OMA wins competition for second
Shenzhen skyscraper


News: Rem Koolhaas' OMA has won a competition to design a financial office tower in Shenzhen, China, the firm's second building in the city after the soon-to-complete Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

Located in the city's business district, the 180-metre Essence Financial Building will be cut into two by a large outdoor terrace that will slice horizontally though the facade to open up a view of the nearby Shenzhen Golf Club.

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

Circulation routes will be sidelined to the edge of the floorplates, creating flexible office plans that can be adapted to suit different layouts and alternative uses.

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

Each facade will be designed in relation to the movements of the sun, as a deliberate move to minimise solar gain. East and west facades will be the most screened, while the south facade will feature graduated openings and the north facade will have the largest windows.

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

David Gianotten, partner in charge of OMA Asia, commented: "OMA is very excited about its continuous and deepening participation in Shenzhen's development, especially as the city makes its latest evolution: from a manufacturing city into a services hub. This next generation of urbanism calls for a new generation of office towers of which the Essence Financial Building could be one."

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

OMA's first project in the city, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, is set for completion in April. Other major projects underway in the city include a masterplan for Futian District, while the city's tallest building completed in 2011 and is the 442-metre Kingkey 100 skyscraper. See more architecture in Shenzhen.

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

See more architecture and design by OMA, including a series of movies we filmed with partners Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf and Iyad Alsaka at the opening of the OMA/Progress exhibition in 2011.

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

Here's a statement from OMA:

OMA has won the design competition for the Essence Financial Building in Shenzhen. The project, led by OMA Partners David Gianotten and Rem Koolhaas, and designed as a new generation office tower for Shenzhen, was selected from entries by four competing international and Chinese architectural practices.

The Essence Financial Building, located in the Financial Developement Area of Shenzhen, reflects on how the emergent forces in business and society could shape a contemporary office tower typology. The building challenges the many conventions that govern office tower designs, in particular the prevailing central core plan and curtain wall systems.

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

The Essence Financial Building shifts its core to the edge of the floor plate, resulting in large unobstructed plans that allow a variety of office configurations - and therefore working styles - that meet the demands of the contemporary services industry. Direct and open additional connections between floors can be created to cater for visual and physical contact between departments. The building rationalizes programs into unique volumes, which are then maneuvered to create the distinct form of the building, as well as a viewing platform overlooking the Shenzhen Golf Club, and shaded outdoor recreational spaces for staff.

OMA wins competition for second Shenzhen skyscraper

Above: section - click above for larger image

The facade of the building is an architectural translation of the sun and solar gain diagrams, as well as to the views from each side of the tower. Each face thus takes on a unique pattern. The East and West facades are less penetrable, in response to the low-hitting sun, while the south facade has graduated openings the size of the windows increases down the building in proportion to the decrease of solar penetration. The north facade opens toward Fuhua First Road.

The project was developed together with SADI, YRG, SWA, Inhabit and AECOM.

  • Dan

    What a stunner! Pritzker Prize! Who said C-Teams can’t come up with amazing designs?

  • Josh

    I think they should take away his Pritzker Prize because of this design. I can’t imagine the other three designs being any worse.

  • Tang

    As a citizen here I really want to say: please do not pass by Shenzhen again, Rem!

  • Colonel Pancake

    It's nice of Rem to spend a lunch break putting this design together.

    • Matteo

      I think it was a coffee break.

  • Scott W

    I like this design, it is very concise, effective, and will create an architectural environment of high quality. Everyone needs to stop looking at architecture as brands, and frivolous expressions of complex forms that cost ridiculous amounts of money to build.

    OMA is actually an office that produces architecture; they are not a brand firm such as Zaha Hadid, or Frank Gehry who are artists and not architects. I think the world would be a much better place if architects approached their works with the aim to create a better environment for everyone in society, as opposed to building grandiose and expensive spectacles that benefit only the rich.

    • Thomas V

      “Everyone needs to stop looking at architecture as brands, and frivolous expressions of complex forms that cost ridiculous amounts of money to build.”

