8352/steven-holl-architects-horizontal-skyscraper-vanke-center.html

http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/view/18364/steven-holl-horizontal-skyscraper.html

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