MAD Architects design for efficiency

Nick Myall
Wednesday 10 Aug 2016

This unique building in China for retail firm Xinhee has a floating free structure

Located in the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen, MAD Architects’ design for the Xinhee Design Center is currently under construction. The design centre is being created for the international fashion group, Xinhee, and its six subsidiary brands. It has a site area of 15,000 sq m with building area of 61,000 sq m. “We envision it as a building with skin-and-bones,” reveals MAD founding principal Ma Yansong, “the correspondence of clothing and architecture is they both explore the relationship between the interior and the exterior.”

Xinhee Design Center has the central atrium space at its core; from there, six long spanning structures extend out in different directions, and become a star-shaped layout which formalises a solid “bone” structure frame. A mix of office spaces and green gardens compose each of the organically-formed arms. A translucent and sun-shading envelope of PTFE hangs slightly off the vertical garden, and provides ventilation during the hot season. At the same time, it lightens the building to be elegant and floating, just likes a piece of delicate thin, soft, skin covering the “bone” structure of the building body. Ma Yansong elaborates, “It’s interesting for a building with such an intrinsically logical structure to look floating and free.”

As an innovative and creative office, the spatial organisation mimics six petals, growing from a central point. Each of the six brands have their own individual office and research space, yet can freely interact and communicate between departments. Unlike traditional corporate “boxes,” a radial layout enables the office space to be highly efficient and flexible, while at the same time provide natural light, ventilation, and a vista. The atrium acts as public space that is open to staff and visitors. The atrium’s footbridge provides air circulation, and doubles as a catwalk for occasional fashion shows. The two glass elevators in the atrium visually connect the office on different levels. The connection between interior and exterior space extends the design center’s public interaction from inside office space to the outside gardens, and provides a relaxed atmosphere and working environment, while simultaneously creating a strong centripetal force.

The design center is a highly efficient green building that adapts to the local climate and the void and lifted structure on the first floor reduces the footprint by two-thirds. An urban environment, the first floor mainly consists of garden and water features, which are open to the public. Both the atrium and the lifted structure enables ventilation throughout the building. The summer months deliver cool air to each level and in the winter months the atrium transforms into a sun-filled greenhouse below the glass-enclosed roof. The stacked gardens create a 100% green ratio. This lowers solar radiation and provides natural lighting to the office, a translucent coating is applied to the building’s façade which permits 40% light transmittance. Solar panels line the rooftop, providing electricity for daily operations.

Xinhee design center is currently under construction and is expected to be in-use in 2017.

Nick Myall

News editor

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