Zaha Hadid completes pebble-shaped Wangjing Soho towers in Beijing

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Zaha Hadid has completed her second major project for Chinese developer Soho China – a trio of curved towers designed to look like giant pebbles (+ slideshow).

Photograph by Jerry Yin
Photograph by Jerry Yin

Three years after the Galaxy Soho complex opened in Beijing, Hadid's firm has built another major office and retail hub for the Chinese capital, located between the city centre and the airport.

Photograph by Virgile Simon Bertrand
Photograph by Virgile Simon Bertrand

Described as "three interweaving mountains", the towers feature curved and tapered forms. The tallest and most slender is 200 metres high, while the other two are slightly broader, with heights of 127 and 118 metres.

Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi
Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi

They frame a series of new public spaces designed to serve the buildings' occupants and the local neighbourhood, including landscaped gardens, a central plaza and a park.

Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi
Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi

According to Zaha Hadid Architects, the proximity to the airport – as well as the nearby metro stations and ring roads – informed the positioning of the buildings on site.

Photograph by Virgile Simon Bertrand
Photograph by Virgile Simon Bertrand

"The design responds to the flows of the city and allows natural daylight into each building from all directions," said the team.

Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi
Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi

"The juxtaposition of the tower's fluid forms continuously changes when viewed from different directions; appearing as individual buildings in some views, or as a connected ensemble in others," added the team.

Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi
Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi

The Wangjing neighbourhood is home to many technology companies and startups, as well as a host of international companies. Therefore, the 500,000-square-metre complex was designed to offer a variety of flexible open-plan office spaces.

Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi
Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi

"Wangjing has developed into a diverse community in the creative and IT sectors," said the design team.



"Subsequently, there is an increasing demand for a variety of flexible office spaces: from units with the smallest floor area to suit new firms with a single employee – yet also offering the possibility for expansion; to offices with a large open-plan arrangements to house the Beijing headquarters of a global IT corporations."

Photograph by Virgile Simon Bertrand
Photograph by Virgile Simon Bertrand

Externally, the buildings are wrapped in ribbons of white aluminium that break the glazing up into narrow horizontal stripes. These provide solar shading, but also form ledges that help facilitate the building's maintenance.

Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi
Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi

The ground-floor level and the storeys immediately above and below contain a shopping centre. There are also three underground parking floors, which include 8,256 spaces for bicycles and showers for cyclists.

Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi
Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi

Each tower has its own entrance lobby, providing access to the office floors. These have been orientated to face out towards the city but also extend through to the central plaza.

Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi
Photograph by Cristiano Bianchi

An insulated glazing system was selected to reduce the building's energy use, but employees are able to open and close their windows to control the level of natural ventilation. Other sustainable initiatives include energy-monitoring systems, grey-water reuse and air-sourced heat pumps.


Project credits:

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher
Project director: Satoshi Ohashi
Associate: Cristiano Ceccato
Project architect: Armando Solano
Project team: Yang Jingwen, Christoph Klemmt, Shu Hashimoto, Yung-Chieh, Huang Rita Lee, Samson Lee, Feng Lin, Seungho Yeo, Di Ding, Xuexin Duan, Chaoxiong Huang, Ed Gaskin, Bianca Cheung, Chao-Ching Wang, John Klein, Ho-Ping Hsia, Yu Du, Sally Harris, Oliver Malm, Rashiq Muhamadali, Matthew Richardson,
Competition team: Satoshi Ohashi, Christiano Ceccato, Inanc Eray, Ceyhun Baskin, Chikara Inamura, Michael Grau, Hoda Nobakhati, Yevgeniya Pozigun, Michal Treder
Structure: Adams Kara Taylor UK, CCDI Beijing
Facade: Arup Facade HK, Inhabitat Beijing
Mep, Vt, Fire Safety, Sustainability: Hoare Lea UK, Arup Engineers

Wangjing-Soho-by-Zaha-Hadid-photography_dezeen_1
Floor plan – click for larger image
Wangjing-Soho-by-Zaha-Hadid-photography_dezeen_2
Section one – click for larger image
Wangjing-Soho-by-Zaha-Hadid-photography_dezeen_3
Section two – click for larger image
  • J-S G

    Is it just me or does the inside look like a dated sci-fi movie set?

  • DaBronxY

    I really like this project and will think about it as a case study. I like the relationship of the buildings grouped together and the volumetric portions gives each building a characteristic reference. Interesting enough, It looks simple to construct versus Hadid’s Dubai projects.

  • ZAHA FAN – BIG TIME

    At some point in the description there is a vague mention that the development is for office use – the rest is centred on what it is, not how it performs.

    ‘In a world where LOOKING good is more than BEING good, where FAKING it is synonymous with MAKING IT, and beautiful LIES hide grubby truths…’ bravo Hadid – another vanity project for developers who actually have the power to do something worthwhile than yet another vacuous ‘face’ project.

    The Zaha furniture, vases, coffee pots et all are wonderful, and perhaps the Wangjing towers would apt as such. If Soho haven’t already produced such things for the sales suite?

  • hello friend

    Whinge, whinge, whinge… What have you done today?

  • Archivio

    Patrik?

  • greenish

    This is the best thing I’ve seen on Dezeen today. I’m really hoping you guys work together.