October 19, 2006
by Canadian Architect
Steven Holl Architects announced the winning design for the Vanke Center, a progressive new sustainable mixed-use complex in Shenzhen, China on the South China Sea. The firm was selected from a small list of invited firms including MVRDV (The Netherlands) and HAE (China). The Vanke Center, set to break ground in April 2007, is located on a 60,000-square-metre site on the Chinese coast near Hong Kong. The building, a horizontal skyscraper, will contain a conference center, hotel, serviced apartment and offices and the headquarters of China Vanke Co. Ltd.
Rather than create a series of building shapes that address the various uses within the complex, Steven Holl Architects’ design combines all the various programs into one grand vision. The floating horizontal bars of space loosen the connection between formal structure and function, giving vitality to the main ground level and surrounding landscape. The plan provides open space for the intricate multi-faceted daily life at this ground level to evolve and change.
As a vision of tropical sustainability for the 21st century, the Vanke Center incorporates several new sustainable elements designed specifically for the development. The floating buildings create a flexible area of shaded landscape underneath the building, allowing sea and land breezes to pass through the site. Special geothermal cooled waterscape in the form of radiative cooling lakes create a microclimate in the shadows of the buildings. Moveable faade screens made of special composites protect the inner glass against high solar and typhoon. Renewable energy such as solar power and geothermal cooling are among the key issues to be explored in this project.
China Vanke Co., Ltd. is the largest property developer (publicly traded) in China. Besides its headquarters in Shenzhen, it has over 20 branch offices around China.