Shanghai has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last ten years, with large areas of the city that previously contained only traditional low-rise buildings now featuring dense thickets of office towers. Heralding one such area of development, this 40-storey tower is the headquarters of the Jiushi Corporation, a Chinese company that is providing the inward investment for the next wave of building in the South Bund area of the city. The competition-winning scheme is the practice’s first on the Chinese mainland.
Occupying one of the most significant sites in Shanghai, the tower looks over the Huangpu River to the historical Bund and Pudong - the new business district. These views govern the structure of the building, with its concrete core positioned away from the river to create flexible curved floor-plates on the riverside, free of internal columns. Further animating the expansiveness of these views both inside the building and out, a triple-skin ventilated glazing system allows the tower to enjoy maximum daylight penetration without any attendant build-up of solar gain in the internal spaces. It is the first building in the city to employ such a system.
Breaking up the uniformity of the building’s facade, the floor-plates step back at three points over the height of the tower to form terraces, ideally suited to conferences. Above the highest of these terraces, at the top of the tower, a six-storey glazed winter garden is accommodated - unique in a city where most towers are capped by services installations. In contrast to the novelty of these pinnacle spaces, down below, at street level, the scheme responds more directly to its historical and geographic context - a six-storey block, adjacent to the tower, contains shops, restaurants and bars in line with the street, and references Shanghai’s immediate urban past with a double-height colonnade, reminiscent of the city’s traditional shopping arcades.