SIP Hengyu International Center - Phase 3

Suzhou, China

The project brief calls for a 70,000 square meter office and retail complex on Wangdun Road in the heart of the Suzhou Industrial Park. The site borders a river to the east and faces the new Bank of China complex to the north. Within this context, the tower is located in such a way as to anchor the southeast corner of the site and create a strong embracing gesture towards the major street intersection to the northwest.

A major aesthetic goal for the project was to achieve a dynamic quality of architectural form. The client strongly wished to avoid the common "blue glass office building" aesthetic and sought an architectural language that was at once distinctive and cost effective. An L-shaped footprint was chosen to facilitate this intention as well as to emphasize the horizontality of the office tower. The plan shape also supports flexible planning, including dual lobbies with separate cores for the potential of two major tenants. Two-story atriums at the inner corner of the L-shaped footprint define the elevator lobbies of the typical office floors and offer spectacular views to the north. The building profile is angled and inflected at various edges and corners to achieve a dynamic and fluid massing from almost any view angle. This fluid language is continued in the four-story open air retail podium, as it bends and flows to connect a major lobby entry with the main pedestrian street corner to the northwest.

A series of radiating lines related to the tower geometry are imposed upon the ground plan and define a wedge of space on the site that shapes the north and south lobbies, their canopies and adjacent plazas. These lines also extend to the periphery of the property, resulting in a cohesive spatial sequence and unified quality to interior and exterior space throughout the entire site.

The essential concept for the façade of the building is one of kinetic fluidity, elegance and flow. This is achieved by creating a language of linear horizontal fluidity in the typical tower walls spandrel zones: in this case, ranging from the ceiling line to up to 900mm above the finished floor. Within these spandrels zones, sculptural metal panels travel across the buildings length, changing their profile as the wrap around the building perimeter. The bright metal strongly contrasts the reflective glass of the tower, creating a vibrant kinetic language of fluidity and grace while also providing opportunities for shading at various facade exposures. The visibly of all joints in the spandrels is minimized to emphasize the kinetic horizontal appearance. Economy is achieved though repetition of the profiles and a standard unitized window wall construction. The same language is extended to the retail podium; here, fritted glass is used instead of metal to continue the language of fluid, angular horizontality without sacrificing interior views.