Service: Facade Design & Engineering

Category: Commercial, Office

Location: Guang Zhou

Year: 2013
Client: KWG

Construction Cost: HKD 320,000,000

Façade area: 800,000 sqft

The Guangzhou Biological Island Development is a large scale commercial development consisting of two towers (a 180m tall office tower & a 210m tall office and serviced apartment tower) and two podiums.

Design Statement:

The external facade design of the Guangzhou Biological Island Development is an exemplary case of striking a balance between design and prescriptive requirements on the project.

Invited by KWG to design the external facade of a commercial development near Guangzhou, the design team was informed at the beginning that, as prescribed by the local authority, a pair of diagonals shall be visible from afar. 

Instead of taking this requirement literally and introducing a view-obstructing diagonal feature across the tower, the design team intelligently introduces vertically extruded aluminium fins of varying dimensions and angles as such that they choreograph into a rich pattern. By contrasting groups of vertical fins of different dimensions, the diagonals prescribed in the team's brief are unmistakably visible without creating any visual obstructions from the interior of the towers.

Taking cue from the language of vertical fins on the tower, the visual language continues on the commercial podium, the podium's various canopies and the office tower's lobby with a different set of formal vocabularies to suit the needs of the commercial programmes: On the long facade of the commercial podium the fins are more pronounced with a greater degree of variation to form a pattern that transforms a 100m x 10m, ordinary stick system glass wall into the developments visual highlight, which attracts passers-by on pedestrian level particularly at locations where the facade faces strategic locations, such as the metro exits; On the office lobby's facade the vertical fins become 10-m long structural glass fins, which the design team meticulously engineered to ensure that the lobby facade is free from the visual disturbance of glass fixings and miscellaneous hardware. 

Apart from simply elucidating the diagonals required by the local authority in an elegant, subtle manner, the vertical fins also perform as sun-shading effectively on the otherwise exposed, fully-glazed facade. Moreover, the fins' depth vary as such that they shade the more exposed parts of the towers while allowing more daylight into the portions less exposed to direct sunlight. Combined with the extensive use of double-glazed units with low-e coating, the facade system helps reducing the HVAC loading and thereby achieving substantial energy savings. 

The result of the team's intervention is a visually and conceptually coherent design that seek not to address the requirements imposed upon it in a passive manner, but rather gives the otherwise arbitrary requirement a justifiable raison d'etre.


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