As part of the new Tongji Science and Technology Park in Jiading, Shanghai, the aim for the design by Damian Donze of Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute was to create a high level office complex with a commercial street on the ground floor. The irregular form of the building is not just to make an impression, but creates high end office spaces with access to exterior space. The building stretches along Huang Du Lü Yuan Road and extends the commercial street coming from the North. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The building has a total construction area of 8584m2 of which 5907m2 are office and 2677m2 are commercial. By pushing the volumes back and forth, we managed to create just that. While this action created balconies in some situations, it created overhangs in others. Hence, forming protected area underneath for the commercial area and the office entries which can be very valuable especially during the Shanghai rain season.
The building is clearly divided into two parts, the ground floor which is designated for commercial uses while the upper floors are for offices. Similarly, the main entrances of the commercial functions are from inside the commercial street while the offices get accessed from the outside (or underground). A challenge was the fact that we didn’t know who the end user was going to be nor how he was going to use the building. This meant that we had to design flexible spaces which could be used in different ways. This was simply solved by leaving large spaces empty. Additionally, we gave each commercial unit a small kitchen in order to leave the option for a bar or a small restaurant open.
The office part got subdivided into seven office units ranging from 670m2 to 960m2 which can function individually, and therefore, be sold to separate buyers. Each unit has its own entrance with a small lobby space where one can access the elevator or the open staircase connecting the upper floors.
The thermal facade is almost entirely made up of curtain wall glazing only to be interrupted by small opaque parts which can be opened for natural ventilation. We wanted it to be as open as possible in order to leave as many possibilities open for the end user. The exterior facade is made up of expanded Aluminum mesh. This is a material with many useful properties (besides being extremely inexpensive and durable) with which we managed to create a facade that does more than just cover the building.
Having a commercial street on the ground floor, we felt that privacy of the offices needed special attention. An innate property of the mesh is that it blocks the view from one direction while letting in the view from the other, depending on the angle of the viewer. The way we made use of this, a person standing on the ground floor won’t be able to see through the mesh on the upper floor while the people inside the office can still see outside. Furthermore, the material transforms the direct sunlight and gives it off to the interior as diffuse and more comfortable light, reducing the need of additional shading.
With this facade language we also managed to integrate the handrails of the balcony into the facade as well as the rooftop pavilions. Thus, we formulated a design that incorporated different parts of the building and to form a whole.