COFCO, a leading grain, oils and foodstuffs import and export group based in China are to construct a 120,000 sq m Research and Innovation building in Bei Qi Jia Town in the Chang Ping District of Beijing. Perkins+Will was selected as the winner of an international design competition for the project, with a commanding design comprised of four research towers, a mixed use Icon Building and a separate structure for Residential and Sports facilities.
Grounding the facility are the four highly flexible research towers, which have been designed to be modified quickly, safely and affordably as the research projects change over time. Perkins+Will explains: “Most labs will be able to create ‘Lean’ teams that are organised around a research process that will be able to use the equipment very efficiently. The lab spaces will be safe, transparent and exciting to work in. Various volume spaces are created to encourage views through the labs and throughout the buildings.”
These towers extend out into the public plaza at the front of the complex, which features multiple greenhouses to explore the nature of integrated public and private shared spaces and provide an active research environment where employees can study new plant development. Wrapping around the southern portion of the site is the Icon Building, encompassing the International Exchange Center, the Food Experience Center, and the Food and Culture Museum in a single architectural motion. Recreation facilities are located on the uppermost level of the Icon Building.
A privatised research conference area links the four research towers to the Icon Building, also framing the central public park. The main atrium space extends across three of the four individual towers causing a direct visual and experiential relationship between the open public park, the greenhouse, the high bay laboratories, and the main atrium space.