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SOM completes "breathing" Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank wrapped by external diagrid

China Architecture News - Jan 14, 2022 - 11:20   1720 views

SOM completes

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has completed a bank’s new headquarters enclosed by an external diagrid in Shenzhen, China

The 158-meter-tall tower, located on the edge of a public park at the center of one of Shenzhen’s key business districts, features a distinctive façade to respond the region’s hot tropical climate. 

Thanks to its large-scaled steel diagrid structure, the façade system significantly reduces solar gain, while a responsive solar shading technology and natural airflow enhance staff wellbeing inside. According to the firm, the structure reduces solar gain 34 percent and dramatically decrease glare in the office spaces.

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The 33-story tower, encompassing a total of 94,049 square meters area, is designed for Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank its massive-scaled exoskeleton marks the building with its inventive architecture and engineering solutions that help create column-free spaces for offices. 

At its base, its diagrid system widens to create framed openings and views to the surrounding park and Qianhai Bay, a short walk from the building. 

SOM completes

SOM completes

"We’re always exploring opportunities to synthesize inventive engineering solutions with architectural design," said Scott Duncan, SOM Design Partner.

"The Rural Commercial Bank Headquarters gave us the chance to incorporate a diagrid—similar to an exoskeleton—that pulls the structure to the exterior and effectively suspends the tower within to create column-free workspaces," added Duncan.

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SOM takes inspiration from natural systems and elements such as water and wind, they are also used prominently in some building features. 

For example, the multistory water wall at the building’s main lobby, the undulating striations of marble cladding the tower’s elevator core, and the integration of a mixed-mode natural ventilation system that allows for seasonal air flushing of the key common areas and office levels are a few of them.

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As SOM explained, automated louvers in the vertical atria traversing the full height of the tower and mechanized window vents on each office floor comprise a flexible system that allows the building to "breathe" during the frequent periods of pleasant weather experienced in Shenzhen.

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There are two main reasons for using this tightly-spaced diagrid in the tower: The first is to create a solar shading system for the building itself and its occupants, which becomes an important design element in mitigating the region’s hot tropical sun. 

The second reason is to create an entirely column-free spaces and enable ultimate flexible layout for offices. 

"The resulting interior space is defined only by a simple perimeter glass wall with an automated solar control blind to preserve optimal daylight levels," SOM added.

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Inside, SOM assimilates Feng Shui principles in which water and wealth are intrinsically linked. Besides, the lobby is encircled by a reflecting pool and features a rippling wall of water adjacent to the main entrance.

SOM completes

SOM completes

The lobby features a 15-metre-high rain curtain where droplets of water cascade down small translucent filaments, lines the lobby’s ultra transparent glass walls. 

According to SOM, on hot summer days, these water features provide an evaporative cooling effect for the entire building. Above, suspended lighting fixtures mimic droplets of rain, and the lobby’s marble walls shift from a textured to honed finish to evoke water’s effect on stone.

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At the base of the tower, reflecting pools, grey granite paving and seating areas, and arrays of trees and ground cover define the main entrance spaces and small gardens. 

"This tactile experience at ground level transitions and becomes more atmospheric as one progresses up the tower to the open floor plans and “floating” diagrid above," SOM added.

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At the crown of the tower, operable walls and an outdoor deck blur distinctions between indoor and outdoor spaces.

There are two vertical atrias spanning the height of the tower. On each floor, employees can use louvers to open and close vents, accessing fresh air from the atria. 

By functioning like airways in a body and cycling fresh air throughout the building, these features generate significant savings in environmental and energy efficiency.

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SOM completes

SOM completes

SOM completes

SOM completes

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SOM completes

Site plan

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Typical floor plan

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Sections

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Elevation

SOM’s work on the Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Headquarters included architecture, mechanical, electrical and plumbing, structural and civil engineering. The tower is LEED Platinum and is targeting China Green Star certification.

SOM also designed robotically-fabricated pavilion exploring future construction methods at Chicago Biennial 2021, the firm is currently working on the design of Olympic Village for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics. 

Project facts

Project name: Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank

Architects: SOM

Location: Shenzhen, China.

Date: 2021 

Client: Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank

Project Area: 94,049 square meters 

Building Height: 158 meters 

Number of Stories: 33

Services: Architecture, MEP, Structural + Civil Engineering

All images © Seth Powers Photography 

All drawings © SOM

> via SOM