KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten was just awarded the first prize for their design of the Dual Tower for the High-Tech and Research Campus in Foshan, China. The 170-meter high dual tower denotes the start of the new business district in the south of the city, a prefecture-level city in the southern Chinese province Guangdong. Its exposed location, height, and function in the urban fabric as the first building on the Sino-German High-Tech and Research Campus means that the dual tower is conceived as a landmark. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Covering a surface area of 170,000 m² (GSA), the office high-rise has room for a total of 4,850 workstations. Explaining the design, Johannes Reinsch, Managing Director of KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten International GmbH, says “the building was specially designed with the subtropical local climate in mind and with a view to keeping resources and pollutant emission to a minimum. The integrated design approach is in response to China’s rapid development into a knowledge-based and increasingly more sustainable economy, which is generating increasing demand for high-quality office space.”
Jürgen Engel, the owner of KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten, describes the transformation to sustainable high-rises in China as follows: “If they want to ensure the happiness of their employees, and reduce the operating costs of their buildings, companies have to follow suit. The trend to sustainable office high-rises is continuing. Not only the current competition in Foshan, but also our winning competition entry for the design of the Air China high-rise in Chengdu are evidence of this: The 180-meter high tower meets the highest standards when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability.”
Three aspects dominate the design of the dual tower in Foshan:
1. Visibility: its dimensions, function, and the exposed location make the high-rise a landmark
2. Flexibility: fit for the future thanks to high usage flexibility and gearing to hybrid workspace
3. Sustainability: energy-related improvements building sheath and shape
The two towers are connected with each other as high as the first three storeys. These connecting levels create a striking shape that is reminiscent of a gate-way building and as such is clearly different from all other high-rises. In China too, the transformation in the working world to a knowledge-based economy in conjunction with rapid development in the field of communications technology is leading to a growing demand for high-quality, flexible office space.
For this reason the KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten design is based on the so-called “hybrid workspace” concept, in other words, a working environment that enables various forms of working, from home office to the classic cell office. Employees can not only be reached at their place of work, but outside the office as well. For this reason, today’s working environment not only needs to provide office-based employees a flexible working environment with communal areas and places of retreat; across country borders and time zones, non office-based employees become involved in the work process, which necessitates appropriate rooms for video conferences.
Furthermore, each office level can be divided up into four or six rental units with direct access from the elevator lobby. Where necessary, several levels can be connected by means of internal staircases, making larger, continuous rental units a possibility. The lower levels are open to the public and have retail and shopping space.
The shape of the dual tower and the direction in which it is facing reduce the build-up of heat through direct sunlight by means of the two main facades facing north and south, and the narrow sides east and west. The scaled glass skin helps minimize undesired sunlight from the east and west. The rays of sun that hit the slightly curved facades are shielded and reflected by the closed facade panels.
The thermal activation of the air between the twin towers is a special feature of the innovative sustainable design. The slightly curved longitudinal facades guide the air into the space between the two towers, thus increasing the volume of air, which flows past the artificially moistened, horizontal “fins”. Protruding from the glass skin of the dual tower, these transport excess heat outside by means of “adiabatic cooling”, or condensation cooling, thereby cooling the building.
Particularly in a region that has a subtropical climate and high humidity, one objective was to effectively dissipate thermal loads and thus increase energy efficiency. The highly effective sun shield in the interstice between the facades ensures optimum use is made of natural day-light, eliminating the need for artificial light almost entirely.
Architect: KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten
Location: Foshan, China
Client: Foshan City High-Tech Service Industry Development Co., Ltd
GSA: 170,000 m² in total
Workstations: Approx. 4,850
Height: 170 m
Competition: 1st prize, November 2012