The essence of the stock market is speculation: it is based on capital, not material. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange is conceived as a physical materialization of the virtual stock market: it is a building with a floating base, representing the stock market – more than physically accommodating it. Typically, the base of a building anchors a structure and connects it emphatically to the ground. In the case of Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the base, as if lifted by the same speculative euphoria that drives the market, has crept up the tower to become a raised podium, defying an architectural convention that has survived millennia into modernity: a solid building standing on a solid base. SZSE’s raised podium is a three-storey cantilevered platform floating 36m above the ground, one of the largest office floor plates, with an area of 15,000 m2 per floor and an accessible landscaped roof. The raised podium contains all the Stock Exchange functions, including the listing hall and all stock exchange departments. The raised podium vastly increases SZSE’s exposure in its elevated position. When glowing at night, it “broadcasts” the virtual activities of the city’s financial market, while its cantilevers crop and frame views of Shenzhen. The raised podium also liberates the ground level and creates a generous public space for what could have been what is typically a secure, private building.
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