Sustainable structure for Guangzhou

Jo Livesey
13 Apr 2008

Two innovative towers for City Poly Corporation

China Poly Corporation sought to create an innovative office and trade center development in Pazhou, Guangzhou, an industrial city along the Pearl River. Poly International Plaza is situated in a new commercial district. The Plaza consists of two towers, each coupled with a low-rise podium that accommodates exhibition and retail uses; the below-grade spaces include an exhibition hall and trade center. The offset core towers, which include a thin bar of office space, maximize light transmission to their interiors. On the north, the towers’ forms are defined by floor-to-ceiling glass, shaded by vertical fins, and on the south they expose their structural framework. The towers advocate sustainable design through their use of natural light; natural ventilation; floor-by-floor mechanical systems; under floor air distribution; shaded outdoor space; and green roofs.

Because the Pearl River delta has always been a dynamic nexus of trade in China, water views have a symbolic value in the project. Thanks to the towers’ innovative structural spine, and double lattice brace, the offset cores are light and transparent, and allow a high degree of openness to northern views; the glass elevators, staircases, restrooms, and terraces, are all light-filled spaces. Guangzhou’s tropical weather called for a combination of density and open green space. An abstracted Chinese garden, planted with local vegetation and organized around water elements, occupies the central space between the two towers. Water is used over the access skylights that funnel light from the garden level to the below-grade exhibition spaces. To mitigate the sun’s heat on the southern façade without blocking views, dirigible plantation teak screens that relate to the local architectural tradition are employed throughout the project. Terraces on the western sides of the towers serve the dual purpose of providing open space and blocking the setting sun. A large, central terrace at the midpoint of each tower acts as an aperture allowing wind to pass through the 35-story structures.

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