Text description provided by the architects. International hotelier Four Seasons has opened a 33-floor luxury hotel (5 star plus rating) at the top of the Guangzhou International Finance Center (Guangzhou IFC) in China, marking the final completion of the award winning 440m skyscraper designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects with engineers, Arup.
Rising 103 storeys above the Pearl River, the Four Seasons Guangzhou occupies the top third of the new Guangzhou IFC. Arranged around a breathtaking full-height atrium, itself taller than St Paul's Cathedral in London or the Statue of Liberty in New York, the 344 luxurious guest rooms and suites are among the most modern and spacious in the city, with unrivalled views of the Pearl River.
Interior designer Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) worked with the full potential of Wilkinson Eyre's design. The building's floor to ceiling windows make for light-filled spaces and create extraordinary panoramic views for the hotel's stylish restaurants, bars and guest rooms. The atrium balconies have been sculpted by Wilkinson Eyre so that when viewed from the atrium they recall the building's diamond shaped steel "diagrid" structure. This is accented at night by futuristic lighting design which artistically illuminates the handrails throughout the atrium.
Guests access the hotel's ground floor lobby and enter dedicated express elevators to the 70th Floor sky lobby which benefits from amazing views out over the Pearl River and a towering atrium. This space is flooded with daylight from a dramatic roof light floating 120 metres above hotel guests' heads. Nowhere is the sense of height more intense than from the 100th floor restaurant and 99th floor bar and Executive Club lounge, with a staircase that is cantilevered over the atrium connecting the two levels.
Throughout the hotel, a carefully curated collection of paintings, prints and sculptures by contemporary international artists enhance HBA's sleek modern interiors and Wilkinson Eyre's dramatic architecture. The hotel offers a fully equipped spa, fitness centre and an infinity pool with spectacular views of the city below. Guests can admire the view from the 100th floor restaurant and from a range of dining venues, including Japanese, Cantonese and seafood restaurants as well as an Italian café. Three formal ballrooms give over 3,500 sq meters of event space for weddings, social occasions and conferences.
Wilkinson Eyre was selected in 2004 to design the 440m Guangzhou International Finance Center following an international design competition. Conceived as a simple, elegant form the tower marks Guangzhou Zhujiang New Town's main axis, which links the commercial district in the north with the Pearl River to the south. Its triangular plan maximises views of the Pearl River Delta and responds to the need for efficient internal space layouts and excellent environmental performance. With 103 storeys, the tower has a mixture of uses including office space, a luxury hotel and a top floor sightseeing area. Within the tower, office floors occupy the levels below the hotel. The main lobby connects via escalators to a secondary office lobby located at the lower basement level, which in turn allows access to below ground retail and the subway station. At ground level, the tower connects with a substantial podium complex containing a retail mall, conference centre and high quality serviced apartments.
The building utilises the world's tallest constructed diagrid structure which is clearly expressed through the building's façade and gives the building considerable character. The diagrid members are formed from concrete filled steel tubes which provide both good stiffness and fire protection to the structure. The tubular diagrid structure "nodes-out" every 12 storeys to form 54m high giant steel diamonds. At the base of the tower the structural members are 1800mm in diameter and reduce in size up the building to 900mm at the top of the building.
The structural core takes much of the gravity load of the building's floors and is linked back to the diagrid perimeter structure via floor beams to create a stiff "tube-within-tube" structural system. The inherent stiffness in the structure minimises steel tonnage whilst providing resistance to acceleration and sway, thereby maintaining high comfort levels for the buildings occupants. This stiffness and resistance to acceleration means that no damping of the structure is required. The shape of the building has been designed to reduce the effects of wind, thereby reducing the necessary size and weight of the structure.