Horizontal Skyscraper / Steven Holl

© Iwan Baan

Our friend and architecture photographer, Iwan Baan , just published on his website some of his recently shot images of Steven Holl’s Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzhen, China .  The project is a long mixed-use complex which includes office spaces, apartments, a hotel and even a public landscape.  Baan’s photos illustrate Holl’s idea that the “building appears as if it were once floating on a higher sea that has now subsided; leaving the structure propped up high on eight legs.”

Complete photoset at Iwan’s website, more images and more about the project after the break.

© Iwan Baan

Below the elevated building, the combination of green and water elements results in a “tropical landscape” with small restaurants and cafes scattered throughout the park.  The underside of the floating structure becomes its main elevation from which sunken glass cubes, the so-called Shenzhen windows, offer 360-degree views over the lush tropical landscape below.

© Iwan Baan

As a tropical, sustainable 21st century vision the building and the landscape integrate several new sustainable aspects. The Vanke Headquarter wing of the floating horizontal skyscraper is aimed at LEED Platinum and the “hovering architecture” eates a porous micro-climate of freed landscape.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

All images property of Iwan Baan.

Shenzhen, , 2006-2009

PROGRAM: mixed-use building including hotel, offices, serviced apartments, and public park
CLIENT: Shenzhen Vanke Real Estate Co.
SIZE: 1,296,459 sf
STATUS: completed

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Horizontal Skyscraper / Steven Holl" 25 Jun 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=66199>
  • Corbusian Man

    What is the point of being raised off the ground if walking underneath it seems to ominous – much of which is hardscape (nearly the size of the footprint of the building)?

    It looks like an overscaled version of the University of Iowa Art Building… Also, isn’t the outcome of my (Corbu’s) Unit de Habitatioin a good case study for the social pitfalls of this kind of architectural experience/production?

  • JP

    What CHINA wants CHINA gets.

  • Alex

    Architecture that money (a lots) can buy, kind a jealous, mmm well actually I´am not, but I still don´t get the point of an horizontal skyscraper

  • http://uptodayarch.blogspot.com up_today_arch

    a lot of reasons to build this way… you not see walls in front of you nose, you fill space of this plot of land, you can play with surface of land independently on basements of buildings, I like thas project…

  • hyu


    • p

      you have a small footprint at the expensive of a ton of steel and reinforcement… not the most sustainable approach, for sure.

  • mhash

    Is there any ground level programming other than sweeping views, reflecting pools, landscaping and vertical circulation?

  • l

    Say what you will about it, but it looks fantastic from the ground plane.

    It does remind me a little of Corbu, but it isn’t just a solid block in a park.

  • kay

    lol you guys are so grouchy.

    it’s f^^^king awesome

    • A


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  • Q

    Awesome building.

    –until the next big earthquake in China brings it all down.

    • susan

      you r so mean….

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  • mike

    not one of his best, but still has elements of excellence here and there….one of these years, he’ll get his pritzker…..

  • z99

    The article mentions “lush tropical landscape below”… I’m sorry, but all I see is turf.

    • Rufus


  • http://www.sharwe.com sharwe

    I came here!

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