Skyscraper with the highest atrium built in Beijing

Skyscraper with the highest atrium built in Beijing

Photo: Hufton + CrowZaha

Zaha was only 65 when she left this world. This is the heyday for the modern architect. One of her unfinished projects, a Beijing business center for Chinese developer Soho, opened last fall.

Photo: Hufton + CrowZaha

This 45-story skyscraper hides a dizzyingly high atrium inside – a space towards which countless shops and offices face. As you rise, the void between the halves rotates 45 degrees, and they seem to be spinning in a dance. The upper floors overlook Liz Road, one of the main streets of western Beijing.

Zaha Hadid’s studio completed the project in 2016, shortly before the founder’s death. The project was commissioned by Soho China, the same developer behind Galaxy Soho and Wangjing Soho.

The skyscraper rises in Fengtai, the southwestern district of Beijing – and, as is usually the case with Zaha’s projects, it looks like a spaceship: chrome, glass and futuristic curves. A similar impression, by the way, is produced by Dominion Tower, the work of Zaha Hadid in Moscow.

There are many ambiguities in the Beijing project. Thus, the name of the Fengtai business district is made up of the names of two districts: Fengymen and Paijiaotai. And the tower itself consists of two parts: in essence, these are two separate skyscrapers, between which the shell is stretched. And even the creative force behind Leeza Soho was twofold – so this skyscraper can be considered a monument to his own creative method.

After Zaha’s death, the bureau is headed by her longtime partner, Patrick Schumacher.

In the 80s, when he first arrived, he and Zakha could not find a common language for a long time: he was a mathematician and engineer, inclined to reduce architecture to calculations, and she was an artist who designed buildings on canvas using oil paints. At first, Zaha even refused to greet the new employee. Later they worked together. Their creative duet resembled a brain: the logical-computer left hemisphere was Schumacher, and the right one was Zaha. The dry severity of his thinking is reflected even in the way he commented on the new project: “This downtown area is an integral part of Beijing’s multimodal urban plan, allowing the smooth growth of existing infrastructure networks in the city center. The 45-storey tower of 172,800 square meters meets the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in Beijing for flexible and efficient Class A office space. ”

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It was Schumacher who was responsible for representing this building as a family of parametric curves and reducing the design to a complex equation, the solution of which was calculated using specially written software.

Drawings: Hadid Architects.

Photo: Hufton + CrowZaha

The formal reason why the building is divided into two parts is that a metro line runs between the two inner towers. But, most likely, this was only an excuse. After all, now the atrium, which stretches to the full height of the almost 200-meter building, has broken the world record previously held by the Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai.

Technically, this building is impeccable and in line with the latest environmental trends. The shell panels can be rotated to allow for indoor climate regulation. The tower is equipped with an extract air heat recovery system, and photovoltaic panels are built into the roof.

The lowest level of the atrium is designed as a public space for the business district and is directly connected to the adjacent traffic junction. The atrium acts as a city square for the new business district. There are 2,680 bike parking spaces with lockers and showers, as well as charging points for electric or hybrid vehicles.

Photo: Hufton + CrowZaha


By the way, we advise you to read our article about another project, where the building is presented as a two-part structure of Cleft House.


About Leona Smith 115 Articles
Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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