There are some buildings that have the power to make one step back and simply enjoy being part of our profession. For us, Steven Holl’s Horizontal Skyscraper does just that. As we’ve been sharing with you, it is a project that gracefully hovers above the Shenzhen landscape, allowing both the ground and the elevated ground plane to be occupied. The project balances the built with the natural as reflecting pools and lush greenery are interspersed with small restaurants and cafes, and as the “sunken cubes” of the main wings of the center – glass volumes offering 360 degree views – strengthen the connection with the landscape. The building has recently been awarded a 2011 AIA Institute Honor Award for its architectural creativity and contextual thoughtfulness. The jury commented, “This project skips along from mound to mound and manipulates the landscape – it builds it up and shapes it into a powerful form above the land with inventive manipulation. The building is shading the landscape and letting it breath – integrated sustainability. A reinvented building type with the building floating over the landscape – dancing on the landscape.” More information, with more photographs from Iwan Baan, after the break.
In order to be suspended from the ground, the building rests on eight cores spaced about 50 meters apart. Its innovative structural strategy implements a combination of cable-stay bridge technology and a high-strength concrete frame, allowing the tension cables to carry an amazing record load of 3280 tons. ”By lifting the building off the ground, the project is both a building and a landscape, a delicate intertwining of sophisticated engineering and the natural environment.”
Iwan Baan The project, just by its first move of freeing the ground plane (28,000 sq meters of the site’s 60,000 are untouched), embodies green thinking. It utilizes greywater recycling, rain water harvesting, green roofs, dynamically controlled operable louvers, and high-performing glass. 1400 square meter of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the building provide 12.5 percent of the total electric energy demand and renewable materials are used throughout the Vanke Headquarters for doors, floors, and furniture.
The Horizontal Skyscraper has been honored with awards including the AIA NY Architecture Honor Award, the Green Good Design Award, and it was named Best Green Project in the Good Design Is Good Business Awards.