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New Beijing Poly Plaza, Beijing, China

Sunday 13 Apr 2008

New monolithic headquarters

New Beijing Poly Plaza by SOM in Beijing, China
Tim Griffith 
New Beijing Poly Plaza by SOM in Beijing, China New Beijing Poly Plaza by SOM in Beijing, China New Beijing Poly Plaza by SOM in Beijing, China New Beijing Poly Plaza by SOM in Beijing, China New Beijing Poly Plaza by SOM in Beijing, China
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Offices, shops, restaurants and culture all housed in China Poly's new headquarter building 

China Poly sought to create a new landmark headquarters complex that, through its quality and mix of public and commercial uses, would establish a strong civic presence. The new 100,000-square-meter headquarters sits opposite the existing headquarters building, on a prominent intersection along Beijing’s Second Ring Road, northeast of the Forbidden City. In addition to Poly’s headquarters, the program includes leasable office space, retail, restaurants, and the Poly Museum. The museum, which has the unique purpose of repatriating China’s cultural antiquities and includes one of the country’s most important bronze collections, reflects the project’s public mission. The building’s simple, monolithic triangular form is based on an L-shaped office plan enclosed by an expansive, glass cable-net wall. The bars of office space align with the surrounding development while the large atrium looks outward to the intersection and the existing China Poly building beyond.

The design moderates Beijing’s often-extreme climate in two ways. The northeast-facing atrium encloses and protects the offices on the interior of the “L," while admitting ample natural light. On the exterior, the fin-wall, brise-soleil shades the floor-to-ceiling windows, tempering the direct south and west sun without compromising views. Smaller atriums cut into the bars of office space provide views through the building and allow more natural light in. The integration of architecture and engineering is expressed most strongly in the dramatic cable-net atrium enclosure, which is one of the largest such enclosures in the world. Rather than supporting the glass wall as a single plane with bulky trusses, the cable-net wall is folded and stabilized by a formidable v-cable, which is counterweighted by a delicate and luminous suspended lantern-like museum. Public circulation areas and custom designed lighting occupy the space between the bronze and glass walls, adding to the play of light and shadow.

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