CLC & MSFL Towers / REX

© Luxigon

REX shared with us their proposal for two of ’s major financial institutions, CLC and MSFL, which chose to consolidate their new headquarters on a single site within Shenzhen’s CDB. Although the planning regulations permit tall buildings on the site, the maximum allowable building area and the proposed combination of offices and retail seemingly dictate a perfunctory tower-and-plinth scheme. Instead, CLC’s and MSFL’s offices are organized into two highly efficient blocks with: an ideal 9 meter distance between core and façade; an entirely flexible, column-free plan; the largest floor area allowed by code and urban design requirements; and an efficiency ratio of 80%. More images and architects’ description after the break.

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The ideal office blocks are raised to the planning regulation’s height limit to maximize their property value, views, daylight, and iconographic potential.

On the given site, a typical podium would compress retail and collective programs into an undifferentiated mass that would reduce property value, limit daylight, and eliminate most public space. To avoid this condition, the retail and collective programs are amassed into two billboards of attractors, providing each program a unique identity and amplified visibility. Further, maximum pedestrian space is reclaimed and a new, dynamic urban room is created to boost the vitality of Shenzhen’s CBD.

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The two towers are shifted to make the best possible day-lighting relationships between them and their neighbors, and are sheathed in vertical fins of aluminum (CLC) and stone (MSFL) for self-shading and glare control. The resulting towers combine the clients’ desire to project the image of elegance, responsibility, and stability with their wish to stimulate innovation, creativity, and public engagement.

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To create the desired typological duality in each building,each structure’s pair of concrete cores holds aloft a “launch pad” truss that supports a conventional high-rise gravity framing system and conventional office plans.

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The launch pad trusses free the lower levels from normative structural constraints associated with high-rise construction. Hence, retail and collective functions can become an “ant farm” of highly individuated attractors.

Courtesy of

Navigating Shenzhen’s complex urban design requirements, the lobbies and landscape wrest rare public space from an otherwise deplete CDB. The CLC & MSFL Towers playfully impregnate the elegance of Mies van der Rohe with the provocation of Archigram.

Architects: REX
Location: Shenzhen, China
Key Personnel: Adam Chizmar, Danny Duong, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Dongil Kim, Romea Muryn, Roberto Otero, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Lena Reeh Rasmussen, Yuan Tiauriman, João Vieira-Costa
Executive Architect: JET/AIM
Consultants: MKA, Transsolar
Client: CBD Leasing Company (CLC) and Minsheng Financial Leasing Company (MSFL)
Program: Headquarters buildings for two of China’s largest growing financial institutions, including owned and leased office space, operations halls, multi-purpose rooms, boutique and “big box” retail, high end dining, cafeterias, gyms, gallery, executive club, shared lobby, and parking
Area: 131,600 m² (1,416,000 sf)
Core & Shell Construction Cost: RMB 1.024 billion ($160.3 million)
Status: Limited competition, submitted 2011

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "CLC & MSFL Towers / REX" 21 Nov 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Chris

    They seem to take perverse pleasure in using the program to create wild moves, then contain them within a super stiff envelope. I guess it’s their signature by now. But I’d love to check out the inside, I was blown away by the Seattle Library..

  • Poulin Giroux Alexandre

    Pas mal même si le concept des blocs m’écœure. Ça fait moderne.

  • BOS

    Wow the interiors look really exciting! Ole Schereen’s work really pales compares to ex-OMAs like BIG and REX.

    • Dr. NO

      Ole’s KL project is a mixed use high rise housing offices, a hotel, apartments plus podium shopping. This has only offices and a podium. Much different and infinitely simpler. Lifts and lobbys only have to service one program type, beams only have to span one type of space, there only needs to be one typical floor package and window wall type. You are only looking at aesthetics and renderings and not even beginning to fathom the complexity that goes into mixed-use towers and the repercussions the programs types have on each other not only architecturally but with MEP, access, views, materials etc etc etc…go back to school you rookie.

      • Dr. Chill

        A complex project doesn’t make it a good one, and a simpler project doesn’t make it worse. Amounts of effort should never quate to success.

        I’m not so moved by your opinion as much as I am by your lack of respect and arrogance. A good project is a good project. Don’t defend it with “But my project was harder than his…” That would really require a reconsideration of one’s education.

      • Dr. No

        I absolutely agree a good project is a good project but comparing Rex to Ole Scheeren and BIG is silly. Projects should be compared to other projects. A much fairer comparison would be to compare this project to Urbanus’ proposal not Ole Scheeren’s work or the project just published by BIG. They are vastly different for a multitude of reasons, complexity being one of them. You jumping to conclusions and making general statements on quality is skirting the issue I brought up in the first place. My real criticism is with the lack of depth in many of these comments and the judgements being made simply by looking at a few renderings for a couple minutes. These renderings are nothing but an idealized picture, one needs to begin to consider the spaces with in, the program, the site and the overall COMPLEXITY of the project and how these things begin to resolve themselves. It has nothing to do with difficulty I just find comparing an office tower to a hotel to a museum misaligned and lacking depth.

      • Dr. Kool

        Wow seems like you have intricate knowledge of the project and being so defensive. By the way is your last name Schereen…

  • H-J

    This obsession with Mies is yet another aspect of Koolhaas these offices seem to be unable to avoid. Must be difficult and frustrated for such talented designers to be only able to follow where Rem is leading them. Interesting building by the way.

  • tetsu1

    amazing inside that probably don’t want to interface with the outside..

  • Eric de Broche

    All love.

  • frank

    Extensively and beautifully documented project, thanks!

  • H-J

    A Mies-fetish on the outside with a contrasting and diverse program on the inside…REX seems unable to step out of the shadow that Koolhaas is casting.

    • H-J

      more or less a double post, didn’t see that my previous post made the cut…oops.

  • Glok

    God is in the hyper-interpretation of the client’s program brief. Well done again REX.

  • Stru Stu

    What I would like to know is… how is that structure coming down through those first levels?..and how efficient are they (GFA wise), looks like lots of left-over spaces going on or is it my idea?. Boring questions.. haha