The China Diamond Exchange Center is a 535,500 square foot office complex designed by Goettsch Partners of Chicago, Illinois. Located within Shanghai’s sea of massive and often overstated high-rises, this modest-by-comparison structure is brilliantly detailed, appropriately scaled, and aesthetically beautiful. The complex was completed in 2009 with the help of associate architects Zhong-fu Architects. The Diamond Exchange Center is sited within Shanghai’s Pudong district, an international financial and commercial hub and houses both the Exchange and additional relative tenants.
In addition to office space on the upper levels, the building includes retail on the ground floor and a second floor that features the elevator lobby, exhibition space and a restaurant. According to the architect description, the building was conceived as two rectangular office slabs joined by a skylit atrium. One of the two office slabs is dedicated to the members of the China Diamond Exchange, while the other tower houses the remainder of the complex’s tenants. The separation of tenants allows for secure transport for Diamond Exchange members within their own tower, thereby eliminating any potential security breaches for the high-profile office functions. While distinct with regards to program, both towers are clad with exterior aluminum and contrast the transparency of the atrium.
The atrium is the undeniable focal point of the building, featuring a 66×230 foot cable-supported curtain wall. The immense scale of the atrium is an impressive entrance to visitors and employees and provide access to the elevators that serve as the complex’s primary vertical circulation arteries. Not only is the atrium an impressive architectural statement, it is also integral to the daylighting scheme of the complex and brings natural light to the relatively narrow 20m wide floor plate of its abutting towers. The primary tenants’ core business inspired the design, with diamond-shaped elements featured throughout the scheme — these elements includes the atrium’s glass skylight, the geometry of the entry canopy, and the main lobby floor pattern.