Shenzhen 4 Tower in 1 by Steven Holl Architects | Dezeen

Shenzhen 4 Tower in 1 by Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects have won a competition to masterplan the Futian business district in Shenzhen, China.


Steven Holl Architects’ design for the competition included four towers connected by a horizontal linking structure.  The firm was awarded the design of the overall master plan, while the tower designs (not pictured here) were won by Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Atelier FCJZ, Hans Hollein, and MVRDV.


A horizontal walkway connects the four office blocks with each other and the street level, and contains a water garden to collect stormwater and recycle greywater from the towers.


Below is the press release from Steven Holl Architects:


Steven Holl Architects Wins Master Plan in Shenzhen “4 Tower in 1” Competition

New York, NY: February 10, 2009 – Steven Holl Architects have been selected as the winning firm for the design of the masterplan of the “4 Tower in 1” competition by unanimous decision. This competition was for an office tower complex around the new Shenzhen Stock Exchange Headquarters located in Shenzhen’s Futian commercial business district. It was organized by the Shenzhen Planning Bureau to create a unified urban plan, around the Headquarters, for the new office towers of Shenzhen Media Group, China Construction Bank, China Insurance Group, and Southern & Bosera Funds. A six-member jury chaired by Arata Isozaki selected the winners of the competition. Other participants, including Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Atelier FCJZ, Hans Hollein, and MVRDV, won for their individual tower designs.


Steven Holl Architects’ design for the master plan is based on the concept of tropical skyscrapers as Shade Machines with a Social Bracket connecting the towers and the street level with a horizontal structure containing public programs and a rooftop water garden. The Social Bracket gathers the public programs from all four towers, combining them as one continuous element that links the four sites with the city streets and pedestrian traffic. Supporting programs for the towers, such as cafeterias and gyms, are combined in the Social Bracket and enhanced with cultural programs such as art galleries, auditoriums, and a cinema. The Social Bracket’s sculpted form allows it to negotiate between environmental restrictions and the requirements of the public programs. It features a continuous roof garden park that collects storm water and recycles all the greywater from the four skyscrapers. Roof garden ponds and plantings utilize the combined storm water and greywater after passage through a central ultraviolet filter system. A public route connects the subway into the Social Bracket, linking directly to all four towers. Connecting across the Stock Exchange Plaza, the new elevated bracket acts as an urban interface between the business-centric district to the south and the residential area to the north.

Steven Holl Architects’ design for the four towers as Shade Machine utilizes circular building footprints to maximize the interior space and open views while minimizing the exterior envelope. The optimized office floors are connected via double-height and triple-height social spaces on alternating sides of the towers. Automatic solar tracking screens made of perforated PV cells make one full rotation per day around the circumference of each building, collecting enough PV energy to cool the towers completely. Always oriented towards the sun, the moving shades harvest solar energy and block solar heat gain, their louvered sections tilting to horizontal orientation at noon to gather maximum sunlight. The one-meter deep louvers block high-angle solar gain and bounce diffused natural light onto the ceilings deep into the floor plate. The screens’ full rotation per day allows the towers to act as an urban clock with synchronized rotation in time even on cloudy days.

More Dezeen stories about Shenzhen:



China Insurance Group headquarters by Coop Himmelb(l)au


Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition by Coop Himmelb(l)au


Shenzhen Stock Exchange by OMA


Shenzhen International Airport Terminal 3 by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas