SOM completes diagrid-locked Shenzhen banking tower

Architecture firm SOM has completed its headquarters for Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank, a naturally ventilated steel-wrapped office building with an exterior that resembles an exoskeleton.

Located on the edge of a public park in one of Shenzhen’s business districts, the 33-story, 158-meter-tall tower stands out for its exterior steel bedstead, which is both a structural and decorative element. sunscreen.

The windchest has the effect of supporting the building from the outside, allowing flexible, column-free interior layouts and partially shielding the tower from sunlight.

It reduces solar heat gain by about 34%, according to the studio.

SOM designed the headquarters of the Rural Commercial Bank based on the tropical climate of Shenzhen

“We are always exploring opportunities to synthesize inventive engineering solutions with architectural design,” said Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) design partner Scott Duncan.

“The Rural Commercial Bank Headquarters gave us the ability to incorporate a diagrid – similar to an exoskeleton – which pulls the structure outward and effectively suspends the tower within to create column-free workspaces .”

A steel frame covers the head office building of the Rural Commercial Bank in Shenzhen
Exterior building box spring provides structural support while reducing solar heat gain

The box spring forms a lattice-like pattern on the outside of the building. Its diamond shapes widen at the base of the building to create entrances and offer framed views of the surrounding park and the nearby South China Sea.

“We explored many exoskeleton systems and determined that this particular diagrid density provided the best balance of structural rigidity, exterior sun protection, and interior natural light levels,” Duncan told Dezeen.

Sunshades sensitive to daylight and natural ventilation contribute to the energy efficiency of the building. Two vertical atria span the full height of the tower and are meant to function as its lungs, allowing it to “breathe”.

Automated louvers let cool air into the atriums, and when the weather is nice, employees can open and close floor vents to let that air into their offices.

SOM Bank building lobby in Shenzhen with stone clad walls on one side and a rain curtain in the foreground and an exterior diagrid structure visible behind
Wider sections at the base provide entry points and views of the park

The interior design of the building was guided by the principles of Feng Shui which link water and wealth. Surrounded by a reflecting pool, the lobby also features a wall of water near the main entrance and a 15-meter high “rain curtain”, with water droplets cascading down thin translucent filaments.

In addition to providing an aesthetic feature, the rain curtain has an evaporative cooling effect on the building.

The ridged marble wall cladding on the lift core is also meant to evoke water and its effect on stone.

Large water feature and textured stone walls in Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Building
The building’s interior design references the look and feel of water

Small gardens, rest areas and consultation suites also feature on the ground floor, while the tower is topped with movable walls and an outdoor terrace.

The headquarters of the Rural Commercial Bank was completed in 2021 and contains 94,049 square meters of floor space. The tower is LEED Platinum certified and is aiming for China Green Star certification.

Diagrid wraps around the lobby of the SOM bank building
Diagrid structure means interior spaces can be column-free

SOM’s work on the project extended to mechanical, electrical and plumbing, as well as civil and structural engineering.

The Chicago-based architecture firm was founded by Louis Skidmore, Nathaniel Owings and John Merrill in 1939.

Its best-known buildings include the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, and New York’s One World Trade Center, while its recent projects include the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in Manhattan and the SPLAM engineered wood experimental pavilion. .

The photograph is by Seth Powers.

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