The design for the Olympic Vanke Centre re-interprets typical podium-tower typology, which has a tendency to internalize and systematize human activities in containment. In response to the hostility of ‘tabula rasa’ urban planning, it seeks instead to create an innovative working hub that promotes interactions, active engagement, and sustainability.
The design for the centre consists of two towers, the design for the taller Tower A houses corporate tenants, while Tower B features co-working-style floor configuration – cubical workstations with generous common areas, aimed towards smaller start-ups. The two towers are bridged with three storeys of amenities, including a gym, cafeteria and entertainment spaces. This blurs the work/life distinction for a smarter lifestyle, also serving as a bridging leisure space between the two office towers, promoting symbiosis between different users of the building.
Conscious of its interior and exterior environment, the two towers employ contrasted systems of passive sun-shading to limit direct insolation and reduce interior heat gain. In the curtain wall enclosing Tower A, an external super-grid regulates the oblique glaring nuisance to the traffic at a nearby road junction. The window wall enclosing Tower B reflects mellow light through horizontally slicing timber planes, exuding a natural, relaxed quality for the residents of the building.
The convergence of the two towers at the lifted podium is highlighted by continuous deep-setting spandrel fins, which creates sharp shadows dramatized by the changing sun angle relative to the spiralling building form. Pivoted around a landscaped void at the very heart of the site, the lifted podium itself rotates and shears horizontally to open up cascading outdoor terraces. Any sense of massing is chipped off by this ‘unscrewing’, enhancing further the sense of relaxed openness. Continuity of outdoor space allows free movement of air and visual connection, encouraging human activities to spill out, expand and appropriate the space.
On the ground, major pedestrian access routes from both adjacent metro exits and neighbouring developments are identified, while vehicular access to the site is grouped at the rear side. A safer pedestrian environment translates to higher walkability, furthering the building’s openness. The orientation of the two towers opens up view corridors relative to each other and the neighbouring development, while the plant-lined pedestrian zone compresses to funnel the walk flow into the central courtyard. A locally-sourced ginkgo tree here gives a touch of homeliness to this high-tech skyscraper.
Project Name: Olympic Vanke Centre
Location: Hangzhou, China
Expected Completion: 2021
Site Area: 13,969 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 95,521 square metres
Building Height: 23 (Tower A) and 21 storeys (Tower B), additional 3 storeys of underground car parking
Architecture Firm: LWK & Partners (HK) Ltd.
Principal Architect: Ferdinand Cheung
Interior Design Firm: LWK & Partners (HK) Ltd.
Civil & Structural Engineers: China United Engineering Corporation Ltd.
Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: China United Engineering Corporation Ltd.
Lighting Consultant: Licht Associates Ltd.
Images: LWK & Partners (HK) Ltd.