      @Scott W: A viewing deck without columns might not be a “frivolous expression of complex form”, but it sure “cost ridiculous amounts of money to build”.

      Kinda seems like a 5min design with a viewing deck that mainly benefits the salary of Mr. Koolhaas… A pity.

  • Matt

    I’m so glad Modernism is dead. At last we’re free from all that dreadful monolithic architecture!

  • common_c

    So what exactly do people want to see? Grandiose curves? A hyper-dynamic facade? A Libeskind- or Zaha Hadid-style project?

    Why are people criticizing this project? I think this is good architecture. And as Scott W said in a previous post OMA, dont brand their work. They are interested in architecture that is socially engaging and culturally relevant. They are not interested in style.

    I think this design is a deliberate gesture by OMA to provide a counterpoint to stylistic architecture that is abundant in China today. I highly commend OMA on producing such a proposal that is simple, rational and functional that goes against the trend of ‘expensive icons’ that will rapidly date.

    • Dan

      The building is not better or worse than that ugly concrete building right next to it. Over-interpreting a hidious design doesn’t make it any better. (This comment does not take sides for Libeszaha-formalism!)

  • Chris

    Looks like a distortion and enlargement of their much more sophisticated Rothschild headquarters in London. Shame.

  • Strang

    This is a marvel, every city should have one of these gems.

    • Bruno de Paris

      Wonderful sarcasm, though I am afraid not many will understand it and think you are being serious!

  • Selva

    OMA apparently learned from their 1960s brutalism research exhibited in Venice, now they realise it themselves.

    • fraperic

      What should they have done with all their research for Venice? Throw it away? There’s no point here. And tell me, what is wrong with 1960s brutalism, then?

  • mr will

    Most over-rated architect ever. Great self-publicist though, a journalist’s wet dream.

  • Bruno de Paris

    In my understanding Mr Koolhaas is as much an accomplished planning/architecture/sociology intellectual as an awful designer. He is impressive in both ways. As taste depends on culture and on character, charisma is what makes the difference.

  • Nico

    What do you think of the stock exchange in the same city? Was it good design? This building is just a continuation of the other one. The stock exchange is almost completed and we can see that a simple form can produce more complex effects.

    OMA and not only Mr Koolhaas are looking to produce simple looking buildings since already a long time but their research on structure and building components makes the difference.

    • Darwin

      Good to know that they did reseach to design this. Gives an idea about the Fundamentals which are going to hit Venice Architecture Biennale.

  • ericelanee

    C’mon guys, I think everyone is missing the uniquely creative points here. I mean, the building organises itself into a programmatic bar, then they push and pull some bits on a diagram, make the building out of proportion and top heavy then add special program in between that few will ever use.

    Then, if those ideas didn’t blow your mind, the facade actually uses the orbit of the sun and the exposure on the envelope to determine the window openings! I love a truely unique building, and since i started studying architecture 15 minutes ago, they don’t come as fresh as this beaut.

    And so what if Rem did design it in a coffee break? It makes sense and you wouldn’t understand. It’s his intellectual genius commenting on the pace of construction in Asia. Three minutes to design, a week to draw up and 50 days to build. Sir, I salute you.

  • gavinjiao

    The Shenzhen Stock Exchange building is utterly terrible. It is so loud that it completely ruined the city’s view.

    • Ericok

      Yeah, I mean, they totally sullied the calm and quaint vibe the megacity had going on. Every time I look at the architectural masterpiece of the wavy city hall with this monstrosity in the background I just want to vomit. Oh I just did while thinking about it.

  • zizi

    Five minutes work! LOL

  • dneus

    Just wanted to point out a factual error in the link/URL for this page, which reads: “OMA to ‘design’ second building in Shenzen.'”

  • srle

    I really hate the “just because we can” architecture.

  • Big, isn’t it?

  • Benjamin Buerk

    If this was the competition-winning scheme, the other entries must have been truly dire. I thought the Rothschild building was weak, but this one really plumbs new depths.

    What is the attraction of this guy and his ostentatiously-titled office, outside of the rarefied atmosphere of academic institutions?