The office park is generally in the realm of the developer. Metrics and economics tend to prescribe the layout, aesthetics and formal relationship between the largely normative buildings within them in a way that maximizes profit rather than architectural character or experience. The resulting constructs are often drab; they exist devoid of communal space that brings iconic presence to the corporations that inhabit them. This competition winning office complex by Preston Scott Cohen aims to further this typology by bringing moments of sculptural expression in these structures without wholly compromising the functional premise upon which the office building is based.
This is accomplished by aligning four standard office buildings and performing formal manipulations to them in a way that provides architectural differentiation. These square-plan towers each have a void carved out of them that provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. A sloping site causes each open-air plaza to exist at the same plane relative to the horizon despite their differing relationship internal to each building. This primary formal move creates a datum that is further reinforced in plan and section.
In plan, each floor is split into two halves diagonally by a continuous ramp that links each level of each building . A structural/service core spirals through the center of each floor plate that contains egress and building support. In section, each floor is aligned on split levels adding greater hierarchy to each compartmentalized office zone.
This planning strategy is influenced greatly by market demands.”The split levels allow space to be both neatly subdivided and easily aggregated. Each half-floorplate can be rented separately, or several floors can be rented together, acting together as a continuous space thanks to the level-splits that connect them perceptually.”
To create the cantilevered floor plates above the building’s sculptural void, Preston Scott Cohen employed a Vierendeel truss system hung off of the tower’s structural core. This structural solution minimizes fixed interior walls and columns and maximizes floor area–features that add to the overall flexibility of each space.
The overall massing and orientation of the towers aim to connect its inhabitants to the surrounding environment by enveloping exterior space within the buildings’ voids. This, coupled with the new internal approach to the office building, is a fundamental break from the past that serves to marry contemporary ideas of promenade and aesthetics with the machine-like function and economic derivation that forms the conventional office building.
Architect: Preston Scott Cohen Location: Dongsheng District, Ordos, China Project Team: Preston Scott Cohen, Amit Nemlich, Matthew Allen, Michelle Chang, Collin Gardner, Lee-Su Huang, Carl D’Apolito-Dworkin, Matt Storus Project Area: 21,500 sqm Project Year: Design 2010; Construction 2011-2012 Photography: Preston Scott Cohen