Opening of the “breathing” building of SOM in Shenzhen

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has completed a new 33-story, 518-foot-tall tower located on the edge of a public park in the center of one of Shenzhen’s main business districts. The building will serve as the new headquarters of the Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank.

The facade of the tower is defined by an external box spring, which serves both as the structure of the building and as an important element of solar protection. At its base, the windchest widens to create framed openings and views of the surrounding park and the South China Sea.

The building’s lobby is surrounded by a reflecting pool and features an undulating wall of water adjacent to the main entrance. A curtain of rain, with droplets of water cascading down small translucent filaments, lines the transparent glass walls of the lobby. On hot days, these water features provide an evaporative cooling effect for the entire building. Above, pendant lights mimic rain droplets, and the lobby’s marble walls change from a textured finish to a honed finish to evoke the effect of water on stone. Reflecting pools, gray granite cobblestones and seating, and rows of trees and ground covers define the main entry spaces and small gardens at the base of the tower.

Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Headquarters Atrium

Two vertical atriums span the full height of the tower, allowing employees on each floor to use louvers to open and close the vents, thus accessing the cool air of the atriums. This process allows the building to “breathe” when Shenzhen’s weather is pleasant, filling the entire building with fresh air. By functioning as airways in a body and circulating fresh air through the building, these features generate significant savings in environmental and energy efficiency. At the top of the tower, functional walls and an outdoor terrace further blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The interior spaces are defined by a minimal glass boundary wall and a daylight-sensitive shading system. A communicating staircase runs the height of the tower, promoting connectivity and collaboration between colleagues.

Interior of Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank HQ

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