SOM’s Bishan Exhibition Center was officially opened at a ceremony on September 20th in the Bishan district on the outskirts of Chongqing, China. The glass and steel structure is the first building completed as part of SOM’s larger master plan for the new central business district.
The 95,000-square-foot facility houses exhibition, office, and meeting spaces for the Tian’an Cyberpark Company, the site’s developer. Filled with models and visual materials, these spaces showcase the client’s bold, ecologically sustainable developments across China. Ample glazing throughout the center allows visitors to witness this transformation taking shape in real time in Bishan. In the coming years, SOM’s master plan for surrounding district will guide the development of a waterfront retail and commercial hub.
The stacked glass volumes provide panoramic views over a serpentine reservoir and recently completed botanical garden. An adjacent clubhouse includes a glass-enclosed ballroom, private dining rooms, and multiple outdoor terraces. Retail spaces line the water’s edge and connect the two volumes below grade. From a distance, the structure’s dynamic form reflects the adventurous vision of the Tian’an Cyberpark Company and serves as a counterpoint to the drama of the region’s many spectacular ravines.
The project is also a bold structural achievement. Both volumes feature 7.5 meter cantilevers at every level above grade. At the Exhibition Center, this staggering of the floor plates creates a 15 meter cantilever, allowing outdoor terraces to hover over the river below. The cantilevers are achieved through a system of exposed steel frames that connect strategically to building columns. By using these columns as fulcrums, SOM engineers were able to design slender, more elegant brace members. These braced frames also resist lateral wind and seismic forces on the building.
While keeping its status as an industrial and commercial hub, today Chongqing is embracing an ethos of ecological sensitivity. SOM’s master plan for the city’s new central business district will encourage a highly sustainable and vibrant urban core. The completion of the Bishan Exhibition Center and Clubhouse is a significant milestone in this transformative vision.
About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award — in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.