Aedas completed the iconic 339-metres Hengqin International Financial Centre tower in 2020, which stands at the estuary of the Pearl River and overlooking Macau just across the waters. The spirally rising volume invokes the Chinese myth of flood dragons emerging from the sea – a perfect metaphor for the strength and power of the region.
The project is located in Zhuhai’s Hengqin Island, a future financial district connecting Hong Kong, Macao, and other major cities in the Greater Bay Area. The city, surrounded by the sea and mountainous terrain and positioned at the heart of this world-class city cluster, is thriving to become a driving force of growth highlighted in China’s latest national development strategies.
“The site possesses powerful momentum for future developments. So we imagined this unique building to express the quality of speed, growth, and vitality. It resembles prosperity of the new district and rise of the country,” explains Dr. Andy Wen, Aedas Global Design Principal. The development comprises mixed programs including Grade-A office, conference and exhibition amenities, commercial apartments, and retail space. Conventional and retail spaces are placed in the podium to allow for easy access. Offices are up to the middle of the tower while the apartments are set on top, enjoying the tranquil and scenic sea views.
Inspired by “The Nine Dragons”, a famous stroll of Chinese painting from the Song Dynasty, the design embodies the convergence of energy in the architectural form. The traditional totem of the dragon emerging from the sea symbolises new life breaking through the barriers and ceaselessly flourishing into an imposing power. It’s transformed into the elegant curves and powerful twists of the tower, complementing the undulating surface of the waters around it. With four vertical blocks shooting up to the sky and merging into the building, the tower itself also becomes a symbol of talents and resources congregating at Hengqin to create a new metropolis in the Greater Bay Area.
The subtropical climate of Zhuhai imposes higher requirements on the tower’s wind load to withstand the strong winds during typhoon seasons. The design team meticulously adjusted the building’s orientation and entrance to reduce wind drag and improve pedestrians’ experience. The fluid elevations are clad in glass and metal panels, pouring down to form a huge curtain swept aside and twisted in the cosmic wind ending in a flurry of horizontally creased envelope surrounding a tall exhibition space and a unique canopy over the entrance. A smooth transition between the super high-rise and the low rise podium is achieved by pulling and twisting the vertical elements around the central axis, turning the tower walls into the podium roof.
“Architecture is not just an artistic expression. It should also be buildable solutions.” Parametric techniques were applied to design the details of the curvy curtain wall. With rigorous calculations, the curtain wall is divided into smaller, standardised units in a limited number of dimensional types. The glass panel units, mostly flat, are installed by sections and with gradually shifting angles to form the three-dimensional curve. The design team is thus able to realise the design with the highest precision and minimised construction cost.
Area: 218955 m²
Photographs: CreatAR Images
Design Principal: Dr. Andy Wen, Dr. Andy Wen
Chairman: Keith Griffiths, Keith Griffiths
Executive Director: Ed Lam
Client: Zhuhai Shizimen Central Business District Development Holdings Co., Ltd, Zhuhai Shizimen Central Business District Development Holdings Co., Ltd
Project description courtesy of architects