Hangzhou Wangchao Center
Located midway between the Forbidden City and the Beijing Capital Airport, Poly International Plaza is envisioned as a landmark with an innovative design focused on the user experience and environmental impact.
Poly International Plaza was envisioned by the China Poly Group as a landmark for the emerging Dawangjing district, a new hub for global business. Its innovative design responds to the geography and climate of Beijing—a region prone to extreme seasonal climate, pollution, and high seismicity.
From its user experience to its environmental impact and construction, the structure sets a new standard for development in the Chinese capital. SOM’s team of interdisciplinary architects and engineers rose to the challenge with a holistic, integrated building design. With a faceted form inspired by traditional Chinese paper lanterns, the tower’s structural system is based on a diagrid. Beyond meeting seismic requirements, this design framework is the cornerstone of the building’s sustainability performance, as well as its distinguishing trait in the Beijing skyline.
Refined since its invention over a century ago, the diagrid is a highly efficient engineering solution: it can be built with fewer materials than other structural systems, and it creates open, column-free interior spaces. Poly International Plaza continues SOM’s tradition of innovation in diagrid design, beginning with San Francisco’s Alcoa Building (1967) and Chicago’s John Hancock Center (1970). The structural engineering team adapted the building technology for Beijing’s climate and seismic conditions, achieving the tower’s curved form with straight structural members.
A second interior glass envelope creates a double skin with an interstitial space that mediates exterior temperature extremes, reducing the overall building energy consumption by 23 percent and carbon emissions by 18 percent. The interstitial space expands inward at the ends of the towers to create two soaring, 400-foot atriums—nearly the entire height of the 31-story skyscraper. This building-within-a-building approach is the key to the project’s sustainable design.
The integration of the long-span diagrid structure with the double-skin envelope achieves two benefits at once: an energy-efficient building envelope and a column-free interior filled with daylight. While traditional Chinese paper folding patterns provided the inspiration for the form, it was the concerted effort of an integrated architecture and engineering team that put the iconic building on track for LEED Gold certification. The atria and open floor plates also make room for inviting social spaces, from shared lounges to a roof garden, that helps to build a sense of community among the people who work in the building. Completed in 2017, the building stands as a testament to the power of collaborative, integrated design.
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
Nanchang, Jiangxi, China