SIP Zhongnan Center

Suzhou, China

The project brief includes a 720m mixed-used tower with retail podium. The design identifies the economic Aspiration of Suzhou along with the organic character of its gardens and waters as inspiration for a unique building image. The tower’s gently tapered profile echoes its internal program distribution; from office use at the lower levels to observation at the apex. Like silk strands or a flowing garment, each façade is articulated by a sinuous vertical line that acts as both reveal and overlapping edge as it travels up the building to resolve itself in an iconic expression at the top. At the base of the building, the reveal migrates to the corner and “pulls” the exterior wall out (like an opening in the garment) to define areas for entry. At the top, the reveal widens to become an aerie, light-filled volume providing dramatic views to the city beyond as well as up through a glazed roof to the upwardly-thrusting forms of the building crown’s towers. These spires spring upward from each façade’s reveal at the observation level in a kinetic thrust symbolizing the open petals of a flower and the frenzy of economic expansion, prosperity, and Aspiration of a city perpetually moving onward and upward.