Poly Corporation Headquarters

Poly Corporation
Poly Corp
Poly corp

In Beijing, SOM created a striking headquarters building that unifies the Poly Corporation's subsidiaries. Office spaces are configured around a 90-meter-tall atrium, enclosed by the world’s largest cable-net-supported glass wall.

Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2006
  • Design Finish Year 2004
  • Size Site Area: 65,000 square meters Building Height: 110 meters Number of Stories: 23 Building Gross Area: 100,000 square meter
  • Awards
    2008, American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2012, Divine Detail Award: Special Recognition, AIA – Chicago Chapter 2006, Edison Award for Excellence in Lighting Design, General Electric Company 2007, Award of Excellence: Landmark Structures, Structural Engineers Association of California 2007, Award of Excellence: New Construction Category, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California 2005, Great Wall Cup: Gold Metal, Beijing Quality Project Evaluation Committee 2007, Excellence in Structural Engineering: Award of Merit, National Council of Structural Engineers Association 2007, Excellence in Structural Engineering: Most Innovative Structure, Structural Engineers Association Of Illinois 2008, International Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2010, Award for Excellence: Finalist, Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2007, Award for Commercial or Retail Structure, Institution of Structural Engineers 2011, R + D Award, Architect Magazine 2008, Business Centre Category, MIPIM Asia 2008, Merit Award, AIA – Hong Kong Chapter 2009, Beijing Top Ten Buildings Award, Beijing Municipal Information Department 2010, Civil Engineering Prize, China Tien-Yow Jeme 2010, Top Ten Building Prize, Beijing Modern 2011, Constructed Realities: Architectural Detail Honor Award, AIA San Francisco 2013, Innovation Award - Finalist, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) 2014, Spark Spaces: Silver, Spark Awards
  • Collaborators
    Cms Collaborative Wsp Asia Ltd. Gerald Ratto Photography Beijing Special Engineering Design And Research Institute Dbox Photographer Swa Group Edgett Williams Consulting Group, Inc. Shen, Milsom & Wilke, Inc. FLACK & KURTZ CS Caulkins
Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2006
  • Design Finish Year 2004
  • Size Site Area: 65,000 square meters Building Height: 110 meters Number of Stories: 23 Building Gross Area: 100,000 square meter
  • Awards
    2008, American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2012, Divine Detail Award: Special Recognition, AIA – Chicago Chapter 2006, Edison Award for Excellence in Lighting Design, General Electric Company 2007, Award of Excellence: Landmark Structures, Structural Engineers Association of California 2007, Award of Excellence: New Construction Category, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California 2005, Great Wall Cup: Gold Metal, Beijing Quality Project Evaluation Committee 2007, Excellence in Structural Engineering: Award of Merit, National Council of Structural Engineers Association 2007, Excellence in Structural Engineering: Most Innovative Structure, Structural Engineers Association Of Illinois 2008, International Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2010, Award for Excellence: Finalist, Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2007, Award for Commercial or Retail Structure, Institution of Structural Engineers 2011, R + D Award, Architect Magazine 2008, Business Centre Category, MIPIM Asia 2008, Merit Award, AIA – Hong Kong Chapter 2009, Beijing Top Ten Buildings Award, Beijing Municipal Information Department 2010, Civil Engineering Prize, China Tien-Yow Jeme 2010, Top Ten Building Prize, Beijing Modern 2011, Constructed Realities: Architectural Detail Honor Award, AIA San Francisco 2013, Innovation Award - Finalist, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) 2014, Spark Spaces: Silver, Spark Awards
  • Collaborators
    Cms Collaborative Wsp Asia Ltd. Gerald Ratto Photography Beijing Special Engineering Design And Research Institute Dbox Photographer Swa Group Edgett Williams Consulting Group, Inc. Shen, Milsom & Wilke, Inc. FLACK & KURTZ CS Caulkins

More than a headquarters

With its distinctive design, retail and social amenities, transit connections, and Class A office spaces, Poly Corporation Headquarters is designed as exceptional place to work. The wide spans optimize office layouts, while maintaining access to natural light. With its strong architectural presence, efficiency, and flexibility, the building set the tone for future develop­ments south of the site.

The stone-clad building’s triangular form minimizes the perimeter exposure to the elements, while interior atria give office areas maximum access to daylight. The resulting L-shaped office plan cradles the main atrium and enhances a sense of community by allowing office workers to see into other areas of the building. The northeast orientation also responds to the region’s cold climate by providing greater access to direct natural daylight.

Poly Corp
© Tim Griffith

The building also houses the Poly Museum, whose mission is to repatriate China’s cultural antiquities. The museum is contained within an eight-story “hanging lantern” that is suspended from the building’s atrium via four parallel strand bridge cables. Its crystalline surface of patterned glass is pleated to increase its light-reflecting and refracting qualities. Within the museum, bronze walls enclose exhibition spaces.


An ingenious structural solution

The building features a unique engineering component created specifically for the building: The Rocker. Inspired by an understanding of structures as moving entities rather than static objects, The Rocker supports the cable-net glass wall while releasing the effects of earthquakes and heavy winds. It also facilitates the suspension of the eight-story museum structure within the building’s atrium.

Structural analysis showed that the support for the 22-story-tall glass atrium wall could not be reasonably achieved using a conventional two-way cable net. It could, however, be achieved if the 90-meter-high by 60-meter-wide enclosure was broken down into smaller segments. A cable-stayed system was introduced by using two large diameter, parallel-strand bridge cables in diagonal fold lines while anchoring to the museum structure. The museum structure acts as a counterweight for the cables, introducing pre-stress and providing the required stiffness to resist out-of-plane loads caused by wind on the cable net. In addition to the diagonal cables, two additional cables and The Rocker were introduced at the rear of the museum structure to assist in its suspension.

Recognizing that the building would sway in multiple directions during an earthquake, the team developed a mechanism that would manage these demands while introducing no additional force into the base building structure. In the plane of the cable net facade when swaying, one of the two diagonal cables lengthens as the other shortens, with The Rocker acting as a “reverse pulley.” It uses steel castings/plates designed to pass between one another and interconnect with steel pins, allowing for movements in both directions.

Poly Corp
The Poly Corporation Headquarters features a unique design component created specifically for this building: the Rocker. © Tim Griffith
Poly Corp
This elegant system was inspired by an understanding of structures as moving entities rather than static objects. © Tim Griffith

Designed for sustainability and efficiency

The south and west outer walls of the building are composed of a vertical shading louver system and double-layer hollow low-e glass, the first time this system was used in China. The design maximizes sunshine in winter and shading in summer, reducing lighting and cooling needs.

The atrium serves as a large, public room and uses passive cooling to transition from outdoor to indoor air. Designed from energy-efficient double-skin glass, the cable net system requires minimal materials in comparison to standard, bulky trusses.

Additional sustainable systems include a roof garden that decreases solar load in summer and reduces heat loss in winter. Rainwater collectors and greywater reclamation systems significantly reduce the pressure on potable water demand, while high-efficiency building systems and low-flow fixtures further reduce energy use.